Disclosure: MyeLearningWorld is reader-supported. We may receive a commission if you purchase through our links.


How to Become a Software Developer Without a Degree: Step-by-Step Guide

Published on:

Photo of author

By Scott Winstead

how to become a software developer without a degree

Looking for guidance on how to become a software developer without a degree? Is it even possible to do?

Software developers are in high demand these days. And the pay is great, with the media software developer making around $110,000.

The industry is growing rapidly and there are plenty of opportunities for those with the right skillset.

However, one of the common questions that arises is whether it’s possible to become a software developer without a degree.

The answer is yes, it is possible to become a software developer without a degree. Thanks to online learning platforms like Udacity, LinkedIn Learning, and Skillshare, you can build the skills you need to break into the field.

In the guide below, we’re going to lay out a step-by-step guide for reaching the career of your dreams without paying for college.

Read on to learn how to become a software developer without a degree.


What is a Software Developer?

A software developer is responsible for creating, testing, and maintaining the software that makes the digital world go round. They may work on applications or systems software, and their work can range from developing code for small websites to creating complex enterprise-level applications.

Software developers are needed in many industries, including banking, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing.

To illustrate a typical work day for a software developer, say you work in the healthcare industry. You may spend the morning working on code for a new app that will help doctors track patient data, and the afternoon testing and debugging software for a hospital’s patient management system.

Or, say you work for a retail company. You may spend the day working on code for a new e-commerce website or creating software that will help the company keep track of inventory levels.


What Skills Do You Need to Become a Software Developer?

Being a software developer is not easy, and you need certain skills to excel in the industry. If you’re serious about a career in software development, here are the essential skills needed to become a good software developer:

  • Technical skills. Knowledge of certain concepts is critical for success as a software developer. For instance, you need to be well-versed in data structures and algorithms, which will enable you to design efficient software. You also need to have a strong understanding of computer science fundamentals, such as object-oriented programming and concurrency. In addition, it’s important to have experience with popular programming languages, such as Java, Python, and C++.
  • Analytical skills. As a software developer, you need to be able to analyze complex problems and devise creative solutions. This requires strong analytical and logical skills, as well as the ability to think abstractly. For instance, when you’re confronted with a software problem like a bug, you need to be able to decompose it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then, you need to be able to identify patterns and develop a plan of attack for solving the problem.
  • Creativity. Despite popular belief, software development is not all about writing code. A lot of the work revolves around coming up with creative solutions to problems. To be successful in this field, you need to be able to think outside the box and come up with original solutions to challenges.
  • Communication skills. In addition to being creative and analytical, you also need to be a good communicator. This is because a lot of the work you do as a software developer will involve collaborating with other people, such as fellow developers, designers, project managers, and clients. Without communication skills like active listening, speaking, and writing, it will be difficult to effectively collaborate with others and get your ideas across. This, in turn, can make it difficult to succeed in the field.


A Step-by -Step Guide to Becoming a Software Developer Without a Degree

A degree is not always necessary to become a software developer. In fact, many employers place more emphasis on technical skills and experience than formal education. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just walk into a job without any prior training or knowledge.

If you want to become a software developer without a degree, there are a few things you need to do:


1. Study Important Concepts With Online Courses

There are several benefits to enrolling in an online course. For one, they’re usually more affordable than traditional courses. They also offer a lot of flexibility, as you can study at your own pace and around your schedule.

Most importantly, online courses can help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the field. This is because reputable online learning platforms like Udacity, LinkedIn Learning, and Skillshare offer courses taught by experienced professionals who can share their insights and real-world experience with you.

When enrolling in an online course, make sure to choose one that covers important concepts in software development. This can include programming languages, data structures, algorithms, design patterns, and more.


2. Build Your Own Projects

One of the best ways to learn software development is by building your own projects. This will not only help you gain practical experience, but it will also allow you to apply the concepts you’ve learned in a real-world setting.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available online that can help you come up with ideas for projects. For instance, sites like CodeProject and GitHub offer a wealth of open-source projects that you can contribute to.

You can also find project ideas on online forums and Q&A sites like Stack Overflow.


3. Curate a Portfolio  of Your Work

After studying and gaining experience, it’s important to have a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills and experience. This can include projects you’ve built, as well as code snippets, blog posts, and more.

Your portfolio is a great way to demonstrate your abilities to potential employers, and a well-curated one can help you stand out from the competition.

You can easily set up a portfolio website with Squarespace or Bluehost by securing your domain name and hosting, choosing a template for your site, and putting your work online.


4. Network With Other Professionals

Another important step to take if you want to become a software developer without a degree is to network with other professionals in the field. This can help you make valuable connections, and learn about new job opportunities.

There are several ways to network with other professionals. One is to attend meetups and conferences related to software development. Another is to join online communities and forums, such as those on Reddit and GitHub. You can also reach out to professionals directly, through sites like LinkedIn.

When networking with other developers, make sure to exchange ideas and feedback openly.


5. Look for Entry-Level Opportunities

Once you’ve taken the steps above, you can start looking for entry-level opportunities in the software development field. While you may not have a lot of experience, many employers are willing to hire entry-level developers if they have the right skills and abilities.

To find entry-level opportunities, you can search online job boards, such as Indeed, Dice, and Monster. You can also contact software development companies directly, and inquire about open positions.

Another great way to find entry-level opportunities is to reach out to your network of professionals, and see if they know of any openings.


A Final Word on Becoming a Software Developer without a Degree

Software development is a growing field with plenty of opportunities.

If you’re interested in becoming a software developer but don’t have a degree, there are several steps you can take to reach your goal. Study important concepts with online courses, build your own projects, curate a portfolio of your work, and network with other professionals. You can also look for entry-level opportunities that can help you get your foot in the door.

By taking these steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful software developer.

Do you have any questions on how to become a software developer without a degree? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment