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Vinicius Brasil
Vinicius Brasil

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In your environment, does a college degree matter?

Skills, not degrees. (Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn)

In Brazil, I can see a lot of companies changing their mindsets about hiring only people who have a college degree. With the ascension of online learning, and well known educational organizations, like Udacity, some companies are valuing more the skills than the degrees.

Unfortunately here in Brazil, although some companies are changing, this is a distant reality.

In your environment, does a college degree matter?

Top comments (19)

delusioninabox profile image
Laura Kajpust • Edited

US here, and skills are considerably more valuable than a degree. If you can do the work, it shouldn't matter where or how you learned it. While I have a degree, it's not in anything related to computer science. My degree was in fine art! But I taught myself how to code through online resources and was able to change careers. I am grateful that things have shifted this way, too. I would have never been able to afford getting another degree, nor been able to take weeks off work for a bootcamp. For that reason, I think valuing skills over a degree is a great thing. It allows a lot more opportunities to people who want to change careers and/or can't afford to go a full college tuition in the first place.

alejandroav profile image
Alejandro Alarcón

Here in Spain, most companies ask for a degree, but not necessarily a college degree. We have different levels of education and training, some of which don't require college tuition. For example, what we call "Professional Formation" offers 2-year software development courses and are very accessible.

sduduzog profile image

South Africa here, I got into university for teaching but due to issues with enrollment in that stream I switched to computer science. It sounded fancy and I had no idea what it was. I've been sharpening my skills ever since but I'm struggling with finishing my degree. I was helping people ahead of me with their final year projects as a first year student, I've even hosted free programming classes for anyone interested, I tutored IT at a high school on a contractual agreement but still with all the skills I have I can't find job offers that don't require a degree.

A degree here is a footstep in the door, I can't get in anywhere I want unless I start my own company or startup.

soulfiremage profile image
Richard Griffiths

My bias is I'm total self taught, left school at 16 and can't see why I'd spend 5 figures or more to study for a piece of paper and a mountain of crippling debt.

My environment? Wouldn't even come up. What came up was could I discuss past projects and offer meaningful commentary on a current one. Could I pick apart a complicated project and work on it. Could I learn?

Three years later, my boss still waiting to find out!

More seriously, anything a uni can teach me, if I need it, I have the books. Real books too.

Specific principles behind particular algorithms, or a nice complicated one on knowledge based configuration and so on I can look up and learn, if and when I need them..

The online courses are great for helping you learn what you didnt know that you didn't know. If you don't do a degree, it's worth having some idea of the topics involved, then assess their relevance to the work you want to do.

So my bias still is, I'd treat a degree candidate the same as a non degree candidate. What can they do now, how well can they think and adapt, are they good at Google and book Fu?

And I'd bias it towards the individual I can work with. Just like my employer did.

michiels profile image
Michiel Sikkes

In The Netherlands, skills are definitely more important. It is a fact however, that more bigger corporations have put value on degrees. However a degree in that case is more used to gauge the intelligent level of the candidate. It’s not nessesarily always a requirement in software dev world.

atyborska93 profile image
Angelika Tyborska

I have worked for two small companies in Berlin, Germany, so far.

Nobody cared about degrees so far. The three best senior developers I have met in those companies had, in order: 1. no degree, 2. studied computer science and quit, 3. studied law.

I personally was never asked about my higher education during by anyone (I studied sound engineering and quit, and computer science and quit).

There is only one exception: my current company has a need for image recognition specialists, for that position higher education is important.

d1p profile image
Debashis Dip

Very much, In Bangladesh, it's a requirement for most of the companies to have at least a Bs.c on computer science/software engineering and then some.

yo profile image

In India, all companies are giving equal priority to both skills and the college degree

antoine_m profile image
Antoine Mesnil

France here. Due to high demand for developers things tends to change, some companies recruit solely based on skills (especially small ones / startup) but a degree is still a big plus.
New formations / bootcamps of 2-6 months are becoming popular and sometimes give degrees,it works pretty well.

gabemot profile image
Gabe Mot

Romania: a faculty/college degree is not necessarily needed to get a tech job in the IT industry, because most if not all companies focus on your skill set during recruiting rather then (just) a college degree. Having a college degree helps though, because here owning a degree in a tech area (Computer Science, Automation, Electronics, Telecommunication, etc.) will make you eligible for the local "Tax exemption for IT employees", which spares IT workers the 16% income tax. This helps both the employee and employer also, by reducing the overall employee cost for the employer, thus allowing companies to more easily pay higher wages to developers who own a tech degree.

danivijay profile image
Dani Vijay • Edited

Agree @YogiCodes. In India, many tech companies requires a college degree, but even without one it is possible to land on a good programming job. Number of options will increase considerably if you got a college degree at your disposal.

ggallynn profile image
lynn • Edited

Does it matter? Absolutely not. Some of the best programmers I've met (including my father, who is my #1 inspiration and mentor) have never even come near a formal education pertaining to computer science. However, for me personally, university education was absolutely necessary. It forced me to wrap my head around concepts I would otherwise have been too afraid to even go near. Again, I want to emphasize this was the case for me - obviously not everyone needs university to learn complex subjects. On the other hand, I have met programmers with no university degree that have never bothered to learn some basic programming concepts, such as OOP design or algorithm complexity. I have had a difficult time being productive and writing good code with such developers. I can't help but think they would have benefited greatly from a university degree, but I understand that is not necessarily an option for everyone. I guess the moral of the story is, it's not about whether or not you have a university degree, it's about the work you put in!

If I could go back in time, would I still pursue a university degree? Absolutely. Yes, the debt sucks, but thankfully my programming gigs pay for that!

fnh profile image
Fabian Holzer • Edited

At my company (in Germany), there is at least a strong bias towards some formal education. That would roughly translate to university degree, but for most positions an apprenticeship in the IT sector would also be sufficient.

The apprenticeships are paid programs where you are an employee of a company, but part of your work time is spent in vocational school, and the rest is spent hands-on working in your company. They usually last for three years, but can be shortened, usually dependent on your secondary education.

Self-taught (often: domain expert become programmer) is not unheard of, but it's becoming less common. Coding bootcamps are not - or at least: not yet - a mass phenomenon. I think most larger companies would have a little trouble to intergrate those into their rather conservative recruiting mindset...

ijsucceed profile image
Jeremy Ikwuje

Here in Nigeria, it depends on the kind of Job you are looking for. And also where.

For a programing Job, private companies might take you without a college degree, provided you can help their business.

But most government jobs demand you have a higher certification.

vyasriday profile image
Hridayesh Sharma

India here, many companies require a college degree but there are some where college degree doesn't matter specially in startups.