How To Be a Software Developer Without a College Degree


“How to be a software developer without a computer science degree” is one common question being asked by many people. Regardless of what you might have heard before, all it takes is passion and commitment. That being said however, there are a few other things that you should do to reach your goal.

night inthe life of a software developer 300x200 How To Be a Software Developer Without a College Degree

The question is : can I become software developer without a cs degree? The simplest answer is an astounding YES. Here are a few steps you need to take to be one.

How To Be a Software Developer Without a CS Degree

  1. Make a decision - Yeah, seriously. Deciding on something is not as easy as it may sound. The other worst thing is regretting after investing both time and money on something you really don’t like. So, once again, be sure that you want to be a computer programmer. After that, the sky could be the limit!
  2. Choose a programming language - In order for you to write code, you need to understand at least one language, the more the better! By learning the ins and out of a particular language like Python or C++ , you empower yourself with the necessary tools of trade.
  3. Practice, practice and practice - A few days ago, I wrote Learn How To Program in 21 days – NOT and it generated a lot of reactions on Reddit. The point of the whole thing is simple; if you want to be good at something, you have to do it over and over and over again. Make mistakes, find solutions, and repeat! The good thing is this: we all start somewhere.
  4. Open Source and Own Projects - I cannot stress this enough! Most companies specializing in Software are obsessed with Experience! Unless you are a rock star - which most of us aren’t. Instead of asking yourself how they expect you to have experience when you are looking for your first programming job, beat them by taking part in open source projects and most certainly, your own projects if you can. You need something to show them that you are capable. You have a better chance if you can show them your portfolio than a fresh college graduate who has none.
  5. Networking - If this sounds familiar, it is because I have mentioned it before under What to do after college and without a jobYou could have the coolest resume in town and keep wondering why you don’t land the best jobs. I believe networking is more of people skills than anything in between. This should start in college but if you didn’t go to college, you can still catch up through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and most importantly, local meetups and events. This also requires good communication. Listen to people in the industry. Subscribe to their blogs. Talk to them. There is a good chance that one of them will refer you when you are looking for a job. You just never know!

Those are the five most important things you should do if you want to become a software developer without a cs degree. Today, you must be competitive and be willing to work a little harder in order to get what you want. It is still advisable to earn a degree because you learn more from college professors and meet friends who could be potential startup buddies.

Not having a cs degree doesn’t have to stop you from being a software developer. You are, without doubt, the only one who can stop yourself. So, without much ado, go forth. Start your new career with confidence knowing that the future is brighter. Good luck.

NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list on how to be a software developer. If you would like to add more ideas, please leave me a comment below.

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11 thoughts on “How To Be a Software Developer Without a College Degree

  1. Pingback: How To Be a Software Developer Without a College Degree | CampusWhizz

  2. A good topic explained . many people think that can not be done any thing without an cs college degree i know many guys who know only one language and doing job in software houses

    • Thank you for stopping by and also for the comment. Today, many people have discovered that you can teach yourself so much without spending thousands of dollars or (currency here). It is all about dedication and passion!

  3. Nice read. I am a Business Analyst in an international company. I do VBA codes and MySQL. I watch videos on LearnVisualStudio.net and I’m about to finish their C#.net 10 day course. What do you think I’m gonna do next?

    • First, thank you for visiting my blog! I think the answer to your questions lies in the question “What do you want to know or achieve?”

      I am saying this because I don’t think you have the luxury of time here to learn things without a need for them. For example, if you want to be part of a web application project, and your team members are using Python, then I would suggest you learn Python. If you want to work in the front-end, learn JavaScript, CSS3 and HTML5.

      So, in other words, it totally depends on what area of specialization you want to focus on. But you won’t go wrong with JavaScript, Python, CSS, CSS3, HTML5 and such.

      Good luck!

  4. Good advice, i have passion for programming and i want to do an online degree Information systems Management in London school of economics, from you write up i am encouraged to start programming before the course, i have some questions i will like you to advice me on

    1. Which language do you advice me to start with as a novice

    2. Must i be good at maths before i start programming?

    i will be Glad if you respond on time.
    thanks

    • Thanks for visiting. Now the answers to your questions:

      1. Which language should you start with as a novice?

      This is a tough one but it really depends on what you like most once you have started playing around with programming. I advice you to start Python because it is very well-written, has a huge community support and it is easier to learn than many other languages. So, if I were you, I would start with Python and then learn a few more languages once you have a good grip on the programming concepts. If you understand how to program, then the language issue goes away – you will discover that all you will need thereafter is to learn the slight differences in syntax between one language and another. Good luck.

      2. Must I be good at Math?
      Most certainly not. You don’t have to be a math major or genius to be a good programmer; Of course being good at Math will help you when using algorithms and such as a software engineer but trust me, don’t let Math stop you from being a programmer – it is a lot of fun!

      That being said though, remember to attend all your Math classes if you have them and learn problem solving skills as well as people skills. Without those, you are in for a surprise!

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  5. Elisha!
    Great post man!
    I recently started watching some videos on software development and I’m going to follow that career route. My question to you is:
    Are the any certifications that you can get as a Software Developer that will separate you from the rest?

    I know that Microsoft has some certification you can take but I dont really know much detail about it.

    Thanks!

    • Honestly, some companies will ask for certifications while hiring and others won’t. If you want to get certified, it truly depends on which area of expertise you want to be recognized for: Like if you are a Java developer, you should be getting Java certifications (different levels exist) and if you are a security expert, you should be looking into security and such! I hope this helped

  6. I am B E mech having my own coaching classes
    Now I want to become a software expert without joining a college.
    Please guide

    • Can you start with what I listed above? Pick a language like Java or Ruby or Python and find a tutorial on Google and start programming and when you have questions, just ask them on StackOverflow website.

      If you have any further questions, please ask me!

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