While tech iron man Peter Thiel is betting millions against the value of higher education, a new Computerworld list suggests that you better think twice before leaving college and hauling off to Silicon Valley.
Five universities -- including the George Washington University -- have made the magazine's list of the top 100 places to work for IT staff in 2011.
GW took the 62nd spot on the list. The university offers IT staff a bounty of benefits, the most attractive to those surveyed for the rankings being tuition benefit to full- and part-time faculty, staff and research personnel in eligible positions who are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs, as well as non-degree-seeking employees. Under the benefit, 96 percent of tuition and expenses are paid, with no repayment obligation. Spouses, domestic partners and dependent children also receive substantial remission coverage, which increases with tenure.
Coming in just above GW is the University of Miami at No.50 on the list. In 2010, Miami's IT team was where the news was: they supported medical school personnel working to treat earthquake victims in Haiti, research efforts to monitor the Gulf oil spill, and provided on-site support for a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
At Indiana University at Bloomington, which came in at No. 95, shared decision-making was big. Staffers collaborated with faculty and students to develop the university’s five-year strategic plan for technology.
The University of Pennsylvania snagged the sixth spot, lauded for its benefits and workforce diversity.
Temple University, No. 67 on the list, prides itself on a budget with increasing technology investment and providing -- like GW -- an almost complete tuition break for its IT staff.
If you're able to find an IT gig with GW or Temple, you might want to take advantage of their hefty tuition discounts. According to a recent study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, however, Thiel's assumptions about formal higher education are off base.
“The bottom line is that getting a degree matters, but what you take matters more,” said Anthony Carnevale, the Center's director, in a press release.
"While there is a lot of variation in earnings over a lifetime,” the center said in the release, “the authors find that all undergraduate majors are ‘worth it,’ even taking into account the cost of college and lost earnings.”
Computerworld's top 100 places to work for IT staff were pared down from a list of 500 nominees, based on a survey of institutional features like benefits, training and development, and employee turnover, as well as surveys of employee satisfaction.