Posted 28 May 2011 - 12:27 PM
College is not just about learning your trade. It is also about learning how to communicate effectively, meeting deadlines, and building your critical thinking skills. For instance, just what are 'conflicting programmers'? Are they a couple of people yelling at each other, or are they just giving each other the hairy eyeball? What you probably really meant was 'conflicting statements from different programmers'. Being an effective programmer means being able to take a precise set of instructions, and create an application that fits those specifications.
You don't need to go to college, but during the job interview I might ask about database normalization, or about how to optimize some routine, and you won't know how to answer. Recursion, what's that? Given that there are so many graduates looking for work, employers are going to want someone that can at least show they were serious enough to commit to college. A degree also indicates at least some basic skillset. And college gives you the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular activities through which you can really make yourself stand out from the next person.
As far as your 'conflicting programmers', I call bullbleep. I would argue that every time they dealt with a spec doc, they used critical thinking skills to interpret the document. That usually comes from a composition class. Any time they have attended a stand-up to discuss what they were working on, they used skills practiced in speech class. And when something goes wrong, you can bet they used research skills honed while in college. I will probably never use Calculus in my current job, but it did help me learn to break down very complex problems into simple steps. Again, another critical skill for a programmer.
College is about more than just learning a skill set. You learn other skills that make you more effective at your job, and life in general.