Should We Let Degrees Go? For Coding?
One of the biggest questions I get asked is “Do I need a computer science degree for coding since I always see if required on job posts.” This is a very good question and one that I will be answering today.
Out with the old
Computer science degrees and learning to code has changed in the last decade. When I went to UTSA a long time ago, there was java and C++. Nowadays there is python, Swift, C# and so much more. When I went you had to go to the lab to use the powerful machines cause A. the software needed pretty beast machines to run, and B. it wasn’t cheap, I think the software alone even with the education license was like a few hundred dollars. Nowadays, xCode, visual studio, etc etc etc its all free it doesn’t cost anything. The barrier to entry for coding has gone right out the door.
In With The New
With everything going free, like I said before the barrier to entry is completely gone. Coding has become one of those things that anyone can do if they have the willingness to learn. The free resources like codecadmey.com, Swift Playgrounds, code.org, udemey.org, and the countless others it brings me to my next point. Is a degree really required anymore?
Should we let the past die?
Now hear me out, do we really need to include BA or masters degree on the required perks for coding jobs? Nowadays with code camps, certifications, and the countless resources should we let go of even requiring a degree? I have talked to quite a number of people who have hired developers and most of them have said or told me “we look for what they do , not where they went”. Even when I am interviewing a developer I always ask questions about problems and solutions. I look at their github and their own personal website.
When I further discussed what other people who hired coders, and they told me they look into their character as well. Now what does this mean. Well one hiring manager told me “we don’t hire people who don’t share any coding examples” and I countered with the point “if a developer is unemployed they will have a lot to show, now if they are employed they will have nothing.” Well she pointed out to me “Even a new framework or tool of them building whatever. If they post it we look at it” so building anything even if it’s a small prototype should be uploaded.
When is a degree needed you might be asked? For the higher level developer positions, engineers, advanced data scientists or higher level positions. That is where high level math and die hard knowledge will come into play. I don’t know of any higher level positions that doesn’t require an advanced degree.
Do I still need to get an education?
Yes you do, I would highly recommend some type of degree, like an associates or a certification that you have completed and know you have knowledge and built a github of all the examples of ideas you have when it comes to coding. You can’t just say “I have this idea.” Go on and do it and put it into your portfolio. A few of the things that I have put into my github has caught the eyes of a few hiring managers at companies around Austin. It isn’t my best work or just a prototype I built and it has caught people’s eye. Now when it came to an education for myself, I did get an associates in web development and marketing and also I took courses and got certified in film editing cause well youtube was exploding. But that’s a whole other discussion.
In closing if you are pursing a coding career you will need to have some type of backing to show you have made it to where you are. It’s all about showing not telling. I hope this blog has been able to help you cause from what I have been seeing nowadays is that degrees are currently up in the air for developer positions. I know quite a number of very successful developers and designers, who went to school, found it wasn’t for them and decided to find other means to learn. Now if money is your problem then I would suggest a lot of learning on your own it can very well tell companies that you have a passion to pursue and some companies will even pay for you to go to college.