How to become a Programmer without having a college degree

Are you tired of your current job? In a dead-end job that isn’t taking you anywhere. Or you a young enthusiastic lad who wants to pursue programming as the career path but had been unable to do so due to the heavy fee of colleges. If so, then this article is for you!

The clear-cut path of becoming an expert programmer is getting a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science but this is not a fixed and definite thing. There are many talented top-quality and high-paid programmers out there who had learned through online courses and are pursuing their desired career path.

Though getting a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science makes the process of becoming a high skilled programmer much easier but it also comes with an immense tuition fee and four years of your precious time. Moreover, most technical giants like Google and Apple, etc. have dropped the College degree requirement for their employment. Therefore, not having a college degree for becoming a programmer is not a thing that needs to be worried about.

So, here is the step to step guide which will enable you to become a top-quality programmer without having a college degree.

Identifying Path as a Programmer

The first most important thing which needs to be kept in mind is to identify your career path as a programmer. You should have crystal-clear clarity about the path you would be following in your programming career.

There are many paths that you can follow. You can become a mobile app developer, programmer analyst but the one which can give you a healthy living is becoming a web developer. The job prospects of Web Development are also high and is one of the highest-paid jobs in I.T. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for web developers is projected to grow by 13% by 2028. But the most significant point here is that you should follow that path which you are most passionate about and is providing you a healthy living.

Online Certifications

Once you have identified your career path, the next thing you should do is getting certification. College certification looks good on a resume but as a programmer, you don’t need one. Alternatively, you can opt for online certification. There are plenty of platforms online like Udemy, Coursera, Edx, CodeAcademy, Udacity, and LinkedIn Learning, etc. where you can take courses and get certifications. These platforms have a variety of different courses from beginner level to Advance level. Moreover, they also offer some free courses.

There are some other platforms where you can take free courses and acquire excellent knowledge to become an expert in programming. Below is the list of few platforms.

· MIT Courseware — this is a great initiative by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to publish online their undergraduate courses freely available for everyone. This can be a great opportunity for you since you can acquire exactly the same skills which MIT graduates are learning. They have a variety of quality programming courses.

· Khan Academy- is a non-profitable organization aiming to help students all across the world. They also have a dedicated portion on programming. You can watch videos and build your expertise.

· YouTube — it might be surprising for you but as an aspiring programmer, Youtube can also be a great platform for you to build your expertise in programming. Many channels are only dedicated to teaching only programming.

Learn a Programming Language

Whether or not you decide to pursue an online certification or not, the most staple thing you should do is to teach yourself a programming language. Most of the online courses already have this in their course but you can also learn a programming language by yourself. As I already discussed, you can go for free platforms as I mentioned above.

Here is the list of some famous programming languages which you can learn:

· Python is the most important, popular, and extensively used programming language. Its importance can be known from the fact that most big companies like Google, Instagram, Dropbox, etc are using python. In 2020, python remains the number one language as its popularity increased by 4.1% according to Google trends and GitHub, a report based on tutorial searches. Moreover, it also has the simplest syntax which could be very helpful for you as a beginner programmer.

· Java is also one of the popular programming languages. It is a versatile language and is used in Android apps and Desktop Apps. As a programming aspirant, you can also learn Java.

· Javascript is also the most popular language nowadays. It is widely used in web development. If your career goal is to become a web Developer then it is recommended that you should go for Javascript.

It is upon you that you choose to work on one language but it is recommended that you should learn at least the best three languages. But this is also not a hard and fast rule. But the important point is that you should first become a language expert then go for the other.

Practice, Practice, and Practice

You want to become a programmer, right? So, here is the most important secret for you.

Even though you are very clear about your programming career path and also got certifications from online platforms. All of this couldn’t help if you would not do the practice. Sounds astounding. But that’s 100 % true. The key to becoming a most efficient programmer is that you have to practice a lot. Practice writing code from the moment you start learning programming.

Share your code with the programmer’s community on the internet and ask them to critique it. Always try to learn something new until you become fluent in every aspect of the language.

Build Portfolio of Your Projects

Here is another important step in your programming journey. As you are doing hands-on programming practice so you should work on building real-world projects related to your programming field. And try to maintain a portfolio of your work. Whichever project you do try to save it so that you could show your work whenever it is needed. For building a portfolio you can create your portfolio website. This would be most supportive for you in finding your first job.

Finding a job as a Programmer

By now, you have chosen your career path, learned a programming language, taken online courses to get certifications, started practicing coding to excel in programming, and build a portfolio to showcase your projects. Now is the tricky part as a programmer without having a college degree. And that is, getting an entry-level programming job.

You have read right, this is the most delicate part because many people get depressed and demotivated when they don’t easily find their first job.

Below is some useful information which will help you get your first job comfortably.

· There are many online freelance programming jobs available on Freelance Platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer, etc. You need to showcase your skills and work and apply for relevant jobs. Similarly, there are websites like Indeed.com, Greekwork.com, and Linkedin.com, etc. where many entry-level programming jobs are available.

· Another way to easily catch your first job is to build a network with employed programmers. Networking with employed programmers helps you to learn what actually it takes to become a programmer and can also help you to land your first job.

· Moreover, before applying for any job make sure that your resume is well updated and reflects the skills that you have learned.

Keep Learning

Congratulations! By now, you should be able to understand how to become a programmer without a college degree and getting your first job. But that doesn’t mean you have learned everything. Computer Science is evolving on daily basis. The skills you have today might obsolete in the next few decades or even in one decade. Therefore, you should keep yourself updated all the time and try to learn new skills according to the requirement of the time.

Take Away

Becoming a programmer without having a college degree is not an arduous thing nowadays but at the same time, you should also have to do hard work with the mixture of smart work to succeed in a programming career. A wise man once said ‘The journey of thousand miles starts with a single step’. Since you have a clear roadmap of how to become a programmer without a college degree, therefore, you shouldn’t sit stagnantly. Instead, you should start working today and build your career.

Happy Programming!

An enthusiastic Freelance Content Writer and Programmer.