Is it possible to find a job in NYC as a Web Developer without college?


I ask just for my curiosity. I’m from Europe, but sometimes I’d like to work and live in NYC. I’d like to try the atmosphere of the city.

I’m here just student of high school and I help out one friend with making webs with Wordpress as well. I am planning to study on college, but in my location aren’t some of them that could be considered as “top tier”. Of course I code… not just mouse-work. I make plugins, templates etc. But when I look on some career offers, everybody requires college. Is it really that obligatory or only some companies need it?

Thank you.

Might be “possible”, but it’d be very difficult. NYC is a very competitive city for a lot of jobs, tech included, and with the number of prestigious colleges and universities in the American Northeast, I’d imagine that any company in NYC looking for a Web developer will not only have automatic filters to look for applicants with a college degree in a related field, but will also prioritize applicants who graduated from an Ivy League college.

There’s also the matter of “culture-fit” at a company in NYC, which you might not understand as a non-American, but NYC is one of the most pretentious cities in the USA, and most of the people who end up making it in NYC tend to be arrogant stuffed-shirt type-A personalities. If that doesn’t describe you, you might not fit in at a company in NYC.

Also, living in NYC proper is really, really expensive, so unless you land a job paying a high salary, you’d probably need to live on Long Island (Brooklyn or Queens) or in New Jersey to find a decent apartment.

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It’s completely possible. My current job requires a college degree in a technology field. Mine is in broadcasting. If you have a portfolio, just start applying. It won’t hurt.

I have two friends who work in NYC doing Front End with no formal education. The person who is mentoring me and examining my code is one of them. He went to school for music theory and did not have a technology background. He studied and just started making projects and working pro bono. Eventually landed a job. That’s the exact thing that Free Code Camp has you doing.

Put in the work to get yourself ready, read around on this site for tips on that, and then make it happen.

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So you don’t recommend me to live there? Is there in the US some city that is growing fast, a lot of IT companies there and life there is not too expensive?

Living in the city of NY is quite expensive. Rent is crazy expensive. But, as @astv99 indicated, living near the city would be more affordable. You could definitely live close enough that commuting to the city or hanging out there in your free time is feasible.

What an advertisement says a company requires and what a company really requires are often two different things. If you can demonstrate your capability as a programmer, that’ll be enough - maybe not for every company, but most definitely for someone.

Take a look at the job listings on There’s almost 4,000 of them. Compare this to Denver (~900), Houston (~600), and even San Fransisco (~2,500). The average wage for web developers is about US$90k, which is much higher than average (if I remember correctly, it’s the second highest in the country). So, there are lots of opportunities for web developers. Culturally, it’s also quite diverse. Queens has the most languages spoken in one place than anywhere in the world, so you may find a small community of people from your own country. Who wouldn’t want a little slice of home life when moving to another country?

But hey, you’ve read it here before and you’ll read it again. NYC costs a lot of money. Manhattan rent is trending downwards, but still sky high. NYC also levies an additional income tax on top of your state and federal taxes. Living on campus would definitely be cheaper, but you’re still going to be paying for the privilege of living in the city. There are plenty of places that wouldn’t be as expensive, and some of them would be interesting, but you’re young and starting life. If you think you’d like New York, go to New York. Don’t settle. It’s just money.

I wasn’t not recommending you to live in NYC, moreso just intended to point out what you should be aware of before trying to move there. NYC does have a lot of companies for sure, but it’s also called a “financial” and “fashion” center for good reason, as most of the large companies in NYC tend to be in either of those sectors. Of course there are large companies in other areas as well, MongoDB Inc comes to mind. :wink:

NYC is nowhere close to being a city that’s growing fast either. That might have true a few decades ago (in the 70s and 80s) though. But most large cities will be like that, and most large cities will also be similarly expensive—San Francisco, Seattle, etc, might be a bit cheaper than NYC but the difference would be small. If you’d like to live in a city that’s still growing and not too expensive then you have to look under the radar. Denver CO, Salt Lake City UT, Portland OR, and Austin TX come to mind there, but there are plenty of others as well.

But like others have said, it’s possible that you can make NYC work for you. I would just think it to be quite difficult for someone without a college degree.

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It depends on what you value most. If you want a 24 hour super international city, then NYC is the only way to go. But as others have pointed out, the smaller cities still offer some intangibles. I am in the Houston area. Houston has a strong economy and doesn’t experience as much economic ups and downs as many other major cities. It is far easier to own a house, have a yard, a car, and raise a family here in Texas - Austin, Dallas, Houston all have plenty of jobs and a low cost of living.