One of my blog readers emailed me the question below about the feasibility of changing careers to computer programming in Malaysia.
I am 34 years old, currently working as an electronic technician and am thinking of a career change and take up programming as a career.
I am interested to know if you have come across anyone like in my situation from Malaysia who has done your course and managed to get a job as a computer programmer?
I ask because the conditions in Malaysia is somewhat different as in the need for a degree, for example. So, it would be refreshing to know of a proven case for me to bear in mind when making the crucial decision to get myself to really go for it.
Thank you. Kind regards,
- Is A Computer Science Degree, a Legal Requirement? I’m aware that programmers who have degrees are sometimes preferred to those who don’t at job interviews. Notice that I use the word preferred. However the question to ask yourself is this: “Am I legally required to have a computer programming degree from a college or university?”
The answer to this question in many cases is NO. No because in most countries that I know of, you are not legally required to have a computer programming degree from a college or university. Let’s examine my claim more closely. If you want to become a lawyer or medical doctor, in most countries you need to have degree from a university or college.
So, you will be doing something illegal if you present yourself as a medical doctor or a lawyer without having the college or university degree to back it up. However, with computer programming, the preference is not a legal requirement. This means that you can present yourself as a computer programmer without having a computer science degree.
So, this is what I urge you or any of my readers to do. If you are really serious about changing careers to computer programming, take advantage of the opportunity to do so now because the entry requirements and barrier to beginning a career in computer programming is quite low.
The mechanics of how to master computer programming and begin a professional computer programming career is what I teach in my book: “the street smart guide to computer programming careers“.
- What Are Employers Looking For? Yes, there are many job postings that list a computer science degree as a requirement. However, in most of these cases, the computer programming degree requirement applies to full-time computer programmer job postings and not to contract programmer positions.
This is because the contract programming market works differently from the full-time employment market. For contract programmers, the important requirement is to have strong industry experience and the technical skills for the job and simply present your resume. It’s far better to focus on developing the technical skills required to master programming than on the degree requirements because employers would often hire programmers who have the required programming skills without a college degree.
- Focus on Outsourcing And Increase Your Employment Options: You cannot focus on your local employment market in Malaysia alone because you limit your options by doing so. Whatever country you live in (Singapore, Japan, South Korea, South Africa), you have access to the internet and to a global supply of computer programming jobs. This means that even though you live in Malaysia or Kenya, you can bid for programming projects originating in US, UK, Canada, etc.
Often these projects pay more than those originating in your own country. So, if you decide not to become a computer programmer because of the employment conditions in your country, you lose the option of working on better paying programming projects posted by more open minded employers on the internet. These software development projects do not require a computer science degree and are posted by employers in the US, UK, Canada, etc. for computer programmers living anywhere to participate in.
Edward, I have given you 3 good reasons why you should begin your professional computer programming career today without hesitation. Please let me know if I can answer any other question or comment that you may have.
Finally, If you are considering changing careers to computer programming, begin by reading the definitive book on how to master computer programming easily and get hired for a programming job fast.