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Discussion on: Can you become a successful software developer without a CS degree? My opinion

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cseder profile image
Chris Sederqvist

Like I said in another answer, I don't think there is any correlation between the two.
You can drop out of high school and become a brilliant programmer, earning more than you can spend if you're creative, have awesome ideas and a fair share of good luck and timing.

But it would be very hard to be self taught if what you want to do is more computer science related, like artificial intelligence and everything under that large umbrella term.
I'm not saying it isn't possible, but there are a lot of pretty advanced math, that I personally would never be able to learn without a schedule, a great teacher / professor, class-room kinda setup with assignments and all the bad stuff.
Math is learned via repetition to begin with, until you develop a sense of intuitive understanding, and doing this on your own for advanced math in addition to learning everything else needed, like programming language(s), methodologies, best practices for various technologies like databases, developing and using APIs, efficient algorithms, various patterns if you will and the list goes on and on.
This sounds like a heck of a lot to do on your own.

But a great developer, coder, hacker if you like, sure, absolutely possible without math or a CS education. But not the computer science kinda engineer that many out there believes are all about learning some framework. It is not.

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anfibiacreativa profile image
Natalia Venditto Author • Edited

I think Chris we are saying the same, with different words. Through my article, I emphasise the need for hard work, whether you have the degree or not.

So we agree here that it is very difficult, yet not impossible.

I think we can even agree that holding a CS degree does not make an engineer a brilliant, successful engineer, either.

One thing that I certainly disagree with you in, if I correctly interpreted you, is that a self-taught/experienced developer does not care for scalability, best practices, and lifecycle of the software. That people stay "just a coder" after many developing software. I think you're completely dismissing the knowledge a professional acquires through experience and practice.

The gaps in the foundation can be (and usually are) covered and the hands-on experience is invaluable.

But again, it is just one opinion. I don't think this healthy debate is about trying to make others think like you or me. It is about exchanging point of views. The industry will continue to benefit from diversity in backgrounds. And everyone can add value.

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cseder profile image
Chris Sederqvist

If you think that is what I'm saying, then yes, you've misunderstood my actual message here.

I say that the mentioned practices can only be acquired through exactly what you say, experience.
Nobody can learn all different practices by themselves or through any school that I know of.
My point was also that, yes, you can be a brilliant developer without any CS degree, but if you're aiming for a more computer science related role, involving AI and the likes, you'll certainly have a hard time learning all the math, the actual programming, plus the various topics that one can only get from having experience from more than one company and for a significant amount of time.

In conclusion, yes, I also believe we're saying a lot of the same here, using different words and contexts.
Sorry for any misunderstanding caused by me not being clear enough, and for getting a bit on the "hot" side at times...

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anfibiacreativa profile image
Natalia Venditto Author

Thanks for clarifying! I had gotten you wrong! Have a great day!

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