Why One Third of Tech Billionaire Are College Dropouts

From very early in life, we are told to study hard, stay in school, get a nice college degree, get a good earning job, marry a decent person, work hard till you retire and then enjoy the rest of life. This is the rule. This is the basic rule of society. Being College Dropouts is never ever considered an option.

If you look into the amazing world of Tech, you’ll hear famous names like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. Among the labels like, billionaire, Tech genius there’s also a label attached to them ‘college dropouts’, which makes them stand out from the others and make them special cases. But why is that, why are so many Tech Billionaires College dropouts?

They Are The Exception

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The first thing which you have to know is that while we are the rule, they are the exception. A rule is when people follow the same set of rules to achieve their goal and this is the majority, the safe players. But every now and then, there are few exceptions who break the rule successfully, they are the ones whose risk taking brought positive change, they are not afraid of failure, with a large amount of talent and luck they became exceptions in the world of Tech while being labeled ‘college dropouts’.

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While 32% are College Dropouts, 68% are Not

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We focus a lot on the fact that famous names in the Tech world are College Dropouts, but what we ignore is the fact that out of 100 Tech Billionaires only 32 percent are those who broke the rules and achieved success in a short period of time being college dropouts. What we should focus on, is the fact that 68 percent of those Tech Geniuses got a college degree, followed the rules and got where they are today.

They Are Geniuses

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They are simply genius, you should not forget that they had started developing skills at a very young age and they kept on experimenting and feeding their curiosity, they were not afraid to break the norms, rebel or go out of the way to achieve their goal. That kind of determination and experimentation, later on, gave them better skills and knowledge as compared to average students their age.

4 Tech Billionaires and The Reasons Why They Dropped Out: College Dropouts

College Dropouts: One thing that you should not forget is that they didn’t just drop out of any college, they were the ones going to top colleges and already had the set of expertise that students were taught there. Mostly these geniuses spent their time in a university building up their businesses using the college’s resources.

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4- Michael Dell — Founder of Dell (Net Worth: $21.9 Billion)

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College Dropouts: When he was 8, he applied for high school equivalency exams. At 14 he was an expert at fixing computers. He was sent by his parents to the University of Texas to become a Doctor but instead used his time there to build a 25,000$/month business in his dorm room. He was a Genius at 8 and skilled as a professional at 14. His being a college dropout can be justified, as he was already making more money than any average person with a college degree.

3- Mark Zuckerberg — Founder of Facebook (Net Worth: $33.3 Billion)

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College Dropouts: Mark became a college dropout after one year of residing at Harvard. While there, he spent his time in his dorm room along with his friends, Chris Hughes and Andrew McCollum. Together with their help and support, he launched the first version of Facebook, which became an instant success. During his first year, he got enough success that being a college dropout would not affect his career in any way.

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2- Steve Jobs — Founder of Apple (Net Worth: $11 Billion)

college dropouts

College Dropouts: Steve while at the university of Reed, spent his time away from his studies and focused more on designing a computer interface. He took calligraphy classes there, which later helped him in introducing a variety of fonts in his new computer interface. He was confident and focused on his work and took a risk by dropping out of college, which worked in his favor.

1- Bill Gates —Founder of Microsoft (Net Worth: $80.5 Billion)

college dropouts

College Dropouts: Gates became a college dropout after two years at Harvard. While there he kept on taking different courses that would increase his knowledge and provide professional skills. He promised his professor that he’d be a billionaire by 30 and he became one by 31. He knew what he was doing. Even today he encourages students to not become college dropouts as College degree is the best way to a successful life.


So the reason why one-third of Tech billionaires are college dropouts is that they had the skill set required to achieve their goal. They were already more experienced than college degree holders before joining the college. They had some kind of support from friends, family or partners, they had accomplished enough in a short period of time that their being college dropouts didn’t make a difference on resumes.

The thing is that you cannot afford to be a college dropout even if you think that you have the next big idea. You are more likely to be categorized in the 71% unemployed college dropouts. You should also not forget this that even these Tech billionaires hire people with college degrees because they know that the skill set required for working with them can only be achieved through a college degree. So you should stay in college, do experiment around with your ideas but get that degree, your idea would most likely be heard if you have a college degree.

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Article by Born Realist