Is Earning A Degree Worth It As A Developer?

Published on: July 31, 2022

For most jobs, it is a given that a degree can provide an immense boost to your knowledge and career opportunities. On the other hand, there are plenty of examples of self-taught developers who have made it big or college drop-outs making an impact in silicone valley. In addition, the number of resources available to students interested in becoming developers might make a degree seem less important. However, whether you already have some self-taught coding skills or are interested in learning from scratch, here are a few reasons why earning a degree is still worth it as a developer.

Some Employers Only Interview Candidates With A Degree

Some companies are more sought after than others, which means they tend to be inundated with resumes whenever there are any open positions. Since these companies can afford to be picky, they tend to weed out candidates by only interviewing those who have a relevant degree. It is an efficient way for them to whittle down their candidate pool and a trend that more well-paying organizations could adopt in the future. In addition, by focusing on candidates with a degree, employers know that they at least have a sturdy set of fundamental industry skills.

It Makes Your Resume Stand Out

Even if a company doesn’t explicitly state that they only consider candidates with a degree, having one can still make yours stand out from self-taught candidates. Employees still value experience the most, but if looking at two potential candidates, they might be more inclined to pick one with the professional experience gained by a degree program. This can give you the edge over someone who learned through a free coding camp. HR Managers might also consider candidates with degrees to be more professional and career-driven than those without one.

Anything you can do to make your resume stand out in a competitive job market is a big advantage. A 2021 Stack Overflow survey has shown that 70% of all respondents and 80% of professional developers have completed some form of higher education. Amongst them, a bachelor’s degree is the most common at 42%, a master’s degree at 20%, and an associate degree at 2% (https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2021/#overview).

You Get A Stronger Foundation To Build On

Coding boot camps can teach you a lot, but often they lack the kind of structure that can be found in a degree program. Often self-taught developers learn only what is needed to complete the most common tasks or projects. This can be an issue if they lack the foundation that is necessary if they want to advance to something more complex. Many degree programs ensure that students learn everything they need to be career-ready and are well-prepared to take on high-level projects. Degree programs also teach students other skills in addition to just coding, which is something that is valuable in any career. Simply put, a four-year degree program can provide students with a breadth of theoretical background that is impossible to obtain with short boot camp courses.

It Paves The Way For A Post Graduate Degree

After earning a bachelor’s degree, students have the option to pursue a master’s degree. While a master’s degree is not always necessary, it can open up a lot of additional career paths that might not have been available without any type of degree. For example, in addition to allowing students to specialize in specific fields, a master’s degree can also offer a pathway to academia or prepare students for leadership roles in multiple industries.

You Have The Opportunity To Build An Important Network

While coding boot camps are undeniably valuable, the fact that they tend to be self-directed often means very limited access to other professionals. On the other hand, completing a degree program means having access to peers and professors, which can help you build a professional network.

Conclusion

As with any industry, simply having a degree is not an automatic guarantee that you’ll get the job you want. However, it does demonstrate to prospective employers that you are dedicated, driven, and can see a challenge through to completion. With high demand, the barriers to entry tend to be lower, but this is not always guaranteed, so a degree can be a good investment for your future. Thankfully, online learning makes it easier than ever before to complete your studies in your free time, which means it is never too late to earn your degree.

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