How to Become a Programmer Without a Degree?

Hello there folks, today we are going to shed some light on how one can become a programmer without a degree. By the word ‘programmer’, one can convey three different meanings, first, someone who barely have enough knowledge or experience in the programming field and writing few lines of code using some mark-up or scripting language considers him/herself a programmer.

Secondly, the real programmers who have hands-on experience in coding and sufficiently good knowledge on how to solve complex problems programmatically. They design applications and software for companies using their skills and may even freelance for their livelihood.

Thirdly comes the community of people who write codes for the sake of pleasure and out of interest. These people do not pursue their career as a programmer professionally but do contribute to open repositories, participate in hackathons and help other people learn programming (these people differ from the people belonging to second category as they do not program for money or for their living).

In all these categories, there is no such prerequisite to have a degree from any college or institute to showcase your skills. All matters is only your passion and dedications towards work. And IT sector is the domain where you can see professionals from varying backgrounds working together, whether it be a mechanical engineer or even a non-degree holder. The above statement can be supported with a survey report from, stating- “Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major”.

As far as you are committed and dedicated to your work, no one is going to ask you for your degrees as a hallmark of your identity.

In an interview to Adam Bryant, of The Times, The Google’s head of people operations said that “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams!”

“When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people,” Bock said.

So, it must be clear to our readers that a degree is not an identity to authenticate your skills. And there are several jobs out there which only want your talent to pay.

Now let’s see some points on what it takes to be a professional programmer. How to start and what should be your steps to achieve it.

How to Become a Programmer Without a Degree

How to Become a Programmer Without a Degree?

Take Preliminary Steps

The big and prime concern before learning a new skill is how and where to start? Because of the abundance of materials available online and offline, paid and free as well. To sort out this, we advise you to start from very basic things, like learn easy mark-up language like HTML followed by CSS and JavaScript later (you can learn all these up to intermediate level for free from YOUTUBE). At this moment you will be able to design static sites with some visual effects (and believe me you will feel too good to see your own designed site, no matter how it looks *wink*).

Next, now head towards learning how to create dynamic sites, I would suggest to start with Django framework for this as this will be comparatively easier to learn, but yes, remember to learn python basics before this if you have no idea of python (Youtube again). Then try registering yourself on different free online coding platforms like Codechef and Hackerearth for practicing and curating your knowledge, also you will start learning to solve problems programmatically.

When you are done with all these, now you can try investing in stuffs like paid tutorials of some renowned author, participating in seminars and programmers meet, buying e-books and paid tutorials.

It is not necessary that you follow the same path as mentioned above. You can start your journey with any other programming technologies like C, C++, Java, PHP, etc.

Pro tip: You can enroll for this good course to start your journey as a programmer Become a Successful Programmer Without a Degree.

Five Steps Action Plan

Step 1: Enjoy What You Do

First thing first, you must enjoy the work you are going to do or opting as your career choice. I want to excel in the programming domain, you should feel the pleasure of doing it. Enthusiasm is the key feature that interviewers see in any potential candidate in the hiring process. You can find several computer science graduates out there with a degree in hand but lacking the enthusiasm to code, company literally don’t need such people. Invest your time in some good projects, practice programming questions daily and keep yourself updated and clear with the principles of programming in order to develop the enthusiasm in you.

Step 2: Pick Relevant Practices to Learn

It is very often observed that aspiring programmers choose the language and framework to learn and work upon without any research and ultimately end up having detrimental effect on their resumes. Research on the technologies that have good market value and have survived in the industry for at least 8-10 good years plus you have an interest in learning that particular technology.

For instance let’s suppose you have an interest in opting database management system (DBMS) as a career option but you end up choosing Java as your path, this will lead you nowhere. Additionally, very soon you will be fed up with your work.

Also a technology that seems irrelevant today may have a brighter future ahead, you need to research on this. Look for the technologies that are being consistent in the market for quite a few years.

Tip: Experts say that rather going for a technology that has plenty amount of grounded contributors (say Java), go for technologies that have less number of developers (like IOS and web development using Spring Framework’s different platforms).

Step 3: Participate

There exists different forums, communities and open repositories that a novice programmer can connect to, people in such communities are often very friendly and love to share their knowledge free of cost. Online coding challenges are organised at country and global level by such communities to motivate programmers and promote programming culture across the globe.

It is also advisable to participate in version control open repositories like Github and contribute your knowledge by collaborating with several programmers from across the world. Platforms like Github hosts open-source projects and allow people from any geographical sub domain to work together on any specific project. Nowadays, having a Github account experience in considered to be a good plus point in a candidates resume during interviews.

Step 4: Look Forward to Curate Your Skills

Being a programmer needs a consistent effort and try towards learning new technologies. Companies these days send their employees for several training programs too to learn new technologies to keep up with the world. Additionally, having training and experience in different domains result in a better grasp over the technology and in turn also allows a programmer to switch between the jobs if in case there is a deficiency of work in his/ her respective domain.

Step 5: Freelance

Freelancing is considered to be one of the most powerful tool to enhance the skills of a programmer and on the other hand also creates a secondary income stream for programmer. Though it is not that easy to set foots in the freelancing community but if you have got some talent in your domain, it is worth to give it a shot.

Some of the good freelancing sites to start from are,,, etc.

We hope this article provides a brief understanding of what it takes to be a programmer without a degree and clear the doubts of our readers. If doubts persist, feel free to ask in the comment section, we will love to answer.

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