Become a Software developer without a college degree

software developer works on pc

Thanks to an excellent average salary, consistent demands in the job market, and a very productive environment, becoming a software developer has been at the top of the most required and desired titles in the field of ICT.

Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 22 percent growth rate between 2019 and 2029. Meanwhile, the average growth rate across all occupations is 4%, equalling 124,500 employment opportunities.

However, what makes this field is more flexible is the fact that degrees are not a key element in the equation. Instead, the job is about your actual skills, coding knowledge, and practical abilities rather than your academic accumulation.

Those with the necessary abilities can find employment in various computer science and engineering fields. Thereby, Software developers with the essential coding abilities can be employed with or without a degree. You may learn to become a computer scientist without a degree.

Would you like to learn how to be a software developer without academic studies in computer science? Then, keep reading this article to show you how to become one without a college degree!

In this article, we will:

  • Look at what software developers do.
  • Explain recommendations for initiating a software engineer career outside of a college degree program.
  • Provide a list of steps to help you reach your objective of becoming a software engineer without a degree.

What exactly is the role of a software developer?

Software developers are highly competent IT specialists who use development tools to construct various software products and networking systems. They often work in product development for software engineering businesses, significant organizations, or manufacturing companies.

Usually, those interested in working as software engineers often seek a four-year BA degree in either software engineering, computer systems engineering, or computer science.

There are, however, alternatives to a standard degree program for becoming a software engineer. For example, people with an extensive understanding of codings such as Scala, Python, Java, and C++ may be qualified for a software engineering position.

Expect the following duties if you want to fill a position as a software developer:

  • Create, integrate, and assess software packages.
  • Analyze criteria and use coding/technology to find solutions.
  • Employ different coding skills to convert inputs into computer-readable code.
  • You might write code from scratch, work with a team of software engineers, or improve/debug existing code.
  • Working with additional specialists, such as a UX designer, graphic designer, product manager, or technical writer, may be required.

Software engineer vs. software developer

So, is there any difference between a software developer and a software engineer? Certainly not. The phrases are almost always interchangeable, and businesses often see them as synonymous.

When looking for a software engineering job, be sure to search for both “software engineer” and “software developer” to receive the most relevant results. In certain firms, the position is called “software development engineer.”

A Roadmap for your Journey

Before we begin, please keep in mind that the below software engineer pathway stages are intended for people seeking full-time employment as software engineers. Therefore, this software development roadmap will be less useful to

  • Beginners who have just got introduced to programming.
  • People who are not sure whether coding is the appropriate path for them.
  • Developers wishing to work as a freelancer full-time.
  • Designers interested in pursuing a career in web design, UX, UI, or another design-related field.
  • Developers wanting to establish their own businesses.

Getting Ready to Become a Software Developer

Put yourself on the right track from the beginning and get off to a good start in your software engineer education. The following steps are our advice to anyone considering building their software engineering skills.

Step #1: Be aware Of your final target and objectives.

It is not simple to jump into a new career. However, it is much easier to deal with challenges when you have a target to achieve. You must be dedicated to achieving your ultimate goal of becoming a full-time software engineer. That is what will push you onward when times are difficult.

Consider the sort of firm, industry, work environment, corporate culture, and so on, in addition to the software engineering position itself.

Step #2: Orient your learning path wisely.

Keep in mind that what you learn will define your next steps. You need to build the necessary skills to attract employers. Therefore, having a wisely oriented learning objective is essential.

To begin, concentrate on one language or framework. Choosing which one to learn might be difficult with so many languages available. I suggest that you spend some time learning about the various languages. Reverse-engineering job listings is another technique.

To do so, search Indeed or LinkedIn for employment vacancies in your desired software engineering field. Examine the required abilities, experience, and education, and make a list of what you’ll need to learn and do to be considered for your dream positions.

Step #3: Online courses are your backbone.

There are so many software engineering schools and programs available that it might be tough to select. First, however, you need to define which to choose based on the following:

  • Do you prefer smaller, individual software development courses/tutorials or large Bootcamp-style software developer programs?

A variety of course styles are available on many online learning sites. For example, you might use tiny, one-time lessons and courses to learn a trade or computer language fundamentals.

Alternatively, specific platforms may include curated collections of software engineering courses that teach you the skills in greater depth for a higher degree of instruction. These courses are referred to as Specializations on Coursera, for example.

Some platforms also offer Bootcamp-style courses that are more in-depth and need more time to complete.

  • Do you prefer self-paced or scheduled courses with deadlines?

Your desired learning style will determine the best option for you. A time-bound course, for example, could be the greatest choice if you require greater accountability. On the other hand, a self-paced course may be the perfect option if you have a hectic schedule, require more flexibility, and the motivation to remain on top of things.

  • Do you prefer reading over watching videos for learning?

Understanding your learning mechanism will allow you to learn more quickly. However, remember that what works for others may not work for you. So the best strategy is to be aware of your learning capacity.

STEP #4: Practice makes perfect.

Simply said, a competent software developer is someone who works hard every day to create software! While the stack you learn is unimportant, learning by doing is. This entails devoting a significant amount of effort to honing your new skill. Every day, every week, you must spend substantial time learning.

Some believe it will take thousands of hours to become an expert. Indeed, you do not need 10,000 hours of training to acquire your first software development job. You will, however, need to devote some considerable time to develop your skills and climb the ladder.

For example, the Computer Science Essentials for Software Development coursework on edX takes around four months to complete (7-9 hours each week). So yes, you need to keep motivating yourself.


To summarize, a university degree is no longer essential to work as a software developer. Business leaders realize that language takes time, and things change so quickly that new technologies constantly appear in this industry.

As a result, if you can demonstrate your practical skill and comprehension of the requirements of this profession, you can be recruited in the world’s most prestigious corporations.