Top 5 Successful People Without A College Degree, Brief Biographies

Joseph Kanu
Joseph Kanu  - Content Writer, Editor and Blogger February 28, 2023
Updated 2023/02/28 at 11:53 AM
Successful People Without A College Degree
Successful People Without A College Degree

If you’ve always wanted to know who successful people without a college degree are, this is such a perfect opportunity.

We’re in a world where it is widely believed that one can only succeed with degrees from colleges, however, a good number of people making waves in our world as of the present day are people who do not have college degrees.

In this informative article, provides you with just five out of the numerous successful people we have across the world, and you would get to read through their biographies, career, ventures, and how they have impacted the world so far, so you would confirm there are indeed successful people without a college degree.

Below are just 5 successful people without a college degree:

1. Bill Gates

William Henry Gates III, widely known as Bill Gates is a 68-year-old American business magnate, author, investor, and philanthropist born on October 28th, 1955,  in Seattle, Washington.

His father was William H. Gates Sr, a prominent lawyer, and his mother was Mary Maxwell Gates, who served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way of America. Bill Gates is of English, German, and Irish/Scots-Irish ancestry.

Bill Gates at the age of 13 enrolled on the private Lakeside prep school, he wrote his first software program, took a special interest in programming the GE system in BASIC and was excused from math classes to go for his interest. 

Gates wrote his first computer program on this machine, an implementation of tic-tac-toe that gave users access to play games against the computer. He was really interested in the machine and how it always executed software code perfectly.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years to begin Microsoft with his late friend, Paul Allen yet he remains one of the most successful people in the world.

Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft, alongside Paul Allen, his late childhood friend. Throughout his active career at Microsoft, Bill Gates served as the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), president and chief software architect, and at the same time, he was the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. Bill Gates was a major entrepreneur in the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1975, Bill Gates and Allen Paul founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and from its inception, Microsoft emerged as the world’s largest personal computer software company. Bill Gates led the company in the capacity of chairman and CEO until January 2000 when he stepped down and handed over to Steve Ballmer.

However even after he stepped down as the chairman and CEO, Gates remained chairman of the board of directors and emerged as the chief software architect. In June 2008, Bill Gates divided his time into a part-time role at Microsoft and the majority of his time with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the private charitable foundation established in 2000 by himself and his then-wife, Melinda Gates.

As time went on, in February 2014, Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the board of Microsoft and took up a new role as the technology adviser to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella, and in March 2020, he left his board position at Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway to face philanthropy, especially on climate change, world health and development, and education.

Right from 1987, Bill Gates has been consistently included in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people, and between 1995 to 2017, Gates held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world every year until October 2017, when he was overtaken by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and CEO.

As of that time, Jeff Bezos had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion compared to Gates’s net worth of US$89.9 billion at the time, and as of February 2023, Bill Gates has an estimated net worth of US$113 billion, making him the fourth-richest person in the world.

In his subsequent career, Bill Gates after stepping down from all the day-to-day operations at Microsoft in 2008, and 2014 respectively, has ventured into many businesses and philanthropic endeavours.

Bill Gates is the founder and chairman of several companies, including BEN, Cascade Investment, TerraPower, bgC3, and Breakthrough Energy, and has given out some good amounts of money to several charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

2. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg popularly known as Mark Zuckerberg is a 38-year-old American business magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist born on May 14th, 1984, in White Plains, New York. 

His father is Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist, and his mother is Karen (née Kempner), a psychiatrist. Zuckerberg had his high school education at Ardsley High School, and thereafter he transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy where he was captain of the fencing team. Mark Zuckerberg attended Harvard University.

Mark Zuckerberg is widely known for co-founding Facebook, a social media website and its parent company Meta Platforms (previously Facebook, Inc.), in which he serves as the chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder.

