Your comment completely disregards the benefits of the social and emotional learning done in college. Also known as making friends (with a diverse set of people) and getting laid.
And none of this happens in the workplace? I beg to differ... apart from the getting laid part, perhaps. Dunno what your company policy is like.
The social world of a full time worker is very, very different than one of a college student. I'd argue the the college atmosphere is far more conducive to social and emotional growth.
It also assumes that someone working as an IT monkey will spend free time learning but that someone in college won't.
No, it assumes that both will continue to learn on their own, and thus end up at about par for the time spent. The experience may differ between the practical and theoretical, the mechanics and the concepts. I am assuming a self-motivated, intelligent individual in both cases. But my point isn't that one is better than the other, but that a degree is not necessary to be successful in the field, contrary to the previous poster.
You're right, I misunderstood your argument and I apologize and agree with your point. But while college may not be necessary for a successful career, I do feel that going to college is *generally* a better option in terms of developing happiness. Especially for "nerds".