School/College definitely play a phenomenal role in making a person’s life. No, I’m not just talking about the classes that you take, but those 3-4 years of reality-check you spend carving yourself into the character that goes further to become your identity – an entrepreneur, a tech expert, an artist and more.
Even the most successful tech titans of the world have their individual stories behind their identity. And more or less, every story starts with the “first step” that they took towards their vision – College.
Take a look at the varied universities, colleges, and courses that propelled tech titans to their super-wealthy positions.
Bill Gates – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill gates, the richest man in the world grasped an early interest into programming during his school days in Seattle, Washington. Being groomed up in a family that had always encouraged competition, he excelled in programming BASICS while pursuing it in school.
Later, he found himself at one of the US’s most prestigious colleges, Harvard. Aside from creating an algorithm to sort pancakes (no seriously), he wasn’t really one for hitting the books – and his keen business eye saw Gates drop out from Harvard in his second year. He’d form Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975, and the rest is computing history.
Satya Nadella – Microsoft CEO
The current Microsoft Boss, Satya Nadella had a passion for building things. He considered computer science and engineering as a great kick to his early interest in computing
Nadella gained a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from India’s Manipal Institute of Technology in 1988. He, later in 1990, headed to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the US to pursue M.S. in computer science and eventually got his MBA done at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business.
While he hopped around educational institutions, in his career Nadella has been pretty much a one-company man. He worked with Sun Microsystems early in his career but has been with Microsoft ever since joining in 1992.
Steve Jobs – Apple
Apple founder Steve Jobs was yet another college drop-out. Having studied at Stanford University, Jobs dropped out from the institution to get enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The reason must be known to some of you, as it has been shown twice on film (in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley and Ashton Kutcher’s Jobs) that he got enrolled at the later to move closer to his buddy Steve Wozniak (enrolled at Berkeley).
Jobs’ adopted parents found it hard to keep up with the costs of his higher education, and it didn’t help that Jobs acquired a penchant for mysticism rather than studying. Jobs did, however, turn up to some classes he wasn’t enrolled in on an informal basis, most notably calligraphy – the iPhone mastermind attributes Apple products’ reputation for typographic excellence to what he picked up there.
Elon Musk – Tesla, Space X
Elon Musk is known as the real-life Tony Stark for his widely-known enthusiasm in Physics, and party freakishness. Musk rented a 10-bedroom frat house in which he’d throw raucous bashes.
Elon Musk, when he was 19, got accepted as an undergrad at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, picking up a degree in physics by the time he was 24.
Musk later headed to California to pick up a Ph.D. in applied physics and materials science at Stanford University. Given his later success with Tesla and SpaceX (not to mention internet money-transfer firm PayPal), it seems clear that Musk had a pretty solid vision of what he wanted from his studies – his current successes certainly align well with the qualifications he earned.
Palmer Luckey – Oculus
Palmer Luckey kick-started the virtual reality revolution with his Oculus Rift headset. The start-up made him a cool £700m when Facebook bought out the company in 2014.
However, before reaching to the tech stardom he has, Luckey went through a pretty unconventional academic route. He was homeschooled during his early days and had a keen interest in the electronics.
For the higher education, he briefly studied journalism as a major at California State University. Though, like others on this list, his interest in technology outpaced his education, with his VR plans quickly becoming his sole concern.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
Hollywood has played this one out on the silver screen, in The Social Network, better than we’ll manage here with 50 words, so we’ll keep it brief. Mark Zuckerberg is yet another Harvard dropout, studying psychology and computer science. His time at college wasn’t a complete waste, though – it’s there that he created the ‘Facebook’, an early incarnation of the world-dominating social network.
Shigeru Miyamoto – Nintendo
Shigeru Miyamoto, known as the guy behind the rise of the Arcade Gaming, is responsible for some of the most iconic games of all time. However, Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t embark on his education with programming in mind. Instead, he took a more artistic route, graduating from the Kanazawa Municipal College of Industrial Arts with a degree in industrial design.
Miyamoto initially had plans to get into Manga, doing the artwork for the popular Japanese comic books. An obsession indeed, with Taito’s Space Invaders, led him to explore a career in video games, eventually landing him a job at Nintendo. And thank God for that – can you imagine the world without Super Mario or Zelda?