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Do You Need a Computer Science Degree to Get a Job in Tech?


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If you’re considering a career in the tech industry, especially as a web developer, you might wonder whether you need a degree in computer science.

In fact, “Do you need a degree in computer science to be a programmer?” is such a common question that we decided to write this whole article about it.

In reality, going to college or university and getting a CS degree is just one path available to you if you want to work in web development. In this article, we’ll elaborate on why and other options.

Things To Know Before Considering a CS Degree

Whether you’re trying to decide what post-secondary education or training to pursue or you’re working professionally and thinking about switching careers, there are a few important things to consider before committing to a computer science degree.

  1. A computer science degree can be expensive.

Some computer science degrees can cost up to $20,000 per semester. Of course, there are ways to get financial aid, but you’ll still usually have loans to pay off. There are cheaper ways to become a web developer without a degree.

  1. It usually takes at least four years to earn a CS degree

Most computer science degree programs follow a traditional 4-year path to earn a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). However, you may also attend a 6-year program to earn a master’s degree in CS.

  1. You probably won’t use everything you learn.

Computer science degree programs tend to offer a very broad scope. Besides teaching you how to code, curriculums cover more academic topics like advanced mathematics, computer algorithms, CS theory, and operating system design. If you just want to learn the most relevant skills to work as a web developer, you don’t necessarily need to know all this.

  1. It may give you a leg up when applying for non-entry-level positions later

Though there are other ways to get the skills and experience you need to land an entry-level programming job, a degree in computer science might make it easier to get higher-level management or executive jobs. This is something to consider if you aspire to work your way up the ranks of a tech company.

Do You Need a Degree To Be a Web Developer?

By this point you should know that you don’t need a degree in CS to be a web developer, but we haven’t yet told you your other options. Well, below, we’ll tell you about the two other major paths you can take.

Option 1: How To Become a Web Developer Without a Degree with Coding Bootcamp

Coding boot camps are one of the most popular ways to learn the skills you need to start working in programming and web development and quickly. So, what exactly is coding bootcamp?

These are short, intensive training courses designed to teach you the coding skills you’ll use daily in your new career. The average coding bootcamp lasts 3-6 months — much shorter than a computer science degree program.

The curriculums for coding bootcamps focus on hands-on learning of things like full-stack web development and programming languages, such as Ruby, Python, JavaScript, C++, and HTML.

Another reason why coding bootcamps are so popular is that they often offer flexible payment options. This might mean you pay a small fee upfront and defer the bulk of the payment until you land your first job in tech. 

Or, you might enter into a salary-sharing agreement with the program, which means you pay a portion of your salary from your first job back to the boot camp providers until you pay off the program’s cost.

Option 2: How To Become a Web Developer From Scratch by Self-Teaching

Self-teaching is a different path that some people take to become a web developer or a programmer. This means they dedicate their time to learning how to code using different programming languages.

It’s important to note that “self-teaching” doesn’t mean you can’t learn from others. You might take online courses or learn from other coders and programmers. The main difference is that you’re not attending an intensive bootcamp or signing up for a formal degree program.

Some people successfully land jobs in tech after learning the skills they need on their own. However, employers may be more hesitant to hire someone who doesn’t have a degree or a certification from a coding bootcamp.

Pros and Cons of Pursuing a Formal Computer Science Education:


  • Comprehensive Knowledge: Formal computer science education provides a comprehensive understanding of fundamental principles, theories, and concepts, laying a strong theoretical foundation.
  • Structured Learning: Degree programs offer a structured curriculum with a gradual progression of topics, ensuring a well-rounded education in various areas of computer science.
  • Credibility and Recognition: A computer science degree from a reputable institution carries significant credibility and is widely recognized by employers, often as a prerequisite for certain roles.
  • Networking Opportunities: University environments provide networking opportunities with professors, peers, and industry professionals, fostering valuable connections that can benefit future career endeavors.
  • Research Opportunities: Degree programs may offer opportunities for research projects, allowing students to delve deeper into specific areas of interest and contribute to advancing knowledge in the field.


  • Time-Consuming: Pursuing a formal education in computer science is time-consuming, often spanning three to four years for a bachelor’s degree, delaying entry into the workforce.
  • Cost: The tuition, textbooks, and living expenses during the academic years can be substantial, leading to potential student loan debt.
  • Rapidly Changing Industry: Computer science is a dynamic field, and the pace of technological change may render certain aspects of a formal education outdated by graduation.
  • Theoretical Emphasis: While providing a solid theoretical foundation, formal education may not always align perfectly with the practical, hands-on skills demanded by certain tech roles.
  • Not Universally Accessible: Traditional degrees may not be accessible to everyone due to geographical constraints, financial limitations, or other personal circumstances.

Individuals must weigh these pros and cons carefully, considering their personal goals, financial situation, and the specific requirements of their desired career path in the tech industry.

What Does a Web Developer Do?

Web developers design and build websites and web-based applications. They use a variety of the latest coding languages and programming tools to build sites and apps from scratch, maintain them, troubleshoot problems, implement new functionalities, and improve security.

Web Developers vs Programmers

Web developers are a type of programmers who specialize specifically in building and maintaining websites and web-based apps. 

Programmers, however, can vary more in the things they build. They can work on a wide variety of software and computer applications that aren’t necessarily only online. So, web developers are programmers, but programmers aren’t necessarily web developers.

What Types of Careers Does Web Development Offer?

Almost every industry has opportunities to work in web development. Think about how many different companies have websites and web applications. Well, they all employ or contract web developers to build those.

Whether you earn a computer science degree, teach yourself, or attend a coding bootcamp, you can find opportunities to work as an in-house web developer for large enterprises. Or, you can work for a company specializing in web development services and have the opportunity to work for many different types of clients.

Whatever career path you take, the job prospects for any type of programming are very good, and will only continue to grow.

Which Way To Go?

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of whether or not you need a degree to be a web developer and some ideas for how to become a web developer without a degree. 

Out of the options available, a coding boot camp or a computer science degree are the safest bets to land an entry-level coding job easily. Most employers view these paths equally regarding the skills they provide potential employees, so either path can work for you!

Also, Read Some fascinating Details About coding boot camp vs college degree.

Is It Hard To Get a Degree in Computer Science To Be a Programmer?

Computer science can be a difficult subject to learn for some people, especially if you don’t have a natural knack for mathematics, science, and other related technical subjects. However, even if you’re not mathematically and scientifically inclined, you can still earn a CS degree if you’re dedicated and willing to do the work.

Other things that help make getting a computer science degree easier are liking problem-solving, having an analytical and rational mind, and just generally being curious and investigative. These are all characteristics that are going to make working as a web developer or programmer easier, too.

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