Do you really need a degree in Computer Science to be a software developer?

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Do you need a degree to be a software developer?

The crux of being a successful software developer is the same as in every career : hard work is what will determine your success. With the myths and misconceptions however, many people begin doubting themselves when it comes to a career in software. The claim that the software industry demands that a programmer have a degree from a prestigious college or be a math genius to be successful are not as true as you would think.

Need for a degree

“Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter” says Eric Raymond, author of The New Hacker’s Dictionary.

A college degree will certainly help if you wish to pursue a career in software development. When recruiters compare resumes for potential candidates, a CS degree will certainly set you apart. Although, there’s a lot more that a recruiter will see than just your qualification. The country where you went to the college and the reputation of the college itself will be scrutinized. While considering degrees, there also comes the question of the level of your degree ( graduate or masters) as well as certifications that you’ve achieved.

That being said, there is also an argument to be made for treating software development as a trade. A lawyer or a doctor is required to have undergone formal education but the same does not hold true for a software developer. The industry is filled with individuals who have either never had formal education in programming or have dropped out because they received a good job opportunity. The biggest social network is filled with such individuals as are many other major companies. An uninitiated person will be surprised by the number of self taught programmers working in major corporations around the world.

There are plenty of websites that offer courses on programming that you can take from the comfort of your home. In addition, there also exist coding boot-camps that will certainly give you a leg up. The increasing popularity of these alternatives should be enough of an indication that you do not need a formal degree to make a career in software development. That being said, no boot-camp or website will enable you to reach the potential of a 20-year software veteran. They will provide you the initial step needed for you to get into the industry and with hard work you can most certainly build a successful career like the hundreds before you.

Source: Quora

5 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, most programmers will need a degree in the very near future. Simply because programming is becoming a specialist occupation as this Quora answer alludes to. But… Yes I am aware that many people are entering the software development industry, mostly in the new fangled field of web development.

    Who is behind this drive, that encourages people to learn to code, and why is the focus on web development? It is pretty obvious to see what the goal is; a new assembly line of generic web developers that is much cheaper to hire and “codes”. In essence I believe that these web coders will comprise 80 to 90% of the total software development workforce.

  2. These sort of posts serve only to promote online courses and bootcamps. Dont fool yourself. Computer science graduates are not your bootcamp programmers nor they wish to be programmers but rather software engineers and architects. The hard work it takes to become one is what also sets them apart from script kiddies and github copy pasters.

  3. Yeah, I am also working as a web developer in Ghana, and I also taught myself, guys if you get any job that you think you will need extra hands, kindly contact me through Silentgeek19 @gmail.com

  4. Maybe not if you under 30 (like everyone in the top photo) but if you are ‘older’ you know over 40 and you want to be a web developer or software engineer and don’t have a degree in computer science (or are in an entirely different field) it will ‘raise eyebrows’ or ‘red flags’ (recruiter speak) but then again if you are over 40 you have a much tougher time and face much more scrutiny when interviewing (assuming you make it to the interview stage) than a fresh faced 20 something

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