(context: I'm from Germany)

The interview was going well, their developer and I had good talks about their stack and projects, I thought I was making a good impression.

Then the HR guy had some Qs. He went through my CV, wanted to know why I left company X and what I did at company Y. He seemed quite impressed with the work experience I already had (the job I was applying for was an entry level position).

For education I had an entry at a university. "courses in computer science". He asked:

"And you finished the Bachelor's degree, right?"

Me, "well, no. I stopped after about 2 semesters. I'm a self-taught developer, all my skills..."

HR guy interrupts

"So, no bachelor's degree?"

"No, but I figured out that I am a much better learner outside of university and that I don't want to go into research."

"Thank you for coming in, we'll get back to you soon."


As a conclusion: I learned that german companies are still very traditional and search for employees with degrees. They don't understand how you'd know stuff if you don't have a degree.

Good thing: we also have international companies, which are happy to welcome enthusiastic and self-taught developers.

  • 35
    Not all companies. There are plenty of companies that don't care, mostly smaller companies with less than 100 employees.
  • 2
    @electronix you in Berlin? :-P
  • 2
    I'm gonna go your route as well. Hopefully I will get the B.o.Sc. .
    @mBeierl Just curious but why did you quit if itvwasn't for your programming skills and technical knowledge?
  • 6
    @LinusCDE I was already working while I started university and as I wrote, I'm a much better self-taught learner.

    But please don't take me as an example and do the Bachelor's degree. You'll have it easier with it.
  • 4
    @AlexDeLarge hmmm maybe I should go freelance then? ;-)
  • 4
    @mBeierl That is fully understandable. I'm a self-taught programmer, too.
    Even though I have some decent experience with Linux as well as servers and desktop systems, I already know that I'll gain the opinion to learn much more (which you probably had in your job).
  • 1
    I want to live in Berlin
  • 15
    I guess my opinion is not that popular but in my experience most self taught programmers lack some background in algorithms, data structures and theoretical computer science. I agree that these skills are not necessarily needed on a daily basis, but sometimes it's good to have them.
    However it also depends on the position you're applying for. If there is a good CTO or software architect in the company it can work well with some people who can code but lack the theoretical knowledge.
  • 10
    Even if you have a bachelors degree like I do, then it's: "no masters degree? Oh... Bye".
  • 7
    Additional comment:
    I also met some people with master's degree who cannot code one single line without help...

    You always need the right people for the right job.
  • 7
    In Slovakia this happens a lot, like A LOT
    The thing I tell my friends or other people, when they tell me about this is: Be glad they rejected you, I bet you don't want to work with idiots like this.
  • 1
    I got a job without a degree, they prefer people with degrees at my job. But because I had some good previous work and knew my shit, I was given a 6 month internship with full-time contract after the internship, on one condition, that I actually knew my shit
  • 2
    @Bitwise I've seen this as well, but I've also seen the opposite.
    I have an AP in Software development and soon a BA in Software Development as well. I'm going to attend the masters programme in about a year, and I'm quite confident in my skills so far.
    So not everyone with a master's have the same background and some even knows how to program when they get their degree
  • 2
    This type of companies in Germany/Globally is wasted time anyways. In my expirience a big chunk of BA or MA developers tend to overconplicate things and perform badly as teammates. For example, one particular case did not know what reflection was and did call it a bastardization of principals without even bothering to check for usecases. Another one did not know why his int casted to a float added numbers to the decimals and called the language stupid, if he just would have know about IEEE 754....

    And the sad thing about all this I only know 1 good german webdev that actually knows how to write efficent and sematic correctly and well performing code. And that dude works at slack
  • 3
    Wow, thanks for all the comments. Seems to be a hot topic.

    I want to stress that this was only at one particular interview at a big, old and traditional company from Germany.

    My point is that it shouldn't matter whether you have a degree or not, when applying for a position that either could execute. People with degrees just prove to be able to execute it with their degree and people without degree prove it with their past work.
  • 2
    Yes and no people without degree does not know how to manage or build big architectures and algorithms and because machine learning and ai is coming which is math mostly without degree hard to understand those integrals and integrate functions.. i would say it is jobs without degree and jobs with degree companies just mixing everything that is why it us bad for both types
  • 1
    Welcome to the reality ! Most companies even MNC's do the same :/
  • 4
    @rim01 nah, you don’t need a degree to do any of that, might be helpful, but if you want to learn it, you’ll learn it
  • 1
    @mBeierl can you tell us which company that was or is name-dropping not allowed here? I'll be looking for a new job in Berlin in a few months and I want to avoid companies like that.
  • 2
    Actually I don't think not having a degree is the problem here. It's rather that you started at university and did not finish. Being able to finish things is very important in programming.
  • 1
    @kojote it is never to late I am doing my masters after 7 years break.
  • 1
    @nhll it wasn't in Berlin
  • 2
    Got a M.Sc. degree and it says nothing about how good I am at programming. Company's don't even look at the courses or the marks I get. That's not what they tell you in the university :D
  • 1
    Yeah it sucks, getting my shitty bachelor's degree in about a year and a half just so my parents can hang it on the wall. Other than that I don't have an use for it, my ego ain't that big.
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