Software Developer is one of the very few career choices that you may pursue even without a college degree. For many years a degree in Computer Science was your only choice for securing a seat in any software service firm. With the rise in popularity of the internet, things look a lot different now. It has greatly influenced the growth of a self-learning lifestyle, where anyone can learn whatever they find interesting right from their homes and in their own time. Online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy, etc., with hundreds of teachers and courses, can provide you with content that is in par with any institute or college.
A job in the Software Industry usually offers flexible work hours, a comfortable working environment, and an above-average work-life balance. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2028, software-based jobs will have a growth rate of 21%, while the average growth rate of all jobs is just around 5%. The way job recruitments work has changed, and now your skills are what matter the most.
Here are a few ways that will help you get a software developer job without a professional degree
1. Competitive Programming
Competitive Programming is a mind sport, meaning it challenges you to solve a set of problems in the most efficient way in the fastest time possible. A common misconception is that CP requires a high-level understanding of programming. This is true if you are building a website or designing complex software. In CP, programming is just a means by which the contestant may express his ideas. Here more emphasis is on the participant’s logical and problem-solving abilities. To get started, you will first need to grasp the basics of any programming language (preferably C, C++, python). Here is a link to a handy site tutorials point. Once you have done that you are all good to start your CP journey. CodeChef is an online platform where you can solve problems and gain reputation, and this is just one of the many sites where you can practice. Many companies like Facebook, Google host CP contests like Hackercup and Codejam. Those who leave a mark in these competitions are often offered a job by the organizing company or by other leading tech giants.
2. Open-Source Contributions
Open-source software means the source code, which is the blueprint of the software written by the developer, is made publicly available for modifications. Open-source software is highly popular due to its combined development and long life support. It is the reason behind flawless, fast, and well-monitored growth. Github is a place where you can find millions of open source projects that are in production. You may choose to work on one of these or may start a project of your own. Contributions in this space will increase your reputation in the community. Your performance to Open source is valuable to an employer. If you wish to get a job at Google, contribute to Google Projects on GitHub, this way, they may quickly notice you. Another way to be a desirable employee is to be active on Stackoverflow, which is an online platform to get or provide help.
3. Showcase your Projects
Nothing is good enough to prove your worth than a few self-made projects in your arsenal. For this, you will really have to take the learning part seriously. You could begin with something like making a calculator or a text-based game. The goal is to learn deeper about the fundamentals of what you learn. This will help you build real-world applications. If you wish to present your projects during an interview, please be thorough with every aspect of it as the interviewer may ask questions based on what you have made.
4. Focus on web-development
Web-development is deficiently the most in-demand work you can find. It is also the one that is most suitable for a person with no professional degree. Jobs in this field alone will have a growth rate of 13% in the next 8 years. As a web developer, you may either choose to be in charge of building the interface the user sees, that becomes a front end developer, or you may do the hidden functionalities of a website called back-end development. Both are well paid. You may also learn both and be a full-stack developer.
Last but not least, your performance during an interview is crucial. You may be asked to solve a problem or to develop an algorithm. It is essential to face these calmly and with confidence.