i’ve always felt that this is possibly one of the few professions in which holding a degree is almost as if it’s a personal preference because you can do just fine without one as well. having a skillset and experience, along with something tangible to show for it should be enough to make you employable. and while a degree can definitely contribute to these things, i don’t think it is necessary.

as always, these are simply my personal opinions and what i believe when it comes to this issue.
i am not shitting on anybody who holds a degree in this field; my intentions are not to berate anyone who chose to extend their education through post-secondary. i understand that different people have different aspirations and that for some, getting a degree is necessary in order to get to where they are trying to go.

but what really puzzles me is how in some cases there can be a higher preference for the individual who simply has a degree over one who doesn’t, regardless of the fact that the latter might have better demonstrable skills, whether it’s interpersonal or software or both. since when did a piece of paper suddenly make someone more qualified to do things that i am also perfectly capable of doing? which developer is more likely to help build better, more secure systems - the one who’s truly passionate and has a substantial amount of knowledge and experience in the subject or someone who’s simply in it for the money, or because of outside influences, because "it’s in", or whatever the reason may be?

yes, it is equally possible, and perhaps even likely, for both people to have these things and possess these qualities but that’s not always the case and it’s these cases which i’m referring to.

there are already a great number of mediocre devs out there, and relatively less extraordinary ones. and i don’t think the process to become one can take place in just a classroom.

i say this as i’m just starting university, and personally know quite a few people who would like to enter the field for these reasons.

what it makes me question is the extent to which a degree really would be useful for me personally. am i wrong to consider myself a competent developer even without a degree? am i wrong to consider myself a competent developer just because of my degree?

i’m curious as to know what your thoughts on this are

  • 5
    For you:
    a degree is useful as it delimits the options in front of you. It's one less artificial barrier to your success. It doesn't even matter where it's from (save very specific industry targets). You are correct in your assessment that most of what you learn and use will be self driven and based on time investment; school at best teaches you theory and science (which is very useful, admittedly).

    For orgs that require degrees: (US)
    generally places that require a degree are those who are fully bought into the outsourcing model. Its unintuitively part of a larger scheme that advantages candidates from countries that offer 3 year, largely state funded degrees over expensive, difficult to obtain US degrees as a means of cost control. I personally avoid most companies that have a hard degree requirement, or give them a serious investigation before engaging them in serious talks due to this.

    This video outlines the broad strokes of the industry practice in question (actual class led by a legal firm teaching HR departments how to game the system): https://m.youtube.com/watch/...
  • 5
    In a nutshell.

    Degree = theoretical knowledge early
    Non degree = practical knowledge early.

    Both paths create shit useless devs and both paths create epic mother fuckers who can do extraordinary things.

    It's down to the dev to determine which path they end up taking.

    I personally don't care for a degree, nor do I care much if someone has one or not. I have worked with enough devs with and without to know, it doesn't amount to how good a dev is and can be.

    For a recent argument on the subject see.

  • 1
    Damn, I totally missed that one.
  • 2
    @C0D4 @SortOfTested i’m glad you brought up those points, and thanks for the resources
  • 1
    Depends on what you want to achieve. Webdevs don't need a degree in CS to do their job. But good look trying to get a job where you actually need the theoretical background on a daily basis without having a degree. How useful a CS education is depends on the context
  • 1
    Degree is a liability most often. Yet to meet a uni programmer, who can code
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