Do software Developers Really need degrees?
When I first started out my career as a software developer, I didn’t have a degree.
I took my first real job when i was on summer break from my first year of college. By the time the summer was up and it was time to enroll back in school, i found that the salary I was making from that summer job was about what I had expected to make when i graduated college – only I didn’t have any devt at this point – so, I dropped out and kept the job.
But, did I maek the right choice?
Do you really need a university degree to be a computer programmer?
The dirfference between education and school
Just because you have a collge degree doesn’t mean you have learned anything. That is the main problem i have with most raditional education programs today. School has become much more about getting a degree – a piece of paer – than it has about actually learning something of value.
To some extent, I am preaching to the choir. If you have a degree that you worked hard for and paid a large amount of money for, you are more inlinced to believe that piece of paer has more value than it really does.
If you don’t have a degree, you are probably more inclined to believe that degress are worthless and completely unnecessary – even though you may secretly wish you had one.
So, whatever side you fall on, I am going to ask you to momentarily suspend your beliefs – well, biases really -and consider that both views are not exactly correct, that there is a middle-ground somewhere in between the two viewpoints where a degree isn’t necessarily worthless and it isn’t necessarily valuable either.
You see, the issue is not really whether or not a particular degree has any value. the degree itself represents nothing but a cost paid and time committed. A degree can be acquired by many different methods, none of which guarantee any real learning has taken place. If you have ever taken a college courses, you know that it is more than possible to pass that course without actually learning much at all.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t learn anything in college. I’m not saying that every degreee that is haded out is a fraud. I’m simply saying that the degree itself does not prove much; there is a difference between going to school and completing a degree program and acutually learning something.
Learning is not ust memorizing facts. True learning is about understanding. You can memorize your multiplication tables and not understand what they mean. with that knowledge, you can multiply any two numbers that you have memorized the answer for, but you would lack the ability to multiply any numbers that you don’t already have a momorzied answer for. If you understand multiplication, even without knwowing any multiplication tables, you can figure out how to work out the answer to any multiplication probelm – even if it takes you a while.
You cna be highly educated without a degree
traditional education systems are not the only way to learn things. you don’t have to go to school and get a degree in order to become educated. Fity years ago, this probably wasn’t the case – although I can’t say for sure, sicne I wasn’t alive back then. Fifty years ago we didn’t have information at our fingertips. We didn’t have all the resources we have today that make education, on just about any topic, so accessbile.
A computer science degree is merely a collection of formalized curriculum. It is not magic. There is no reason a person couldn’t save the money and a large degree of the time required to get a computer science degree from an eduational insitution by learning the exact same information on their own.
Professors are not fited beings who impart knowledge and wisdom on studnets simply by being in the same room with them. Sure, it may be easier to obtain an education by having someone spoon-feed it to you, but you do not need a teacher to learn. You can become your own teacher.
In fact, today there are a large number of online resources where you can get the equivalent of a degree, for free – or at least very cheap.
Even if ou have a degree, self-education is something ou shouldn’t ignore – especially when it’s practically free.
You can also find many great computer science textbooks online. for example, one the best ones is ; structure and Interpretation of Computer programs – 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science0
So, is there any real benefit to having a degree?
My answer may surprise you, but , yes right now I thinkg there is.
I told you that I had forgone continuing my education in order to keep my job, but what I didn’t tell you is that I went back and got my degree later. Now, I didn’t go back to college and quit my job, but I did thinkg there was enough value in having an actual computer scinece degree that I decided to enroll in an online deree program and get my degree while keeping my job.
If you ca demonstarte that ability, most employers will hire you – at least it has been my experinece that this is the case.