Peter Thiel famously quoted, “I don’t think college is always bad, but our society seems to think college is always good, for everyone, at any cost—and that is what we have to question”. It would seem that that’s exactly what we question as well.
The keyword here is “high performing”, and not “dropout”. If someone is motivated and skilled enough to work and perform well in a tech startup, then the lack of a college degree is not going to be the only thing that would keep us from hiring him or her.
It all boils down to how resourceful/inventive the candidate is. I believe that a college degree is becoming more and more obsolete with time, and there is more value in finding driven, intelligent people than chasing college degrees.
Back in the day, people started hiring graduates over candidates who didn’t have a degree to make sure that they were recruiting the cream of the crop. This was back when college degrees genuinely validated the candidate’s prowess in a particular subject.
If you were a recruiting for the position of, say, an engineer of electronics, the recruiter simply went to a top tech/applied sciences university, conducted an interview, and hired a graduate who had aced the test. This still holds true for certain job roles and certain industries, but times have changed.
An electronics engineering graduate no longer aims to only join an electronics firm, and this is the same for several other courses that universities offer. A mechanical engineer becomes a marketer, an electrical major becomes a business development executive, and a biotech graduate becomes a product designer. Jobs and job opportunities have changed, evolved, and grown significantly, and so have the interests of freshers.
This is the world that we live in, a world where the college degree is no longer the certificate that accurately represents that value that a candidate will offer to the company.
Teenagers these days grow up with the internet being only a smartphone away from them. May it be to learn to illustrate, code, design or write content, high-school and college students seek the help of the internet, and learn it way before they are taught that in the classroom.