During his studies at Harvard University, Mark launched Facebook in February 2004 with his roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes

The original plan for launching Facebook was to select college campuses, however, the site rapidly expanded beyond colleges, reaching a billion users by 2012, and in May 2012, Mark Zuckerberg took the company public with majority shares. 

Zuckerberg 2007, at age 23, emerged as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. He has used his money to organize several philanthropic endeavours, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

In December 2016, Mark Zuckerberg was ranked No.10 on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People, and in the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans in 2022 he was ranked No.11 with a Net worth of $57.7 billion. Currently, Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s 16th richest person with an estimated net worth of $63.3B 

3. Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs popularly known as Steve Jobs was born on February 24th, 1955, in San Francisco, and died on October 5th, 2011. He was an American entrepreneur, business magnate, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor. 

His father was Syrian and his mother was German-American. Steve Jobs was adopted shortly after his birth, he had his education at Reed College in 1972 however, he withdrew that same year, then in 1974, he traveled through India for enlightenment before he later went to study Zen Buddhism

Steve Jobs was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple, and as well the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company‘s board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT

Steve Jobs  is widely regarded as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, alongside Steve Wozniak, his early business partner and fellow Apple co-founder. In 1985, he left Apple having been involved in a power struggle with Apple’s board and John Sculley,  its then-CEO. 

That same year, In 1985, Steve Jobs took some Apple staff with him and they founded NeXT, a computer platform development company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. 

Steve Jobs was part of the development of the visual effects industry when he funded the computer graphics division of George Lucas’s Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company was Pixar, which produced the first 3D computer-animated feature film Toy Story (1995) and went on to become a major animation studio, producing more than 25 films right from inception.

At the time of his death, Steve Jobs’s net worth was estimated at $250 million.

4. Richard Branson

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson popularly known as Richard Brandson is a 73-year-old British billionaire, entrepreneur, commercial astronaut and business magnate born on July 18th, 1950, in Blackheath, London.

His father was Edward James Branson, a lawyer, and his mother was Eve Branson (née Evette Huntley Flindt, a former ballet dancer and air hostess. Richard Branson attended Scaitcliffe School, a prep school in Surrey, and briefly attended Cliff View House School in Sussex.

Branson further attended Stowe School, a private school in Buckinghamshire until he was sixteen years old. Richard Branson has dyslexia, and performed poorly when it came to academics so on his last day at school, his headmaster, Robert Drayson, told him he was going to either end up in jail or become a millionaire.

In the 1970s, Richard Branson founded the Virgin Group, which controls over 400 companies in various fields today. His first business venture, at 16, was a magazine called Student. In 1970, he set up a mail-order record business. 

Branson opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, subsequently known as Virgin Megastores in 1972, and it rapidly grew during the 1980s, as he began the Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label.

From reliable sources like Forbes, Richard Brandson’s net worth is currently estimated at  $4.7 billion.

5. Michael Dell

Michael Saul Dell popularly known as Michael Dell is a 58-year-old American billionaire businessman and philanthropist born on February 23rd,1965,in Houston.

His father was Alexander Dell, an orthodontist and his mother was Lorraine Charlotte (née Langfan), a stockbroker both of Jewish descent. Dell had his education at Herod Elementary School in Houston, and went on to attend Memorial High School.

Michael Dell  is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies, one of the world’s largest technology infrastructure companies, and is ranked the No.24th richest person in the world by Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $45 billion as of October 2022.

In 2011, Michael Dell’s 243.35 million shares of Dell stock were worth $3.5 billion, which made him gain 12% ownership of the company, and another fortune of roughly $10 billion is invested in other companies and managed by MSD Capital, which incorporates his initials.

Currently, Michael Dell’s net worth is estimated at 51.1 billion USD.


Just as we have earlier said, it is widely believed that it’s only people with one college degree or the other that can be successful, but we have seen in our world today where most people making waves in both technology and even world leaders do not have college degrees.

Just as we earlier promised, we did provide just five to successful people without college degrees. For more articles like this, kindly visit our website at 

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