College for Edtech Entrepreneurs
You want to be an edtech entrepreneur, but one question keeps coming up: do you really need a college degree to become a startup entrepreneur?
More than 40 million students in America shoulder college debt of some kind. While most of the indebtedness ranges between $10,000 and $25,000, at least two million students have borrowed more than $100,000 in student loans. Although it would seem like the money accrued in loans and interest could be better spent on other endeavors, like starting a business, most people consider a college degree necessary for entrepreneurial success.
Wanting to become an edtech entrepreneur doesn’t preclude you from getting a college degree. Many colleges like Harvard and Ohio State offer edtech degrees, including the Master’s, in educational technology.
Benefits of a college degree
In spite of carrying massive debt upon graduating from college, most people agree that higher education offers more benefits than drawbacks.
- Increase earning potential – On average, college graduates make more money than those who attended some college or those who only have a high school diploma. The difference can be $20,000 or more annually. Over a lifetime, that difference adds up.
- Create a life-long network – During your college years, you make friends with the people you’ll need later in life. Often these networks of friends and colleagues become your first tier of support when you need to reach out for help. If they can’t help you, they know someone who can.
- Become more well-rounded – College teaches critical thinking and problem-solving skills, both of which are critical in today’s job market, especially for edtech entrepreneurs. That’s why degree plans include a variety of classes outside your area of study. These classes teach you how to think differently.
Having a college degree positions you for success, and in today’s world, that’s more critical than ever. Gen Z is a highly mobile generation, and compared to Baby Boomers, this generation is three times more likely to switch not only jobs, but careers.
What if higher ed isn’t for you?
College isn’t for everyone. Some students know what they want to do immediately upon high school graduation. Others find their path while at university, discovering that another calling beckons, and they leave school before finishing.
Several successful tech entrepreneurs matriculated in college with every intention of graduating with a degree. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Michael Dell are three examples of men who’ve been hugely successful in spite of not having a college degree. They came up with an idea and began working on it while at school. The impetus quickly consumed them, and they stopped going to classes, eventually leaving school for other pursuits.
Will the same plan work for you? It’s hard to tell, because legendary overnight success is not guaranteed. The college degree is your foundation for the work ahead of you.
What the edtech entrepreneur needs most
Fortunately, you aren’t expected to know everything. You do, however, have to develop insatiable curiosity and a creative mind to build your startup.
Going to a university to pursue an edtech degree can place you in front of potential investors and other edtech candidates like yourself. You and your peers may forge the partnerships you’ll need after college. Ultimately, to become a successful edtech entrepreneur, you’ll have to develop the following when building your product:
- Learn to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds. You’ll be hiring teams of employees, and you’ll also be marketing to your consumers.
- Be willing to begin. Hesitation will hold you back. If you have a product idea and the team to put it together, get started. There’s no “best time” to begin a startup.
- Find ways to scale up. If you’ve developed a network, there are others who can help you grow, and you can help them.
Most of all, if you’ve committed to becoming an edtech entrepreneur, spend time with educators to discover their needs. Offer to meet for coffee, or better, volunteer to spend some time in a classroom with a teacher.
It’s there that’ll you perhaps get the best education of all.