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IT Degree Necessary?

github logo Updated on ・1 min read

I just found that many developers do not have IT-related degree but finally work as a developer.

Declare: I do not have IT-related bachelor degree. I have been working as developer for a several years. Yes. I got a IT-related Master Degree during work.

I just wonder if IT-related degree is necessary for Programmer or Developer. I just wonder IT is a professional industry.

Thanks so much for all comment. I may try to conclude the comments in this post.

Not a must but a path

*under construction *

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I would say no, more and more.

IT is very scattered and non-linear in nature. It's never lent itself well to strict degree requirements. Of course that can help, but there are definitely tradeoffs for each path and none are "necessary".

 

Thanks for your definite answer. Do you think IT is a professional?

 

Hmm I'm not sure I fully understand the question.

 

Big no from me.

My two cents on this: If you've got a scholarship, or somebody (parents/etc) is otherwise paying for you university bill, then absolutely go. There is this intangible benefit from going to university and if you can get some time in school free/cheap then by all means go.

but if you're looking at a private school in excess of $25,000/semester (Like I stupidly did...) just don't.

Get a job, (IT help desk is a great entry point, if you can find a paid software developer intern position even better, but don't be too good to flip burgers) and spend your off time in online tutorials and building things. Then after 6ish months of this, just start applying for jobs.

Get a resume, get a portfolio (doesn't have to be super glam, github should work fine), get on linked in, and here's the important bit: When job postings say bachelors degree or equivalent, ignore it I'm going to repeat that feel free to ignore anything in a job posting that says it's a requirement

I have been upfront in every interview I have ever been in that I do not have a degree, and I have been working as a full time developer for almost a decade.

Don't get discouraged, keep applying, follow companies you apply at on twitter and linked in. Go to meetups, conventions if you can, but most importantly keep building things and showing the internet what you've built. This industry is starved for skilled people and you will get noticed.

 

I totally agree with you. But if not change, I may be just a common developer which only help company to build or maintain their enterprise application or solution or system.

I do not think I can show people my awesome things I have built. But I still want to try and try again.

I just wonder if there are any certificate or something which would help me.

 

Having an IT degree has the following consequences:

  • You'll start making money later than others.

That's it.

 

Without a degree, how could you find a job? How to prepare you with basic knowledge or convince someone to give you a chance to study how to build a system from scratch

 

Employers want employees who know what they are doing. You don't get actual experience by studying.

Yes. I agree. But, After 6-year full time working as developer, I just find that soft skill may be more important than technical skill as IT is just a stuff of people.

Maybe a certificate would be just a something to show them or just a entrance ticket. I do not know if this certificate would help make people feel safe with you.

As you know, most people could not build awesome things which make your boss feel safe to hire you.

 

I just wonder IT is a professional industry.

I might be missing the context of this question, but I would answer Yes. Tech jobs often do not require the same amount of academic rigor that, say, Physicist jobs do. But I don't equate academic rigor with being a professional.

 

Thanks. But I would like to ask how you define professional.

 

A professional is someone who earns a living by doing a specific kind of work. That one time I paid cousin Joe Bob to get my car working does not make him a professional mechanic. But he is a professional mechanic if he earns his living by repairing cars.

Since English is the ultimate spaghetti code, "professional" also has another meaning. When referring to how one acts -- "being professional" -- it means to put aside personal concerns in order to get the work accomplished.

 

I would say that it depends.

First of all, where are you located? In some countries education is cheap or free. In others, you will end up college owing a lot of money to the bank. Is it worth it?

Also, do you consider yourself a traveller? A degree will open the doors straight away to a Visa in most of the countries that are worth visiting. You can usually get a Visa without degree, but usually they ask for 10 years experience instead.

As for progressing in your career, it depends. Some companies will just throw your CV if they don't see a degree on it. Those are the kinds of companies where HR, and not team members are in charge of recruiting. But those companies are probably not the kind of companies you want to work for.

The only problem of not having a degree is that there's quite a lot of knowledge that you will have to aquire by yourself, but it's all there in books and in the Internet.

By the way:

I just wonder IT is a professional industry.

Programing is a craft that takes decades to master. Most of us are writers of code, not scientists.

 

I have 2 degrees, a BA and MBA, but not a IT/CS degree. I changed careers about 6 years after I had graduated. When I earned those degrees, most computing courses in college was about COBOL and Fortran and done on punch cards. A CS degree earned back then would be just about as useful today as the political science course I took about the Soviet Union.

