Hey guys, I'm trying to get an idea of my job possibilities in a programming-related field without a degree.

I've been going to my local university for far too long in persuit of a computer science degree, however, I now face the very real possibility of not being able to complete this degree program (about 3 high-end classes short).

I've been a freelance web developer for about 6 years (front and back-end), have knowledge in multiple languages throughout my years of going to school and personal programming, am familiar with several low to high levels of computer architecture, OOP, syntax and grammar, algorithm analysis (optimization), and of course all of my General education requirements, etc...

So the question becomes... what are my chances? what do I do next?

Any ideas (especially from people currently in the field) are greatly appreciated.

Edited by PsychicTide

4 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by Bean7

Traditionally in computer-based fields a degree was mostly useful for your first job. After that your experience and skills would determine marketability, and that's still true more so than in other fields. However, these days a 4 year degree is becoming more and more of a step 1 filter by HR departments. Unless you have a contact on the inside who can recommend you, a degree would help on cold calling.

I have an A.S. degree, but I've been lucky that all of my jobs and offers have been acquired through previous contacts rather than doing foot work. As such, I'm a strong proponent of networking to build a contact list and save yourself the hassle of being just another resume in the stack.


I appreciate the quick response deceptikon. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.

As I said, I'm about 2-3 classes off from getting a BS in computer science. It appears I may have to start making cold calls (yet to be determined), but if I were to do so, would you have any suggestions on research, languages, or problem solving skills which I should shine a light on?

Edited by PsychicTide


Although I am in the process of getting my first job in programming, I can comment from my work experience as an accountant, and perspective on life in general.

If you have only three classes, you absolutely must find a way to finish your degree. You have run 25 miles of your marathon; why stop with the last few steps? I realize the constraints of limited resources and time, but there is always a way to do something if you want it badly enough.

In this case, as Deceptikon has correctly said, an associates or bachelor's degree is an HR filter to entry-level white-collar jobs. Also, what if you decide one day that computer science is not your "thing" and you would like to break into another career area? You may find your ability to do that limited by the lack of an associates or bachelor's degree.

Finally, the sense of personal accomplishment that comes from A) post-secondary education, and B) simply completing something that you have started is its own reward.

I went back to school in my mid-twenties and finished my first bachelor's degree in accounting, and then studied for an additional year and passed the CPA examination. After a few years of working in that field, I went back to school and am now just about finished with my graduate degree in computer science. I will begin my new career in software development at age 41.

Where there is a will, there is a way. Finish your degree!


job without a degree, i think it's very tough to find nowadays. Why not go study and get a degree, it's a easy way to get a good job with a lots of money these days

you can go to this site and check out the salary of computer engineer, it's make a huge gap between no degree vs new graduate vs median engineer

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