I see a lot of people ask me why companies are starting to look for experience more than degrees recently, at least in the United States, so let's talk about that in this post.

One thing I've personally always thought, is while it does take you years of college or university to get to the point you have a computer science degree, in the end it's just a piece of paper saying "I spent 8 years of my life working for a piece of paper that verifies I know what I'm doing" the question is, do you? I work in freelance, so I have personally seen many cases where some people who have degrees, in all honesty, have some really, really unreadable and unmaintainable code, and in enterprise or group environments, that just won't work, people need to be able to read and maintain your code, they need to be able to work with you.

Let me make this clear: do not drop out of college or school, just because people are starting to look for experience more often, it will not only restrict you from jobs, but it will make your life a living hell to find one if you don't have years of experience beforehand.

This being said, having one doesn't hurt, and it will prepare you for jobs, however... Just because you are prepared, doesn't mean your code will fit the companies needs or standards, and this is why, in my opinion, companies are looking more for experience in this day and era. If you have years of experience, more over professional experience in the field, they're going to more than likely hire you compared to if you have a degree and only have a few months to a year of experience.

My advice to those wanting to get into programming, and want to get a high salary job:

  • Make sure you enjoy what you do
  • Stay in school, as much as you can and ensure you're prepared
  • Work on freelance, help out on GitHub projects, expand your portfolio

and finally, I can not say this enough, earn contacts, meet more people, if you want to get into a company, contacts always help and will maybe even get you recommended into that very same company.