Do you really need a degree to become the next Stev Jobs? Will, you are not able to take the world by storm with your awesome inventions if it isn’t for a Software Engineering Degree? Is life so hard that you just cannot be a Software Engineer without a degree?
In school and college, they teach us that we need a degree to actually able to earn a living. There are just countless lies we’ve been taught throughout our lives. To be honest, the world has changed. We can see stories of people, who don’t have a proper college degree. But, they somehow still are greatest in their fields. An awesome personality like Steve Jobs, who is one of the greatest investor of all time. Even he was a dropout of the first semester. We see a lot of college dropouts who made it into Silicon Valley.
If we take a look at the modern-day society, getting indebted into student loans is just too old fashioned. Moreover, this is the era of smartness as I always say. So, really no one can actually guarantee that you will be unemployed all your life. Students are getting skyrocket debts on them. This is just so boring an old. But, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to actually bash the whole concept of going into the university. But, I’m simply biased due to our modern society. Still, do not lose faith in me as i will incorporate the whole topic now. Do you need a degree to be a Software Engineer?
Starting Development at a Young Age?
Nowadays, kids are learning to code at a young age. Institutes are there for them to learn. They make apps, build websites and learn to code as they grow up. Therefore, it’s obvious that when they’ll grow up, a pretty stage will be set from them. From stage i mean, a career path. Kids like these learn everything from Google. They google everything, trying new languages and making new and cool projects. This widens their vision.
Stack Overflow is a great platform for the younger generation to learn to code these days. Moreover, they teach themselves. This is a kind of natural talent for kids these days. Just like smartphones, our generation is smart too. However, people always wonder once in their life that do they really need a degree?
Nick Larsen who is an Engineer at Stack Overflow says that a degree really isn’t required. But your portfolio does. The portfolio itself transcends the whole system of education. Let’s say you have a degree but not a strong Portfolio. No one is going to hire you. That’s so true. On the other hand, if you have made an awesome cool project but you don’t have a Software Engineering degree, there is a chance that you’ll get an awesome job. “It’s your Portfolio that matters the most”
In the 2016 Developers Survey they found out that almost 70% of developers were self-taught. In Contrast to that 34.8 percent were actually Computer Engineer. So that should actually fade away the concept of being stubborn on that concept. Out of this 69.1 %, only 13% are fully self-taught. Now let’s take our topic further into the void.
Do Companies require an Engineering Degree?
Do you need a degree to be a Software Engineer? Education is important aspect of our life. Therefore, most of the companies do require an engineering degree (being in the SE context). Young people, they always prefer going to college and universities to learn. That is pretty good and they actually should. If we talk about a Diploma. Even the Diploma has great respect in the industry.
If we talk about the world today, degrees have grown old. Not all companies require degrees. With the passage of time, world is changing so fast that many universities aren’t even ready for that big revolution.
Now, to the real subject. Nowadays, companies look more for Skills and Experience rather than a fresh degree. In the past, degrees were the skills. But with the passage of time, everything has changed. Of course, it’s true that teammates will always prefer people with degrees. But, the experience is greater than all. You can learn to code in boot camps, online tutorials or books and you might be better than people who went to college just for the sake of a degree. Smart institutes seek people will skill not on base of their degrees.
Keeping Computer Science aside for a while, there are still some professions that will hire people with degrees. No one would like an accountant who has not been trained by any institution well. But as we are in the CS context. That doesn’t matter.
Is Degree Enough?
A lot of stereotypes say that once you get a degree, you’re going to be rich. Like, money is going to fall from trees. But let’s just be real. The answer is a straight no. You can’t depend on your degree. You can’t go on a job interview with a degree in your hand and be selected like seconds later. The truth is, skills matter the most. If a person has skill, he can make it through life.
The Portfolio is the most important part of the beginning of your career. So when someone asks about a degree, rather than showing them a degree. Show them what you’ve actually done and learned all these years. It’s your job to actually prove to them that your skills matter most than some piece of paper that doesn’t even define you. Boast not about your achievements of paper, tell people about the skills you’ve to learn, the projects you’ve made. Tell the whole company that skills are greater than the degree.
To be honest, not anyone can be a developer just by self-teaching himself. But there are many alternate to learn software engineering without having to pay loads of money. These include Bootcamp, Tutorials e.t.c.
