Apprenticeship instead of higher education might be a better mode of 1) learning practical skills rather than academic theory, 2) keeping those learned skills modern rather than stale and outdated, 3) skipping all the hippy-dippy college requirements that don’t actually add value to your career.

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    Don't bash higher education and academic information science in general, but if you want to become a web or software developer, an apprenticeship can be very practical and hands on. I have been working together with several software developer apprentices, some did not even go to higher college, but (as it used to be traditionally, especially for craftspersons) started their apprenticeship as 16 years old, and some of them were more talented, motivated, and skilled than some of the seniors that did have a degree.
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    Theory is important as practical skills. You wouldn't prefer a doctor that learnt everything from practice right? It is same for developers. You can be a good developer without a degree but it would be much harder. While a degree does not guarantees you to become a good developer, it helps you understand behind the scenes.
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    An apprenticeship usually aims at getting a degree as well. Also, there are other possible tests and certifications. I used to be a co-auditor when apprentices practised for their exams, but I had rather judged applicants to junior dev positions by their portfolio websites or by GitHub side projects though.

    My own developer career started as a self-taught founder dropping out of university. I used to go to the university's library nevertheless to level up my lack of theoretical knowledge. While I still don't care about big O, balanced trees, and Turing machine theory, I learned a lot from design patterns. Later, I enrolled at frontendmasters.com which is quite hands-on focused on front-end web development. All of that without any degree either.

    I got certified for domain-specific software once, only to find out that I did not like that field of public service software development. So I'd say a degree is never wasted, but still, I would not overestimate formal education.
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    I understand your point, and it makes a lot of sense in terms of “doing the job.” But I also think that a degree gives you a lot of soft and social skills that come in handy if you want to succeed in an organization. Plus you make connections, meet some interesting professors, and can take advantage of the university recruiting network. My biggest education regret is not going the comp sci or engineering route - I bought right into the Management Information Systems degree program right out of high school. That was a very popular degree when I was graduating, and it sounded wonderful - learn business and computers so that you are well prepared for the business world. I hated it, but finished it nonetheless out of pure stubbornness!
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