If the possibility of spending 4 or more years in college studying computer science is remote for you then breaking the degree barrier or knowing how to get a software developer job without a college degree will be helpful to you. So here is how to begin a computer programming career when college just isn’t an option.
While it may be easier to find a programming job with a college degree in computer science, a large percentage of computer programmers either don’t have a degree in computer science, or a college degree at all. The secret to success is to gain technical skills and real-world experience that makes you as good or even better than someone who only has a computer science degree.
What Are Employers Looking For?
At the end of the day, employers are looking for raw programming talent and skills when it comes to software developer positions. You must get these skills through formal computer science college education or get them on your own through personal development and self-education. As long as you can demonstrate that you’ve mastered the programming skills you listed on your resume … even if you gained them by self-learning or self-taught means, you will get the job you are looking for.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 33% of all computer programmers in the US do not have a college degree; the key to their entry into the software development industry is their personal knowledge and programing skills and not college accreditation.
Will Certification Improve My Chances Of Getting A Job?
An alternative to a computer science degree is to get certified which helps to demonstrate your depth of knowledge in a given platform, technology or language. According to CertMag.com some of the top certifications for programmers include:
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform (SCJP)
Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)
Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD)
SAP Certified Technical Consultant
Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
And there are a lot more. Many employers consider certification as being as important as a college degree when it comes to proving your programming skills. For a lot of companies, the general computer science skills provided by a college education are not enough and you must show that you have programming skills in specific technologies rendering a college degree irrelevant.
According to a study by Fairfield Research, computer programmers and IT professionals with relevant and current certifications typically earn $2,000/yr. to $5,000/yr. more than others without certification, even if they’re doing the same work. And as the level and number of certifications increases, so does the pay level, often on an exponential rather that linear basis.
Experience Is King
The great thing about computer programming is that you can gain real-world relevant experience without having a job. Unless your chosen industry involves working with platforms that are hard to access at home such as mainframes or satellites, you will be able to find ways to gain experience in your field before landing your first job.
How to get a job without a college degree
The thing to emphasize when going for a job is your software development knowledge and programming skills, and any relevant experience you’ve gained while preparing for your first job. If you don’t have a degree, play to your strengths and emphasize the knowledge you do have, along with other programming skills, training or experience. Make sure your employer knows that while you don’t have a computer science degree, you have the software development knowledge and practical programming skills needed to get the job done. Chances are, other members of the team don’t have degrees either!
Your first programming job is unlikely to be glamorous or make you wealthy. But it will likely pay a lot better than other entry-level professions. The truth is software development is very much performance-based when it comes to pay and advancement. If you have the relevant programmer skills and you’re effective at your job, the manner in which you obtained those programming skills will become less and less important.
So, Where Does This Leave You?
What it boils down to is that programming skills and real-world experience is more valuable than computer science degrees and diplomas. If you have the practical programming knowledge and experience, you’ll find companies willing to hire you easily.
Keep in mind is that the software developer industry is still in transition and is a long way of from maturing. If you don’t have a degree in computer science, you’re still in some pretty good company:
Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft
Larry Ellison – founder and original developer of Oracle
Steve Jobs – founder of Apple
Steve Wozniak – co-founder and original developer of the Apple/Apple OS
Looking at the list above, you might say to yourself, “yeah right, all of these guys got into the business early, and that’s why they were successful“. But, while timing certainly played a part in their success, remember this: computers had been around a long time before these guys came on the scene, they just took advantage of the opportunity .
What really made these entrepreneurs successful was that they stayed young in their thinking and kept an open mind even in the face of sceptics.
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The opportunity presented by my book is incredible, the rewards are real and tangible … and the results come surprisingly fast. But the ball is in your court. Stop doubting and procastinating. Take action now. Order a copy of the book and discover how you can easily master computer programming and become the best programmer you are capable of being.