Practical curricular training...
As a kid, I used to help my mum on all odd jobs while she worked at home as a tailor. (But I still cannot make my own clothes...)
Coming from a humble working-class family, I have worked almost every summer and in between schools. Prior to college, I worked as a clerk in a pipeline company and a sales assistant in a furniture house that specialized in audio-visual systems. These experiences feel almost too remote to mention.
Higher education has certainly opened up new worlds and enabled me to function as systems analyst / software developer in the industries, and teaching / research associate in the academia. Eduation does matter.
I interned at IBM Almaden Research Laboratory in Summer 2003. I was a teaching fellow in the Department of Computer Science in Summer 2004, and a research assistant in Systems Optimization Laboratory (SOL) between Fall 2003 and Fall 2006.