If you’re considering a career in the tech industry, especially as a web developer, you might be wondering 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 people have that we decided to write this whole article about it.
The reality is that 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 that is and what other options there are.
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 a working professional thinking about switching careers, there are a few important things to consider before committing to a computer science degree.
- 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 end up with loans to pay off. There are definitely cheaper ways to become a web developer without a degree.
- It usually takes at least 4 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 choose to attend a 6-year program if you want to earn a master’s degree in CS.
- 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.
- 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, holding a degree in computer science might make it easier to get higher level management or executive jobs down the road. 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 what your other options are. 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 bootcamps 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 day to day in your new career. The average coding bootcamp lasts 3-6 months — much shorter than a computer science degree program.
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 bootcamp providers until you pay off the cost of the program.
Option 2: How To Become a Web Developer From Scratch by Self-Teaching
A different path that some people take to become a web developer or a programmer is self-teaching. This means that they dedicate their own 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 other people. You might take online courses or learn from other coders and programmers. The main difference is that you’re not going to an intensive bootcamp or signing up for a formal degree program.
Some people have success landing 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.
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 so mathematically and scientifically inclined, you can still earn a CS degree if you’re dedicated and willing to put in 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.
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, as well as maintain them, troubleshoot problems, implement new functionalities, and improve security.
Web Developers vs Programmers
Web developers are a type of programmer who specialize specifically in building and maintaining websites and web-based apps.
Programmers, on the other hand, 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 for large enterprises as an in-house web developer. 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 provided you with a better understanding of whether or not you need a degree to be a web developer and given you some ideas for how to become a web developer without a degree.
Out of the options available to you, coding boot camp or a computer science degree are the safest bets to easily land an entry-level coding job. The majority of employers view these paths equally in terms of 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.