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Do Computer Engineers Really Need a College Degree?

There's a school of thought that says a great computer engineer doesn't need to take college classes or get a degree.  That his or her work is great because of natural curiosity and intellectual firepower.  

This is somewhat true.  All the great programmers we've known liked coding almost like athletes like sports.  It just comes natural. These people are likely to read technical manuals and specs like others read novels.  This includes in the bathtub!

But if you're truely destined to be a great computer engineer, why not shoot for the stars?  Computer engineers with college degrees are likely to have more senior positions earn more money.  

Great engineers are needed not only to code applications, but to find technical solutions based on their expertise on the principals of computing and on its latest developments.  According to the well-known venture capitalist and popular blogger, Fred Wilson, the founding teams of most of the companies that his firm, Union Street Ventures,invest in consist of a top-notch product person and a great computer engineer.

It will be very hard to get chosen to be a member of a founding team of professionals in a new venture without a college degree.  
It's not just a strong level of commitment which having a college degree reflects, but also, executives are largely college-educated and they look for well-rounded people to be their colleagues.  Engineers with a college degree will be more apt to have better communication skills to help with interacting with less technical people such as those in business and marketing.

Most computer engineers have found that the cost of a college education is more than compensated by the better salaries that are available to college graduates.