No Degree vs Degree?

Hello, my name is Justin and I am 26 years old, I live in Canada and I’ve been really interested in computers my whole life. When I was younger I always wanted to be a programmer but actually ended up gaming my time away and only learned basics. Currently I’m a third year electrical apprentice which is good money and it only goes up when I become a Journeyman but I’ve been looking into the possibility of making programming a part time thing and eventually switching full time. Reason being is planning for the future of not wanting to hurt my body over time through working a physically demanding job etc.

My question to most of you would be though, do you believe I would need a degree or I should be fine without a degree? I have never gone to University to study anything related and the only schooling I have actually done and plan to finish is my Electrical apprenticeship which is only 2 months out of the year for 4 years.

I was just curious if most of the people on this site have a background in school for their field or would it be possible for someone like me to switch? I’m sure I could actually go to University if I wanted to but I’m trying to avoid a 4 year program of where I wouldn’t be making anything since I am not in the financial means to do so at the moment. Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated.

You definitely can switch your career in programming. Nowadays programmer without a cse degree is very common. You can just teach yourself coding by following freeCodeCamp and many other great resource and get high paying job. You just have to give some time to it.

I am just a high school grad. After finishing my high school I learned coding fulltime for 6month by myself. After 6month I got my first job.


Oh really? So you didn’t go to University afterwards? How did you end up finding the job if you don’t mind me asking?

I am planning to go to university because now I can make enough money to pay fee.

I first made a good portfolio & made some project. Then made resume. After that I just applied to different company. But my luck is after a few hours of applying I got mail from the president of the company I applied. He was very pleased to see my portfolio. Then the next day he interviewed me on hangout. He asked just casual question. What I know, my background, my future plan. He then gave a website link and asked how can i improve this site. The next day after researching this site I answered these question. He was pleased with my answer. Then he offered me job.
Fun fact is I got this job without any technical interview, it’s remote position and my salary is higher than normal salary in my country.

But one thing mention that, I previously worked freelance graphic designer while I was in high school. Maybe It helped me to find this job. Because I have a good sense of design. Before starting full time coding I had taken c programming course in high school.
That is my journey.


In my college students of Mechanical Engineering and Electronics Engineering got placed in IT company, they learned programming. I am sure even you can do it.

check this topic here:
there a good answers to the degree vs no degree debate

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Always have the opportunity costs in mind.

Studying costs a lot of time and energy.
It gives you a blueprint and social pressure, but also teaches you stuff you don’t need, because a Bachelor is very broad.


Formal education is a lot less important these days. Most clients just want to see and know that you can do what they need. They don’t really care how you learned. A lot more employers are adopting this mindset as well. Prove you know what you are talking about and doors will open for you.

If you have the skills to do the job, you don’t need a degree. But a degree helps a lot (especially for your first job).

I read a lot of comments on this forum from people proclaiming that degrees are meaningless and all that matters is your skill level. That’s a noble theory, but it’s far from true. Employers do care about a degree for one reason – it’s a signal that you’re competent.

There are many signals of competence. Here are the three main signals in order of importance for a hiring manager (they do stack):

  1. Experience. This is the S-tier of signals – if you have 2 years experience using $LANGUAGE and $FRAMEWORK, you’re more valuable than the person with a degree and unrelated experience.
  2. CS Degree. A good signal that you’ll be competent.
  3. Personal/GitHub projects. Also good.

This is something I’ve been a bit afraid of although I’m committed to making it with no degree. It seems like a step backwards to go back to school (which I hated, paying to learn things I don’t like when I just want to program and get better).

I got my front end certificate from FreeCodeCamp back in 2017. It’s a legacy certificate now. I got a job at a digial marketing agency. It was pretty simple stuff. Just editing HTML/CSS and fixing JS once in a while on CMS platforms. I leveled up and was given more and more challenging tasks because I was also doing the backend cert (apis and microservices now), so I had those skills to do more.

I protyped a microservice solution that turned a 2 hour task into literally a 60 second task. We hired more developers to build it out faster.

Now I’m the Head of Special Projects, which is basically the company’s senior developer. I’m the first one to get thrown on comlpex projects, be in client meetings, and build a Salesforce Commerce Cloud website.

But now I’m ready for a new mountain to climb now and I really want to get into a tech company this year with all those cool work perks and high salary. I am afraid of the competition though. Can I really be a high performing web developer without a degree? Am I going to be brushed off because I don’t have one. I hope not. I’ll find out.


Don’t go to school. I went, never finished but sank four years into institutions studying Math and Computer Science. I learned a lot and forgot most of it. I do think it helped me build some foundations but none that I couldn’t have gotten from doing the FCC curriculum.

All the math I studied which probably would have made me better with algorithm work back then, is mostly forgotten because I didn’t use it.

I’m 35, about to start my third programming job. I played music almost 10 years for a living and had nothing on my resume to show an employer in terms of a career.

I ended up going to a code bootcamp in Nashville for a 6 month program of which I dropped out in month 4 after getting my first job.

I did that job for 6-7 months, took another higher paying, did that for 9 months, and just took another higher paying job. The new job is in a stack I haven’t worked in but I think I’ve demonstrated my desire to learn and ability to do so.

I struggle with Imposter Syndrome like a lot of people but I’m pushing forward and you can do the same thing.

I am not smart. I am not some braniac. I encourage you to listen to Brad Traversy’s talks on YouTube. He has a separate play list for the life advice kind of thing. He is my favorite educator.

I’m a little older so I come from the school of going out and buying a book to learn something. Things have really changed. All the young’uns at work seem to watch videos and do that route so I started doing that. I think it helps a lot.

Go get 'em

Edit: It also cost me a fortune to go to schools. I racked up a lot of student loan debt that I had to pay off painfully. Don’t do it!


I agree that a degree can be valuable but I think you’re placing too much emphasis on one. I have experience in two markets–Nashville, and Charlotte. You don’t have to have a degree. Portfolio and some demonstration of skill is a must though and I cannot claim that getting the first job is easy. I only know my experience and maybe luck has played a part in that. However, I would rather gamble on some luck than 50,000 or more of student loan debt to study 4 programming courses, software architecture, operating systems, compilers, etc. If you’re going to focus on web development, you don’t need Linear Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, Calculus I & II, Advanced Statistics, etc

generally, you should be ok to switch.

i will say that certain places do require ANY degree just to get in- but it’s not all companies.

i started in marketing and made the switch to coding. if i can do this, anyone can.

Are there any web coding degrees? By that I mean purely coding, not CS.

A pure coding degree would sort of defeat the purpose of a bachelor’s degree. There are coding boot camps that give pure coding certificates.


That’s wouldn’t really be a degree, it would be vocational training. It’s not really the job of a uni to teach that (and it often goes out of date really quickly), so normally done by some independent body (bootcamps as mentioned, or professional organisations like CompTIA)


These days you don’t necessarly need a degree to become a programmer. I’m a back-end developer now and I never had any problems with employment. It all depends on your hard skills. I also saw on MyComputerCareer reviews page that education in this field is not that important as many people think.

Quick update: I got the cool job. You can be a professional web developer with no degree. No degree doesn’t mean no skills. Just keep sharpening your skills.

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You do not need a CS degree to be a programmer. You need to know how to program to be a programmer. There are enough resources available online and books available offline to learn programming and even advanced CS concepts such as algorithms etc.

Correct. A degree is not required to program, but a degree can be very helpful in getting your first couple of full time jobs. Some people can land a job without a degree, and that’s awesome when it works out!