School daze: Do you need a degree to be a real engineer?
My point, however, was that, with the rising cost of a college education and so many success stories about people lacking a degree, he may choose a path that does not ultimately include a stop at college.
For some, college can be a stifling experience. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak made statements to that effect a few months earlier when he spoke at ESC Silicon Valley 2011. The late Steve Jobs also had made similar comments on numerous occasions.
Two of the three minds behind Apple lack a college degree. If a company of such influence and that offers products that dominate the market on a worldwide scale could be born with two of the three founders lacking a sheepskin between them, I wonder: Do you need to go to school to be an engineer, or is that idea just a mindset?
Clearly, you must educate yourself and always be learning, but do you need to learn at a college or a university? Does an engineering hobbyist deserve the same respect as a professional electrical engineer?
By the time you read this column, my son will be 20 months old, a far cry from the 20-year-old students we chatted with at ESC Boston a few short weeks ago. However, because I work at EDN and sometimes read the articles to him instead of nursery rhymes, he’s already—I am convinced—showing the early signs of STEM (science/technology/ engineering/mathematics) talent. He takes apart everything he can, methodically categorizes his toys, and does some basic math. In other words, he has what EDN Technical Editor Margery Conner and Dilbert creator Scott Adams describe as “the knack.”
My son will grow up to be what he wants to be, but, if he decides to pursue a career in engineering, will he need to go to college to do so? Please let me know so that I can start looking for a second—and, perhaps, a third—mortgage now.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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