I was out last night with some colleagues from work, and the topic of education came up. We all work at a video game company, and are the senior people leading a very large team, and are entrusted with developing one of the largest games out there. I'd like to believe that we're all somewhat intelligent and capable people. (For the most part). We started talking about our histories and how we got to be where we are, and it was quite interesting to see the various levels of "formal" education that were represented around the table, especially since we had representation from the US, Canada, England, France, and Sweden. About half of the people went to university, a quarter to a technical school for a couple of years, and a quarter stopped their formal education at high school. This revelation brought out some interesting reactions. For the most part, everyone just accepted it as one of many diverse paths to where we were, but one of the guys is quite the ring-knocker. (A ring knocker is a term I learned at Military College that describes a person who tends to draw attention to their class ring, ostensibly by tapping it on a table, to point out the fact that HE went to a Military Colleges and is therefore somehow superior to those who didn't... as in, "I have a ring and you don't so I'm better than you". They were generally at the top of the list to be fragged.) As a result, we could see his attitude change a bit with the revelation that some of our group didn't have a degree. Then we started talking about the stupidly high costs of education, the questionable necessity of formal education, and the return on investment. In some fields of study, there is no doubt that you absolutely NEED the formalized education to even get your foot in the door (such as the stuff Geigs does), or a physician/surgeon, etc. In my particular field, however, a formal education doesn't seem to make a difference. I've seen some of the best code written by guys that never attended a class after high school, and I've seen some absolute shit produced by guys with a Master's degree. Really, once you get the basic understanding down, it's more about experience and on-the-job learning from the more experienced members of your team. FOCUS: Education. Do you have a formal education? Does it make a difference in your life? Was it the right decision for you? What did you get out of it that was worthwhile, what was a waste of time, and what was it missing? Is the insane cost of an education worth it? ANTI-FOCUS: For the more experienced in the group, if you had to go back and do it again, what would you do differently? Not do it at all? Study something different?