What we found over time was that there is a lot of really good talent in that pool, which the industry had overlooked. Based on a few years of observation, we noticed that there was little or no correlation between academic performance, as measured by grades & the type of college a person attended, and their real on-the-job performance. That was a genuine surprise, particularly for me, as I grew up thinking grades really mattered.
We started to ask “What if the college degree itself is not really that useful? What if we took kids after high school, train them ourselves?”
I landed my first professional job at 16, a high school drop-out without as much as a GED. Still don’t have one, and I’m hitting my 28th spin around the sun this summer.
Now that I own my own company, I’ve found myself not only completely ignoring education on resumes, but there’s an odd part of me that, when seeing a person with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, thinks, Wait, you had to go to school for this?
Which is an utterly asinine thing to think. But the neurons fire and I sneer a bit and wonder what they spent all that time learning.
I’ve had kids start with bachelor’s and while they tend to have a bit more experience building useless but interesting things, in the trenches they’re about even with the kids we’ve had that taught themselves code while they were busy trying to create something else. The school bound kids are generally more polished; better work habits, better code habits, less of a language barrier when I’m laying out the structure of what I want them to pull off. But after three months or so I’ve beaten the worst bits out of them and the differences are negligible at best.
I’d never say education is useless, but I stick firmly to the idea that how you get it doesn’t matter.