> When doing a degree, you spend several years surrounded by very smart people with a far more diverse variety of specialisations than you're likely to get at a single company.
It gain of it depends. If you've been classes where all teaching staffs having no experience on real world programming, the gain may be negative. (In the "programming project" which worth 6 credits, the curriculum said we shall form groups to produce a website
following the software development cycle. Being taught by someone with no real world experience, while the workflow is the same as on the textbook, the detail is quite "acedemic", I'd say...
This in the words of the Eric Meijers, is what is known as
the "vegeterian butcher". For Eric, it is why he left Academia (he is a Professor) and headed towards somewhere like Microsoft where he could see the fruits of his labour.
I also think that you find very smart people that are not necessarily academically distinguished, though these are few and far between. Bill Gates, Anders Heijlsberg are not short in the brain department, and in my experience, in the real world meeting
business leaders and thinkers, knowing your domain/business through experience is equally valuable.
Most of the time, these people cannot explain what an alogorithm is, but if you try to change a business process for example, having theorised about it, you are in for a big surprise. Both Academia and experience are essential, and the academics should
not need to be told this - being as smart as they are - but they always lack this essential experience, hence always vote for x instead of x=y.
PS: In my Avatar I have "The Glass Bead Game" - a nobel peace prize winning book - which is a
perfect example of this argument by the way. In it you have
Castalia a supreme pedagogic province for the best students. It is secular, but they allow people from "outside". In the end you come to realise that both academia and experience are necessary.