Do I Need a Degree for a Career in Software Development? I Oxford Open Learning
Software development

Do I Need a Degree for a Career in Software Development?

The pandemic has created a huge demand for cloud, connectivity, e-commerce, automation and digital transformation, with the knock-on effect being a huge demand for software developers. Career-wise, coding is hot. Software development is definitely the place to be at the moment.


The good news is that if you are eager to start a coding career you can pretty much start after school or college. You don’t necessarily need a degree, which might seem surprising for such a technically complex discipline. But, it’s true. A survey by stackoverflow, (a world-leading online software development social platform) revealed that about 70% of developers are self-taught, and 43% learned on the job. Only about a third had a degree in computer science or a related field.

All of this shows that employers hire candidates who don’t have computing-related degrees. Of course, plenty of companies do require a degree for computing jobs. But for many, particularly small companies and startups, a degree is a flexible requirement, and demonstrated competency, positive attitude and programming aptitude is more than enough to get the job. It makes good sense when you think about it!

Engineering your own Self Developemt

So, if you have good grades at GCSE or A-Level, and want to dive straight into a programming career, you can certainly try an apprenticeship. However, if you are a self-taught programmer and have a portfolio of real, completed software projects that you have done for family or friends, you could also directly apply for full-blown development jobs. Employers are really impressed by applicants who’ve developed practical database tools or web apps in their own time.

Some good grades at GCSE or A-Level and an impressive portfolio of practical database tools and apps will open the door to a software development career with most employers in the UK.

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I am a practising HR consultant working with several start-ups on an ongoing and ad-hoc basis in the London and M4 area, and am a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or CIPD. I am the Director of; is a resource for start-ups and small business. It includes a blog containing career advice, small business advice articles, HR software reviews, and contains great resources such as HR Productivity Apps.

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