As a former tech director and now a software development business owner, I've got nearly 20 years of experience hiring devs. The real reason we look the other way at non college graduate s has nothing to do with skill. Hiring a college graduate is a crap shoot since there's no guarantee they learned anything useful in school. So why don't we hire people without degrees? It's because the person with a degree is much more likely to show up for work and follow through on commitments. Even with bad grades, sticking with school for four years when you could be out making money or partying is tough. That's not to say all college graduates are guaranteed to be more responsible. It's just a lot more likely.
On the knowledge and skills part absolutely agree. For the rest I want to add something.
University level education is an indication for more potential in terms of research and learning but only an indication. Kind of depends on the location. In Greece, where I'm from, it used to be that school made sure things got in your brain but University made no effort for this because you are an adult. This ability to go beyond your current limitations is very important in some jobs. This is also what i look for during interviews known also as potential.In Belgium where i currently live, they used to hire and train in it any University profile just because of their presumed ability to learn. And beyond it, higher educated profiles would easily find a job in any sector until the crisis arrived and offer flooded the central northern European countries.
Unfortunately, the era when universities were academia minded is gone and now they are more of technical specialization school. Master don't differ that much.
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