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Old 01-14-2013, 07:11 PM
 
Location: charlotte
123 posts, read 170,717 times
Reputation: 103

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Hi all,

I'm a budding/junior software developer who up to this point is self taught. My weapon of choice is Ruby on Rails (I started fooling around with a few other languages before going on to Ruby). I have a business background (I have a degree in Business along with a banking background). I was wondering if there are any other software developers out there who came from a different educational background besides computer science. How did you pull it off? Did you have connections, right place right time, loads of coding, etc... I'm having trouble breaking into the industry and I am thinking about getting a masters in computer science or information systems/IT (I would like to eventually step into the realm of academia, I would even consider an MBA and combine it with my potential software development experience) all the while working on a project here in hopes of building a portfolio.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,373,983 times
Reputation: 1945
Rowell Sotto was my classmate in H.S. and he was just ok academically, maybe he had a few Honors classes. He got a nearly useless English degree but somehow he managed to end up as a Senior User Interface Engineer at Netflix. You might want to contact him for advice.

His LinkedIn: Rowell Sotto | LinkedIn
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Louisiana
494 posts, read 1,473,316 times
Reputation: 431
I'm a Computer Science Major, but I know many in the Software Engineering filed who don't have that degrees and are doing just fine Yes, it's very doable. In fact, one of my professors at college, she never got a degree in computer science, she just had a math degree, but she totally knew what she was talking about. And I work with a co-worker, who only has a physics degree of all things . You will find out that experience and skill sets are valued more in this filed than your degree and where you got it from eventually.

Getting a CS degree, just increases your odds but by no means should you look at not having one mean that you can't get into the filed.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:15 AM
 
Location: SoCal
6,146 posts, read 9,800,507 times
Reputation: 6048
I also have many co-workers working on software here who don't have CompSci degrees (electrical, physics, mechanical, even chemistry). I agree that your body of knowledge is more important than a CompSci degree.

I suggest that now that you know a high-level technology like Rails, to add to your CompSci knowledge get a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to play with, and start learning about electronics/computers from a lower level. Even if you never do it in your paid work, you'll have a much easier time communicating with the hardware people.

When I was at university (1980-1986) a CompSci degree *was* a math degree. It was all about compilers and data structures and optimization. CompSci has changed vastly since then.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:35 AM
Status: "Oh wait, what's this?" (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,222 posts, read 18,583,289 times
Reputation: 8079
We're actually in the market for a software developer right now for a contract position, and as an employer, I couldn't care less about what education the candidates have. I want to see what they've done in the past.

For me, experience is king. That's also what I saw as an employee in the computer industry for nearly two decades. I have no formal education in that field, but I got nearly every job I applied for and always got the best assignments, because I knew what I was doing. NOTHING you learn in the classroom can prepare you for what you'll be dealing with on a day to day basis better than having been there and done that before. It can help, but it's really not that important.

My suggestion is to build something. Create something interesting, on your own time, just for the heck of it. The bigger, the better. As an employer, I would want you to impress me and show me that software development is your life. THAT is the guy I want to hire, not the guy that just wants to punch keys from 9-5 as a way to earn a living.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Powell, Oh
1,847 posts, read 4,170,081 times
Reputation: 1074
Quote:
Originally Posted by swagger View Post
We're actually in the market for a software developer right now for a contract position, and as an employer, I couldn't care less about what education the candidates have. I want to see what they've done in the past.

For me, experience is king. That's also what I saw as an employee in the computer industry for nearly two decades. I have no formal education in that field, but I got nearly every job I applied for and always got the best assignments, because I knew what I was doing. NOTHING you learn in the classroom can prepare you for what you'll be dealing with on a day to day basis better than having been there and done that before. It can help, but it's really not that important.

My suggestion is to build something. Create something interesting, on your own time, just for the heck of it. The bigger, the better. As an employer, I would want you to impress me and show me that software development is your life. THAT is the guy I want to hire, not the guy that just wants to punch keys from 9-5 as a way to earn a living.


That is great advice. If you apply at some of these jobs, they want to see what you have done. For example, at Spotify they want you to give them links to some of your cool projects.
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