Hollerings | Graduate

Computer Science Degree – THE BIG DEBATE

So, the question that has been discussed for many years, and probably always will.

‘Do you need a computer science degree to pursue a career in software development?’

As a degree holder myself, I believe that the overall university experience was more important to me than the certificate I received upon completion. 

Since working for the past year I have been able to apply my learning at university to everyday problems and encounters in the workplace.

Arguably, university should not be seen as a waste of time and is not just about the classes and coursework. The people that you meet are an important aspect of university life, they can provide you with a positive outlook on future and success. 

In addition to this, as mentioned by Jack Brennan (Google) the people around you could provide you with many opportunities in the future to develop and progress in your career and maybe even inspire you to start up your own company! Jack mentioned on Quora: I think about the fact that I was privileged to be working (and playing) in a hotbed of entrepreneurship.”

I asked my lovely twitter followers (in particular devs) what their thoughts were on computer science degrees and links to success:

@FUZxxl  Furtherly explained that having a CS degree certifies that you know the fundamentals and how to do CS research. While it is possible that someone gets the same knowledge from elsewhere, it is pretty unlikely. 

In opposition to Roberts view, others believe that a Computer Science degree is not so necessary to get in to the software industry. Despite this, most respondents agreed that a degree provides the fundamentals and problem solving abilities to progress in software development. 

I don’t have a degree and it’s not been an issue. Freelanced for a few years doing websites then swapped to a 9-5 job. Current role of senior research engineer for major broadcaster didn’t need a degree. Just experience 🙂

Have a degree, don't think it's necessary, but it gave me connections that landed me my current job(through a research internship), exposed me to fields and paradigms faster than I would've learned on my own, and made me comfortable reading scientific papers.

My SoftEng Hons degree gave me absolutely nothing of use, other than the love of problem solving and learning, in my career doing Software Engineering. None of the “stellar” people had a CompSci degree. They did have PhDs in physics, category theory and some branch of maths.

Upon researching into some common threads on Quora, it was clear to see that there are valid arguments for both sides. 

A lot of people agreed on the fact that university still to this day is very theory-based and this can be hard to apply in the real world. The fact is, that until you are working with other developers in a hands on coding environment it is harder to apply your knowledge.

Project management skills can be taught throughout university when you are asked to work on a group task and marked, this can improve your ability to work with others and compromise.

Should universities complete group projects between campuses to teach students remote work, pair programming, and source code control? 

This should definitely be an option! Around the world more and more universities are getting involved in annual hackathons such as HackSoc which challenge students to certain tasks for some incredible prizes.

What matters to many employers is ambition and a willingness to learn on the part of tech candidates.

Tests during the interview process can assess whether the candidate is at a good enough skill level regardless of having a CS Degree. 

A curious, problem solving mind is the key to a great software dev!

Hiring Technical Employees

“Knowledge of coding, algorithms, and data structures are all important skills for technical positions. While having a degree in your chosen field is helpful, Google puts more emphasis on experience than being a college graduate”

“We look for people who are curious, have a growth mindset and act with integrity. These are not the easiest things to screen for, so we rely heavily on our network for references”

We favour mindset – attitude and capacity to learn – over qualifications, or even work experience. Our primary goal at interview is to find the people who will love their job with us, have the aptitude to gain the appropriate skills and the motivation to develop their own careers.”

No degree? here are some ways you can start

The number of exceptional online courses is staggering.

For developers, codecademy.com and codeschool.com are great resources, as are udacity.com, udemy.com and edx.org for a broader array of courses up to degree level.

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