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Is it possible to work full-time as a programmer without a college degree?

Basically If you have plenty of experience but not a degree, can you still work as a programmer? #programming #computing


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Matthew’s Answer

You can, but it will depend on what languages you are proficient in and which industries / type of company you want to work for.


To begin with, you can look at freelance sites and hone your skills as well as build a portfolio of work. It may then be easier to gain notice with startups and smaller companies and get hired.


Thank you for your response! Logan P.

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Michael’s Answer

If you're really good, companies will generally accept you. In saying that, I think it's worth getting a college degree before going into full-time work.


What is defined as REALLY good? Logan P.

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Tiffany’s Answer

Yes, it's possible. You will likely have a lot of trouble getting a job without an impressive portfolio, though. Depending on what type of programming work you'd like to do, you'd need to build up a portfolio of items/applications you've worked on yourself that prove a great working knowledge of the systems and languages you use.


A degree is helpful in that is shows an employer that you have a certain level of experience and knowledge. Without it you're left to prove that you have that knowledge on your own. Also, keep in mind that many programming positions do state in the job posting that they require a 4-year degree, but not all do.


The great thing about becoming a programmer, though, is that most of these jobs are well-paid and abundant. If you did decide to get a degree, the return on investment is almost guaranteed to be outstanding.


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Jyothidhar’s Answer

Yes, you dont need a college degree. As others have mentioned finding a job might be harder but you can overcome that by building stuff as a hobby/side project that you can showcase.


You can show case your skills on github with code, mobile phone apps launched on app store, build and host websites, build and host services through open/paid API's.


Also you can do freelance stuff to gain some credibility and experience.


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Aditya’s Answer

Yes, you certainly can. What companies generally care about is the skill set and not the degree. However, the difficult part is being considered for a position. To get noticed, you should work on some side project which can be made available for the outside world or work on some freelance work as suggested by Matthew. This will not only help you gain some experience but also make you more visible in the job market


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Peter’s Answer

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This is a powerful question, one that has some debate around the overall question "Is a college degree needed in the IT field?". For me, to answer this question, I'll look inward to my own career path. A quick look at my LinkedIn Profile will reveal I've been a programer/web developer for 9+ years before getting into IT management.


The answer to your question is "Yes! But..."


You must have the following skills:
Drive
Self-Starter (ability to learn on your own)
Strong Work Ethic
Passion
Integrity
Resilient (being ok with failure)
Hunger for Learning


You can most definitely get good paying programming positions without a college degree, but the expectation needs to be set that it's not without a lot of hard work, determination, time, and a little luck. In my opinion, and from experience, the best way to break into the IT industry in through entry level opportunities. In fact, the best way to learn how to program is by fixing bugs, either working in QA or on a Support Desk. This allows you to view code already written by experienced developers and will help to sharpen your lens when it comes to writing code.


Another sage piece of advice is to understand that programming and technology are in a constant state of change. You can not become complacent with these areas, ever. Never stop learning. This is a problem that even people with college degrees fall into. They get out of college and think they know everything until they realize that college level studies are even a few years behind.


Find projects of a personal nature and teach yourself how to learn a language. Code Academy is also a great place to learn. Understand that programing logic transcends syntax languages. Understanding program logic and flow is universal and if you can figure out to develop a process in plain english, then finding out how to code that in a specific language becomes as simple as Googling for syntax. In my interviews, one of things I do is provide candidates with a problem that I want them to solve using code, and I judge them based on their ability to use Google.


All of that said, a word of caution. Do not take my advice as reason for not going to college. If you are capable and can financially afford college, you should definitely go before getting into the workforce. Otherwise it is much harder to complete as time becomes a scarce commodity. For me personally, to go to college was a choice between being homeless and finishing college, and not being homeless and joining the workforce. Your milage may vary!


Good Luck!


Hey Peter, just wanted to say this is a great answer! Ian Cummings

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Donny’s Answer

Absolutely possible. Many good programmers are self-taught. University and colleague only teach you the methodologies, theories, and to some extents of code writing. You need to first decide what programming language you will start with and do practice and practice until you get to some fluency and confidence. Most programming languages have the same concept, the difference are syntax and structure. Write bigger program and debug the error, and plenty of online resources available to ask questions, for example, stackoverflow.com.


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Lyn’s Answer

Check out an organization called Code.org. I think you will find it interesting and informative.


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Santosh’s Answer

Companies do take people who do not have degrees, however every company or corporates do have their protocol or principle to hire people with minimum degree, for them to consider for a role and for us to move above the ladder in future.


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