Over the last decade, the trend of boot camps has been increased a lot. For folks who don’t know what a boot camp is, it is a company or institution providing you with service to teach you coding. Basically they promise to teach you and cover all topics in a certain time, say two weeks.
Since they teach good stuff in such a small time span. Boot camps can be great alternatives for Software Engineering Degree.
Learn by Practicing
The best and most efficient way to teach yourself how to code is to actually try. Now, most of the students in their early stages suffer from a syndrome called as “I-Can’t-Do-It“. In my theory, anyone can do it. You just need to try. Programming is one of the fields where you have to practice to become better. Stack Overflow is the biggest and best community for you if you want to learn how to code. Why? It’s because it has all big and small developers asking and answering each other’s questions.
Everything is on Google. Do you want to learn something? Google it. Google is like, a whole network for any information you’ll ever need in your life.
Open source projects are a great way to build your portfolio too. You can work with people and help improve their codes. Once you get the basics of programming, you can start contributing your service to open source projects.
The sign of a good developer is to think critically and think differently. You need to work efficiently as a developer. Working in teams and putting your hard efforts into your work. This is the real programming that people want.
Is Degree Useless?
No! Degree is not useless. That is because college teaches us not only teach us but it also gives us an environment which grooms our personality. I would not recommend anyone, who’s in college to drop out after reading my article. There are still many reasons to join college.
To be honest, as a developer, I’d say that there is much more than a degree. So, anyone who thinks that getting a degree would do a trick for them, they are just playing themselves. There is nothing such as an Easy way or a Short way. You have to give your best and learn the best. When it comes to learning like a developer, you have to do it by yourself. Do you really need a degree to be a Software Engineer?
No one can teach you how to code until unless you try yourself. So you should teach yourself how to code. Going to college isn’t necessary but it is recommended. This is my point.
Now let’s talk about some of the steps to become a software engineer without having a degree.
Steps to become a Software Engineer without Degree
Whether you want to be a low-level Software engineer or high. As long as you put all of your efforts into learning, nothing else matters. Let’s see, programmers are one of the highest-paid people. So it’s not really a surprise that people would want to go to the best college to learn it.
At least that’s what they think so. Is it really important to throw like, 4 years of your life into a college? Even after that, do you really think that college provides you surety that you’ll get a good job after studying for 4 years? No, it’s not like that. Now let’s talk about some of the steps to become a software engineer without the degree.
1) Have a Clear Goal
Even before choosing your profession, think about for a time that, do you really want to do this? People who want to become full-time engineers should be very motivated. They should be clear about their goals. Whether they really want it or not. Now, a full-time programming job has some restrictions too.
For example, if you are a freelancer, you might not be able to give programming time and you might just destroy your life. Or, let’s say you have a doubt. You are confused about learning programming. I assure you, in that case, programming isn’t for you. If you want to become a graphic designer, programming isn’t for you again. Designing is a whole different field with different applications than Software Engineering.
Some people try to learn to code along with them having to run a business. I then again, assure you that coding isn’t for you. Coding requires full-time attention and time to it. If you want to code, give time, spend money, become better and start your life anew.
No matter how much motivated you shall be if you lie in the same category of persons that i just mentioned. Please stop right now.
2) Starting Programming Language
I have seen students literally sitting worried about which programming language to choose from. Of course, there are many programming languages available in our world. It can be quite confusing to choose to be honest. In the end, they choose some wrong one and regret.
To be honest, you just have to start. When you start your career as a programmer, you have to focus on programming fundamentals rather than actually learning a whole language. So worry not about which programming language to choose from. Focus on learning basic concepts of Programming. Object Oriented Programming is also must have until unless you’re trying to learn python.
Once you know the basic concepts of programming, you will have no difficulty in jumping to different kinds of language. Everything would seem to be natural and easy. The most important thing, in the end, is actually learning. But let me make a recommendation here.
For beginners, I always recommend python. Though it may seem absurd but there’s a reason. Python is innovative, easy and great. It has a very easy syntax. It’s not intimidating to people like some other languages are. And, it’s limitless. Python itself has so much power to be honest. Once you learn concepts on python base, you can easily shift to any other programming language with ease.
