How To Be a Software Developer Without a College Degree


This post is a re-post after my original post on my regular blog was out of reach due to Reddit traffic. Thanks to the Redditors who voted the post to the top position. 

Hi! I hope you are doing good. Today, I would like to share some tips that could help you (if you don’t have a degree in computer science or have a degree in a totally different field) become a software developer. Regardless of your previous opinions, all it takes is passion and commitment. That being said however, there are a few other things that you should do to reach your goal.


The question is : <strong>can I become a computer programmer/software developer without a computer science degree? The simplest answer is an astounding YES.  Here are a few steps you need to take to be one.

  1. Make a decision – Yeah, seriously. Deciding on something is not as easy as it may sound. The other worst thing is regretting after investing both time and money on something you really don’t like. So, once again, be sure that you want to be a computer programmer.
  2. Choose a programming language – In order for you to write code, you need to understand at least one language, the more the better! By learning the ins and out of a particular language like Python or C++ , you empower yourself with the necessary tools of trade.
  3. Practice, practice and practice – A few days ago, I wrote a post Learn How To Program in 21 days – NOT and it generated a lot of reactions on Reddit. The point of the whole thing is simple; if you want to be good at something, you have to do it over and over and over again. Make mistakes, find solutions, and repeat! The good thing is this:  we all start somewhere.
  4. Open Source and Own Projects – I cannot stress this enough! Most companies specializing in Software are obsessed with Experience! Instead of asking yourself how they expect you to have experience when you are looking for your first programming job, beat them by taking part in open source projects and most certainly, your own projects if you can. You need something to show them that you are capable. You have a better chance if you can show them your portfolio than a fresh college graduate who has none.
  5. Networking -If this sounds familiar, it is because I have mentioned it before under What to do after college and without a job. You could have the coolest resume in town and keep wondering why you don’t land the best jobs. I believe networking is more of people skills than anything in between. This should start in college but if you didn’t go to college, you can still catch up through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and most importantly, local meetups and events. This also requires good communication. Listen to people in the industry. Subscribe to their blogs. Talk to them. There is a good chance that one of them will refer you when you are looking for a job. You just never know!

Those are the five most important things you should do if you want to become a software developer without a college degree. Today, you must be competitive and be willing to work a little harder in order to get what you want. It is still advisable to earn a degree because you learn more from college professors and meet friends who could be potential startup buddies.

Not having a degree doesn’t have to stop you. You are, without doubt, the only one who can stop yourself. So, without much ado, go forth. Start your new career with confidence knowing that the future is brighter. Good luck.

NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. If you would like to add more ideas, please leave me a comment below.

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NB: Please check out my other blog at Simple Developer