Do Many Companies Hire People Without a Degree in Programming?

While a majority of computer programmers have degrees in computer science and programming, many aspiring programmers still ask if many companies hire people without a degree in programming. The good news for many is that, while a computer science degree can’t hurt the hiring process, some people can become programmers through paths other than a degree in programming. These alternative paths save not only time and money but also allow aspiring programming to obtain their training at their own pace. Learn more about computer programming here.

Do Companies Hire Programmers Without a Programming Degree?

Finding work as a computer programmer is often easier than one might think. Most programmers have a degree in computer science, computer programming or a combination of both. This is not necessarily always the case with all programmers because many are hired without a programming degree. Some programmers are hired with the knowledge of computer programming but minimal job experience and are trained on the job. The longer they work at a programming job, the more they learn about programming techniques and different programming languages.

A 2017 survey by Burning Glass indicated that only about 25 percent of programming and information technology job postings required a computer science degree, which means that many companies do hire programmers without a degree. In most cases, the programming knowledge and experience a candidate has means more to most companies than the individual having an actual degree does.

Earning a degree in computer science may be the main and most-traveled path towards becoming a programmer, but it is not the only path. Many individuals are not able to attend college full-time for one reason or another, but they do not let that stand in the way of their career goals. They obtain programming knowledge through programming podcasts, books, classes and webinars. These options allow them to learn about programming and do it on their own time and at their own pace.

Once they’ve learned a few programming languages and developed portfolios demonstrating their knowledge and talents, they’re well on their way towards budding and potentially lucrative careers. Employment of programmers and people who can code is growing at an alarming rate – much higher than most other occupations. Learning programming on their own also allows candidates to pick and choose which languages they want to learn based on their career choices.

Important Programming Languages

Programmers may begin their careers knowing only one or two programming languages, but this is something that quickly changes as they begin their careers. There are various programming languages around today, and aspiring programmers must know what languages they need to know based on their career goals and interests. Different careers require using different programming languages. For instance, a web developer is required to know different programming languages than a data scientist.

Programming languages are generally one of two kinds: high-level programming languages and low-level programming languages. High-level programming languages are easier to learn and easier to read, but both types are required for different careers. Here are some of the most important programming languages:

  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Swift
  • C#
  • C++

Python is not only the most popular programming language but is also the world’s fastest-growing programming language. While some programming languages may not be growing at a fast pace, they’re still widely used throughout the computing and business world.

Traditional Path Towards a Programming Career

The most traditional path towards becoming a computer programmer is by earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related major. Bachelor’s degree programs generally take four years to complete. Various colleges offer degree programs in computer science with a concentration in computer programming. Degree levels may be an associate’s, bachelor’s or even a master’s, degree, but a bachelor’s degree is the most common path.

Programmers usually specialize in more than one programming language. The more programming languages a candidate knows and is proficient at, the better his or her employment prospects are going to be. In addition to learning the programming languages and completing coursework, programming students typically complete an internship to obtain hands-on training in the following:

  • Testing programs
  • Writing code
  • Fixing errors
  • Performing debugging
  • Troubleshooting and updating programming

Computer programmers usually need to complete continuing education classes and seminars to learn and keep up with new programming languages. As technologies continue to change and advance, programmers must be able to keep up with the changes to be competitive in the job market. Many programmers also obtain certifications in each programming language they learn. Certifications can also enhance a resume and make an employee more marketable.

Career Outlook for Programmers

Although the employment growth of programmers is expected to decline negative 7 percent between 2018 and 2028 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , there are still many more computer programmer jobs than there are qualified programmers. Computer programmers have the potential to earn very good wages.

As of May 2018, computer programmer wages ranged from $48,790 to $134,630 with the average annual wage at $89,580. The average hourly wage, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $43.07. Wages can vary by education, experience, location and type of employer. The highest paying wages were paid to programmers working in Washington, District of Columbia, California, Arizona and Massachusetts.

Working as a computer programmer has the potential to be not just a lucrative career but also one that’s fun, stimulating and constantly changing. The fact that a person can be hired without a programming degree may be one of the many reasons why programming is such a popular career choice.

Related Resources:

How Should I Prepare for a Job Interview as a Programmer?

Will a Math Degree Help Me Get Into a Computer Science Master’s Program?

What is a Computer Science MBA?