7 answers

Am I required to have a Computer Science degree to become a Software Engineer? Do employers look more on the skill of the person than the degree? Also, do employers look down on people who do not have a Bachelor's Degree?

Updated Washington

I'm a First year Computer Science Major. Also I'm taking a Udacity NanoDegree by Google in Android Development. #computer-science #computer-software #computer #technology #software-engineering #software-development #coding #development #personal-development #career-details #job-application

7 answers

Ian’s Answer

Updated California, California

What Wolf Alpha said is very true, however I would like to add a few things.

  1. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field is less important if you have good experience. Although some doors will still be closed to you, if you have lots of good experience, many employers won't care. The problem is that most good opportunities to get good experience require a bachelor's degree.

  2. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field will teach you useful skills that aren't covered in bootcamps or nano degrees. There is a lot more to being a good software engineer than knowing how to code. This is true for other engineering fields as well. It is still possible to learn these skills if you are very disciplined and know what to look for via MOOCs, but this won't work for most people. In addition, even if you manage to learn the equivalent of a a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, you may have a hard time convincing people of it.

Wolf’s Answer

Updated Orlando, Florida

Aloha Joshua,

That is a great question, I know when it comes to College Degree choices it can get very confusing. There are many sources of advice online discussing options and outcomes. To be completely honest, it really all depends on what field of work you want to reach.

I have taken Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, IT, Cyber Space, and Software Engineering university courses. They all teach you the different aspect of the technology world. It is good to have a working knowledge of all these fields of study if you plan to work as an engineer for any company. All these degrees have different class requirements and at the end will you will have learned different skills. Most of these degrees start to take shape and separate into their own world after your 2nd year of college.

Different jobs have different requirements, when applying for a job it will show exactly what they are looking for.

If a job entails working with engineering design tools, most likely they will require a BS in the according field.

If you apply for an engineering or software development position, but do not have a BS. Most likely the company will consider candidates who do have degrees.

A degree is a simple form of showcasing that you have meet the requirements for that specific degree. It shows that you have the skills and knowledge to potentially be successful in the position.

There are more factors to consider when applying for a job, but over all for high paying jobs a BS/BA is mostly required, just to show that you are college educated and potentially have the skills needed to succeed.

I hope this helps, if you have any further questions, please let me know.

Matt’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts

I would agree with all the comments above as well and add my own experience. I was never a really big school type of person. I learned to code on my own and was very passionate about coding since age 13. I went to college for 2 years and was offered a full time job during my second summer to work as a software engineer after my internship with them. I have been developing for over 30 years and have never gotten my degree.

Now as a person who looks for candidates, a degree may help separate you from someone without one, but an internship and experience can really help you understand what you are looking to do and what excites you. Our interns at Symantec work on real world problems, they don't fetch coffee or pick up dry cleaning, they do real coding and work on some of our production systems. Obviously with a lot of guidance from more experienced engineers, however it does give them a great experience to build upon.

I have never regretted not getting my degree and as someone above said it may close some doors for you, but everyone's path and passion are different. You have to figure out what you like to do and start doing it, and getting paid for doing something you love is awesome!

Kumar’s Answer

Updated Sunnyvale, California

Hi Joshua,

While you are not always required to have a Computer Science degree to be a Software Engineer, some of the courses you take within Computer Science that makes it easier to get into Software Engineering jobs. Knowledge on Data Structures, various algorithm, programming, etc are precursor to becoming a good software engineer.

Employers do look for the skills more than the degree, but for the first job it is mostly the degree that counts. The main reason is it is very difficult for an employer to filter resumes by looking and reading at your school/college projects. So, they are looking for the education you have had and bring you for interview. This however, changes once you have a few years of experience. Once experience is gained, it typically carries more weight than your degree, but it comes in handy when you are deciding between two able candidates, one with degree and one without.

Do employers look down at people who do not have Bachelor Degree? - Typically, there are huge number of applications for a job and recruiters often filter based on the education, and experience. So, degree is probably the first one they filter on for a job that needs no experience. I would definitely encourage you to get a formal degree as that opens up opportunity at both small and large companies.

Oren’s Answer

Updated Redwood City, California

A degree in CS is not required to get a great job in software development. Ability to execute and a proven track record of success is the most important quality. I know and have hired many exceptional computer scientists who do not have formal education or a CS degree.

Milad’s Answer

Updated California, California

A very good question! It depends on the job position. I think most of the job postings for a software engineer role require a degree on computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or something similar; while there are other job postings that require skills and experience and not a degree. With a degree you can show that you have acquired many of the required skills and you may get hired at a higher level.

Frank’s Answer


I agree with my peers. Keep in mind that some fields require it. Consider medical devices. 21 CFR820.25 (a federal law) requires that resources have the EDUCATION, experience, and, training to perform their assigned functions. That being said, my sister in law is an MSFT MVP and SQL Server SME without a degree. So can it be done? Yes. Look at your target market and find out the common requirements there.