Steve Wozniak: School is not enough, go beyond it

Steve Wozniak: School is not enough, go beyond it
Steve Wozniak: School is not enough, go beyond it

Steve Wozniak likes to color outside the lines, but not the way other people in Silicon Valley do.

Wozniak founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne in 1976. But Wozniak was the one who designed and built the tech giant's first product, the Apple 1. But Wozniak is not a dropout success story like Jobs or Bill Gates. He finished his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

Though to be fair, he was originally expelled from the University of Colorado Boulder for hacking into the school's network and sending prank messages. But despite his antics, Wozniak believes in a good education.

"Get yourself very well educated early because it's the real outstanding top people by the time they get out of university that have instant jobs at any company like Apple," he said.

Steve Wozniak
Getty Images

Wozniak himself has taught computer classes in the Los Gatos, California, school district. He's also donated computers and other technological equipment to schools in the area. He advises young people to learn about the things they're passionate about.

"All my great stuff, I learned outside of school. You can find so much outside of school on the Internet now," he said.

"But even in school, if you love something like mathematics, instead of working the assigned problems, do all the other ones too. Just decide, this is something I really love in life. I'm going to go a little further than school wants me to."

Wozniak credits his father and one of his teachers for encouraging his passion for math and technology.

"They looked at things I could do and saw the things that I liked and wanted to do but were outside of the normal school," he said. "Look for mentors that want to help you in other places in life and take advantage of it when you can. Don't turn down something that's given to you."

Although Wozniak is no longer actively involved in Apple, that self-determination has remained. When CNBC asked him what advice he'd give to his younger self, knowing what he knew now, he responded:

"None at all. I'd say just, 'You are on the right path. Stay exactly how you are.' I knew myself. I knew my values and it boiled down mainly to ethics and morals."