Do I Need a Degree To Become a Coder?

Do I Need a Degree To Become a Coder?

It’s one thing to know the theory, speak the language, understand the terminology, but when it comes down to it, there’s an awful lot of college educated coders out there who can’t actually… code.

You may have your foot in the door of your first interview, and ideally, your last interview for some time, but if you find yourself unable to say ‘Hello, World!’ it will be your first interview… of many.

When you test your code for the very first time, you want it to run from beginning to end without error, but the same can be said for any project. Any aspiration. We want smooth sailing on calm waters, not to be lost at stormy seas. Employers are taking a chance on you. They’re gambling on your ability to provide a service- the writing of clean, concise, elegant code.

With so many well paid jobs available in software development, many people are starting to ask themselves – do I need a degree to become a coder?

It’s never that simple though, is it? Flaws will be discovered, deadlines will fail to be met, and projects will fail to become what you initially imagined them to be. There will always be some turbulence. So, back to the chalkboard, back to the sketchpad with your mechanical pencil, and back to the very first line of code you wrote. The world of technology is constantly changing, and as such, there is a constant chance of mistakes being made.

It’s how you turn these obstacles into opportunities that defines who is an under-performing employee, and who is an outstanding one, and we all know which camp we want to be in. There will always be challenges, but it’s how we cope with these obstructions that prove who we are, and to potential employers, how valuable we might be.

You don’t understand a concept, or don’t write in a certain programming language? You’re one among many, and thankfully, there are thousands of online communities willing to help you learn, and so many informal methods of improving your coding ability. Don’t be afraid to up-skill independently. Coding bootcamps, for example, have spent the past few years challenging the traditional university model as the default path for so many students. It no longer takes 4 years of your time and energy. You’re not just investing your money, you’re investing your concentration, and equally important, if not more so, you’re investing 3 to 4 years of your time.

If you think about it, on their death beds, the giants of industry, kings and queens, leaders of multinational corporations or countries alike, they all ask for the same thing at the end.

They ask for more time.

Time is the most valuable commodity known to man, which is why your time is precisely what you should fear wasting.

College courses focus on lectures and theory, with occasional projects. Coding bootcamps focus instead on coding, creating with occasional lectures.

The world has never been so fast-paced, and it’s certainly never been easier to be left behind, and certain educational models have come to understand that. There is no substitute for hard work, and Coding bootcamps are no different. The emphasis of such privately run courses is not simply providing a conveyor belt of wide-eyed and ambitious coders being thrown out into the world every 4 weeks, 8 weeks, or 12 weeks.

College courses focus on lectures and theory, with occasional projects.

Coding bootcamps focus instead on coding, creating with occasional lectures.

With coding bootcamps, the emphasis is on providing an environment of focused learning, to aid the development of in-depth knowledge of modern coding practices because, quite simply, the employers need capable coders now. A degree only says you graduated, not that you are up to date on the latest developments. But a portfolio will.

The educational model is based on the simple understanding that the world needs coders who can adapt to constant changes, think and learn independently, and have an understanding of just why their skill-set is so valuable to the technology-based economy.

So, while you must keep in mind the importance of time management, the benefit of group collaboration, the challenge of deadline-oriented work environments, the importance of constantly improving your technical literacy, and the etiquette of current hiring procedures, please keep in mind that it’s your dedication, and your attitude, which will ultimately define how well you’ll perform when you step into that office for that first interview.

 

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This article was originally published by our friends at the Code Institute. Many of our consultants have given talks to their community members on how to improve their job search. They are one of  the leaders in code education in Ireland, check them out!