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Why You Don’t Need to Go to College to be a Developer

by: jordi becceril & marchele hill

Jordi and Marchele, two of appsky’s main developers put their heads together to provide a list of bullet points on why you don’t need to go to college to be a developer. With both being largely self-taught, they’re the perfect people to provide insight on this subject.

Most companies will hire you without a degree.

Almost always, your skills and your portfolio are more valuable than a degree.

For Jordi, he didn’t want to rack up a bunch of debt and study things he didn’t find interesting (as could be the case in getting a Bachelor’s Degree).

Other alternatives for college, like code camps or code schools, can be a way better fit for some people.

Sometimes college doesn’t give you the real world experience you need before getting a job.

Most of the time what you *learn* in school will be different then what you actually *do* at a job.

Teaching yourself has benefits, like being able to go at your own pace—ability to go faster or slower, depending on how you learn.

When you teach yourself, you can learn and build your portfolio on your own time and tailor it to exactly what you want to do at a job.

It’s not as hard to teach yourself as you might think, but make sure you surround yourself with other developers.

The worst challenge you can have while learning to write code is you have no clue about what you don’t know—that is, until you’re able to see what’s wrong with it by comparing it with others’ code. You can learn a lot from other developers and most (if not all) are always willing to help out a beginner.

Between Amazon for textbooks, and the innumerable online resources, forums, documentation, etc., you have all of the information you need to teach yourself anything and everything.

One of the more awesome things about development is that it has one of the lowest entry barriers than any other field. This is because developers are so open and transparent with their knowledge—You can Google just about anything and find resources for learning all the skills you need to build a portfolio and find a job.

As long as you’re consistently building, you’re consistently learning.

With or without a degree, having outside projects that you can show is not only important for future career opportunities, but it’s also an effective way to learn while getting more experience.

According to Stack Overflow’s 2016 Developer Survey Results, 56% of developers did not have a college degree in computer science or any other related fields.

The survey also found that the most popular way for developers to learn was by “self-teaching” in some way (69% of respondents told Stack Overflow they were at least partially self-taught; 13% said they were entirely self-taught).

A degree alone is never enough to get a job.

Unfortunately, in the world of tech (and most other fields for that matter), you can’t just flash your diploma and expect to get a job—As mentioned before, a portfolio is still going to be more important than that degree (even if a degree is required).

With or without a degree, all employers will want to see what you can do.

To summarize it: a good developer can think critically, solve problems, work within a team, and meet set deadlines. Anyone can learn these skills in or out of college, but the most valuable thing you can do is literally just do the work and prepare for the job you want. Build things, all the time, and never stop!!

Jordi is a WordPress & Front-End Developer

Jordi is always trying to learn something new. He develops the majority of the WordPress websites for appsky’s clients and works on other front-end dev projects. If you have a question about WordPress or Divi, he probably has the right answer.

Marchele is a Hybrid Mobile App & Full-Stack Developer

He is self-taught and continues to evolve & learn new things since being thrown into the fast-paced world of development. He finds pleasure in continually being challenged to problem solve & explore new ways of doing things.

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