New series of posts: microeconomics and HTML5

In a post from last year I was mentioning a suggestion from Paul Hudak “to write a book related to science or art and a functional language so the coding examples would be not the usual ones and more practical” and I added “It’s a great idea, I was myself thinking about writing on economic exercise using one of the new language I wish to learn.”

Now it’s time to start it and the “language” will be HTML, in its new reincarnation: HTML5.

I wrote a small primer in February, about how HTML5 is an umbrella of specifications and features and its complicated genesis.

More information are coming about HTML5 and is definitely becoming one of the biggest trends in web development:

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The value of a degree now

There are so many information, university courses, podcasts, videos, articles available on internet (often for free)  that you can learn any topic online.

Bill Gates was even saying lately that he would send his children to school only until they are 14-15 years old, then they can learn from the web.

I was thinking if there is still value in having earned a degree from a university? If I need to hire a developer, should I consider the fact that he/she is graduated or not?

A hint is coming from an article by the economist Tim Harford: a key concept in modern economics is the “signal”, an idea developed by the Nobel laureate Michael Spence.
A signal is an action that distinguishes one type of person from a would-be mimic because it would be too costly for the mimic to carry out.

Spence suggested that the decision to acquire a degree might be a signal. The degree may be of no practical value but employers may still value it because a degree will distinguish good applicants from bad:  bright, energetic candidates are willing to go to the trouble of acquiring one while dim, lazy candidates are not.

Until here, the theory. On the other side, it could be a negative signal: candidates without a degree could be the ones better able to evaluate the balance between time + money and benefits.

Any thoughts?