3) Practice Again and Again
They say “Practice makes a man perfect“. The only genuine way to become a successful coder is to practice. You have to dedicate time to make something new. Something so innovative that it will change the world. That’s how the technology works. Practicing will only make you better.
Programming isn’t an overnight success. You can’t become a programmer in like, say a day or even a week. It’s like a ladder you got to climb in order to become a programmer. Time, Heart and Dedication is required, You just need to give time, learn stuff with that time. Quality time is really important for a programmer.
Grab a cup of tea and go somewhere silent. It can be either a cafe or your room or maybe the library. These ideal places with serenity will provide you a great environment to study in peace. Though it takes students from 4-8 months to get some programming. But really, it depends upon your dedication and hard work.
4) Read Codes
One way to improve your knowledge is to read other people’s code. You can easily find tons of open source codes written by various people as the internet has all kinds of people on it. By reading code, you can easily tell what’s actually going on. This will improve your skills of understanding and reading.
This is an important skill on your journey of being a programmer. You need to be capable enough to understand just by reading someone’s code that what is going on in their code. This is the type of mental exercise you should do. Being able to find errors just by reading code is really important too. It’s a skill that is often overlooked but it is really respected in the coding industry.
Don’t just read code but do a whole surgery on it. You need to open the code just in your mind and think about what the programmer has done here and there. What this line does and why this is an error. This is the example of a real programmer.
5) Find Helpers
Now, helpers is a vague way to put it. From helpers I mean, community or friends. You need to be able to have a whole community or programmers who can communicate with you from time to time. Finding a friend can help you with your journey of being a software engineer. When you see people just like you, you not only get motivated but also help.
Friends help each other, that’s how this world works. Therefore, having a community of programmers with you doesn’t hurt a bit. This can give you quite a boost as a programmer. You need a group of people who you can rely on whenever you need help from them.
Those friends can even help you in the time of need, and give you a boost in motivation when you’re feeling down and being emotional.
6) Use Professional Tools
Now, I remember working on learning JAVA language. They made us learn on Notepad++ coupled with CMD. I instantly felt pretty weird. That is because, in our industry, things don’t work like that. I recommend you guys to use the professional tools that are being used by people in industry today.
There are several advantages to them. People usually code in online compilers which are slow and very unreliable. But that’s to actually grasp the concepts of programming. But when they actually go into the industry and start using tools, they get so much difficulty in adopting a new environment. They often think of even quitting a job. That’s why it’s recommended to always choose the best tool for your learning experience.
You should actually feel while learning how a real engineer actually builds his stuff. It’s hard to actually learn using these tools too but the internet is full of tutorials for even using certain tools.
7) Make Projects
One of the most common mistakes that newbies in programming do is actually just watching tutorials. They will watch tutorials and will pretend as if they understand everything. But! What’s the point of learning if you haven’t actually made anything yet?
Don’t just sit on the couch all day, make something out of coding. Make cool projects as software developers do. You’ll only increase your knowledge by doing that. You should even start ethical hacking. It’s part of programming too and using hacks you can see deep knowledge of programming. One can learn to program solely based on hacking too.
You can also learn to code by collaborating with people online. By contributing to open-source software, you can learn and improve your knowledge as a great programmer.
8) Master Coding Concepts
When it comes to programming, concepts are the basic building block of it. One has to actually learn concepts to be able to do what he wants. There are tons of concepts in programming and mastering them is not an easy job. You can learn concepts by watching YouTube videos or researching on google. You can also post articles on websites like Quora or Stack Overflow. Developers try their best to answer you in a very short time.
But, concepts always come first. Because it is the basis by which you will be known as programming. For example, Object-Oriented Programming concepts are widely known by programmers. OOP is a really weird yet must subject that they teach in college. But learning always depends upon yourself. So one way to become a software engineer without a degree is to master all the basic concepts than trying to focus on learning a whole programming language.
Let’s close this chapter we opened today with some final words. There are many ways to learn to programme. You can be a programmer without going to college. You have the potential to teach yourself how to code. Focusing on time and dedication is important. So now i have a question to you. Do you need a degree to become a software engineer?
While on the other hand, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to college. I’m just saying that for folks who don’t want to waste that much time, everyone can become a programmer if they put their minds and hearts into it.