I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment. One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.
Going to college and receiving a degree is still a young person’s best bet for securing gainful employment. But it is telling that one of the nation’s leading tech firms, once known for hiring the best and the brightest from the nation’s top schools, now believes that degrees and test scores are no longer a strong indicator of success. If companies like Google, which are constantly complaining about the lack of skilled workers, don’t think that colleges are preparing kids for the workforce, we should sit up and take notice.Employers are hungering for innovation, creativity, and leadership—skills and talents that are often acquired outside of academia. High school students (and parents), take note.[Google office image courtesy of Shutterstock]