In the US job market, an technical degree is essential for non-US citizens wanting to work here under the H1B visa program and probably some other programs as well. For US citizens, it doesn't matter so much with most, but not all, employers. Some like to see a college degree but don't care so much about the major. Others just want to see a proven track record. One exception would be the big tech companies who want to not only see a technical degree but it needs to be from one of the top 10 universities for that type of degree (MIT, Stanford, etc).

 

This is for anyone that might be on edge about going or not going to university, not necessarily for the OP.

Is it necessary? Of course not.
Is it easier to get a job having one? Depends on you.
Will it help you in your career? Depends on you.

I'll start with this: Being a good developer means being very specialized in one area and knowing a little bit from all other areas.

The bad:

  • You won't be able to specialize at university
  • The pace at which information is presented is slow
  • There is a high risk that the information is already obsolete
  • There is going to be a lot of irrelevant (to your career) homework that you will have to do (ex: UML Diagrams, redefining already existing data types (lists, dictionaries with collisions, etc.))

The good:

  • Social skills++
  • Teamwork skills++ (although, depends on the school)
  • Having a broader view of IT as a whole (I would have never known about networking and how IPs were generated if it weren't for the degree or compilers or assembly)
  • Meeting other people (they might help you in the future)

As much as I don't recommend getting a degree I have to admit, it helped me quite a bit. But, for it to help you, you will have to work harder than most other students, being fully involved in all the decent courses. If you go to university to just get the degree while barely passing every course just don't. It will be a sure waste of time.

 

I'd say it depends. For example, I am nowhere near any city with a reputation for having any major tech companies. I have no access to mentors who could help me learn more code, with the notable exception of dev.to. I live in an area where women are generally regarded as baby factories and house-cleaners who require men to control them. When I mention that I can code to the locals, they tend to look confused, and a few have asked if I mean that I do crossword and find-a-word puzzles.

I've tried looking for a job in tech since shortly after finishing my time in the military, but the fact that I am a self-taught woman with no degree, no experience working for any major tech companies (Google, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.), no mentor to vouch for me, and I have not attended any code camps or participated in any company sponsored hack-a-thons has left me with the same answer every time. We're sorry, we were looking for someone with more education or experience.

The experience may very well be different if I lived in the right location or had the right contacts, but I honestly can't say whether or not I'd get hired even then. Until the situation changes, I'm most likely going to just keep working on my own solo projects. After all, if 15+ years of job searching hasn't gotten me anywhere but stocking shelves and scrubbing toilets, I'm quite possibly the only person willing to give me a chance to create, well, anything with code.

I'd say not having a degree has been my greatest barrier to finding a job, with my location, my lack of a mentor, and my gender coming in as close second, third, and fourth barriers.

 

There's no single answer for this because it may depend on where you are. In some countries having a degree to work as a developer might be a requirement, for others won't. For what I've seen, the trend is not caring a lot about that, because they posses other tools to asses experience and knowledge, which ultimately is what they care about.

 

You need IT Degree as much as you need high school. It doesn't matter you will never use 95% of things you learn but like other aspects of the life. You won't need history in your daily work but shouldn't you know about history?

 

The question was whether or not a degree is needed, not whether or not you need to understand the subject. Understanding the subject matter is a given; whether or not it is necessary to have a piece of paper from a college or university verifying that you made passing grades in that subject and paid your tuition is the question.

In other words, do you need to pay for a full formal education in IT to get a job or will an informal education (self-taught, mentorships, code camps, etc.) suffice?

 

I don't have a degree and have been developing for 4 years in the UK. In fact, I actually got less-than-ideal A-Level results (APs/SAT II equivalent I believe). Currently, by the time you finish a degree a lot of it will be out of date. I feel I am probably lacking in computational theory and would like to learn some but it so rarely, if ever, comes up in my job that £30,000 of debt wasn't quite worth it. It also depends where you go to school. In the UK your degree will pretty much just be computing based, whereas in the US you'll have a more rounded education.

Although, I assume the same rules don't apply to data scientists/engineers since the statistics knowledge you require is generally university level?

The IT industry can't be umbrella-ed into a professional or other industry though. Generally I define professions as being paid a salary for your skills vs occupations which are hourly-waged jobs.

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