Bill Gates, one of the most famous college dropouts in history, wants everybody to stay in school.
“Although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success,” Gates wrote in a new posting on his Gates Notes blog.
Gates, along with Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and other tech luminaries, is often cited—and sometimes lionized—as an example of someone who succeeded despite a lack of an undergraduate or graduate degree. Over the past several years, innumerable tech entrepreneurs have self-consciously emulated his example, dropping out of college to pursue a startup they hope will become the next Apple or Microsoft. Tech investor Peter Thiel has even paid students to abandon pursuit of a degree in favor of entrepreneurship.
But not everybody can transform a dream into a multi-billion-dollar company, and Gates sees a growing lack of suitably educated people in the U.S. “As the class of 2015 prepares to join the workforce, what many people may not realize is that America is facing a shortage of college graduates,” he wrote. “By 2025, two thirds of all jobs in the US will require education beyond high school.”
Indeed, obtaining many tech jobs is simply impossible without a formal degree (and a certain level of experience). While starting early worked out well for Gates, many of those who truly want to make an impact in tech would probably do well to stay in school.