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7 tech greats who do not have a college degree

Sep 7, 2017 12:42 IST
7 tech greats who do not have a college degree
7 tech greats who do not have a college degree

Introduction

Our parents and society repeatedly stress on the importance of education and a degree from a reputed college. But what if I told you that there are multiple famous personalities who dropped out of college to fulfill their dreams and changed the way things happened in the world?!

You heard it right. These change makers realized that classroom lectures were not meant for them and they needed to go out there in the world to make it possible to do what they wanted to.

Here, we present the list of 7 tech greats who dropped out of college and became successful nevertheless.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak dropped out of their respective colleges: Reed College and University of California joined forces and founded Apple Computer in 1976. The two became friends when Jobs worked for a summer at HP, where Wozniak was working on a mainframe computer. 41 years later, Apple is the world's largest information technology company by revenue, and the world's second-largest mobile phone manufacturer after Samsung.

Bill Gates

The founder of tech giant Microsoft is also known as 'Harvard's most successful dropout'. Gates attended Harvard for two years before leaving to build what would become Microsoft. He had talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much Gates wanted to start his own company. Gates explained his official status with Harvard that, "...if things (Microsoft) hadn't worked out, I could always go back to school. As of 2017, Microsoft is the world's largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world's most valuable companies.

Michael Dell

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Corporation, dropped out of the University of Texas when he was in his freshman year. Although Dell majored in Biology, he realized that computers were his true calling. In 1984, Dell Computer Corporation was founded. He is ranked as the 37th richest person in the world by Forbes, with a net worth of US$20.8 billion as of February 2017. Michael Dell is also the youngest CEO to make it to the Fortune 500 list.

Evan Williams

Another social media platform Twitter was co-founded by college dropout Evan Williams. Williams grew up in Clarks, Nebraska, where his family ran a farm. He attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for three semesters before dropping out. Williams worked as a freelance software programmer for Hewlett-Packard and Intel before getting a job at Google. He later quit his job at Google to build Twitter with another dropout Jack Dorsey.

Mark Zukerberg

This list would be incomplete without mentioning the founder of social media giant Facebook. Mark Zukerberg dropped out of Harvard to create Facebook. He dropped out of college in his sophomore year at 20 years of age to focus solely on the social media platform which is the largest such network in the world today. He is the 5th wealthiest man alive. According to the book "The Facebook Effect," it took him just five minutes to make the decision to quit college. Initially, the website's membership was limited to Harvard students; however, later they expanded it to higher education institutions in the Boston area, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford University. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students as well.

Larry Ellison

The software billionaire and founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, was on verge of becoming a doctor as  his adoptive parents encouraged him to go for medical studies while he was growing up. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago, but struggled with his medical courses and dropped out. Today he is worth over $ 55 billion. Larry Ellison and his two friends and former co-workers, Bob Miner and Ed Oates, started a consultancy called Software Development Laboratories (SDL) in 1977. SDL developed the original version of the Oracle software. The name Oracle comes from the code-name of a CIA-funded project Ellison had worked on while formerly employed by Ampex.

Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick is an American computer programmer and businessman. He is the co-founder of the peer-to-peer file sharing company Red Swoosh and the transportation network company Uber.   Travis Kalanick, along with Michael Todd and Vince Busam, dropped out of UCLA to help Dan Rodrigues found Scour Inc., a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Operating in 570 cities worldwide, Uber Technologies develops, markets and operates the Uber car transportation and food delivery mobile apps. Uber drivers use their own cars, although drivers can rent a car to drive with Uber. Uber has been a pioneer in the sharing economy and the changes in industries as a result of the sharing economy have been referred to as "Uberification" or "Uberisation". Uber has also been the subject of protests and legal actions.

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