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How do you break into the software development profession if you don’t have a computer science degree?

Okay, let’s say your academic background is in accounting or finance or you graduated with a journalism degree, is it possible to break into the software development career?

The answer is Yes.

There’s so much demand and not enough supply.

So in an environment like that, it’s certainly possible.

Software-Developer-Path
Software Developer Path

As a matter of fact, I’m a person living example of someone that does not have a computer science degree but was able to acquire those skills after graduation.

I graduated from college almost 15 years ago with an accounting degree. With just 3 months of self-study, I got a software development job.

Back then there were plenty of jobs but now trust me there are so many more jobs, so many more opportunities, so many different areas to get into.

Software Developer

I’m gonna highlight some of these things and hopefully give you a good understanding of the overall landscape of it and what you can do to break into the software development career.

So let’s get started.

In my opinion, there are 3 major areas in it that you can focus on.

It’s hard to focus on all 3 of these areas at the same time but let’s start with the first element, the obvious path and that is a software developer.

Software Dev Path

The software dev track in my opinion is a challenging track for someone that does not have a computer science degree.

It requires you to know a couple of different programming languages maybe one or two.

The most popular ones are java and python another very popular one is PHP and then a candidate would also need to have some understanding of the overall landscape of technology, understand front-end, understand backend.

So they need to know a little bit of HTML, CSS and some Javascript, and maybe a few databases.

Alright, so the breadth of knowledge for this path is pretty wide.

You’d need to know a lot of things if you would like to get into the software development path but you’re not a computer science major.

Software-Dev-Path
Software Dev Path

I would recommend starting on a different path this could be your eventual destination. This could be your goal. This is what happened to me.

I started from a different area in technology and then I transitioned into this area over time.

You could do the same thing and I’ve seen so many people, I’ve got so many examples of people doing this back then as well as right now.

Okay, so this is one path in my opinion.

If you don’t have a computer science background it will take about two years of hard work to learn this stuff on your own and then hopefully be in a position to land a job.

The coding boot camps are great but you need to have some prerequisite knowledge in some of these areas if you want to avail that knowledge.

This takes time. A better track for someone that doesn’t have a computer science degree in my opinion is the database track.

This is a focused area in technology and data is the key.

Data is every company’s largest asset. Every company has very important especially with what’s going on nowadays, with Facebook.

Database Expert

Data is key. It’s huge and databases are where.

The data is stored so what you can do is become a database expert in a language called SQL.

This is the primary language used to interact with databases.

You just need to learn one language and it’s not even a programming language, it’s actually a data interaction language.

You have been in pretty good shape with the SQL language along with the SQL language.

You can also learn a reporting tool such as Tableau.

Tableau nowadays is huge. There are so many job openings with Tableau and data analysis.

So with the SQL and Tableau combination, you’re employable.

How long does this track take for someone that can invest 6 hours a day every day for about 3 months?

Database-Expert
Database Expert

3 months.

I’d say give 2 months for SQL and invest 6 hours a day, master that technology, and then invest one month in Tableau and you’ve got it.

You made yourself employable.

Okay, believe it or not, a lot of people are doing this.

You don’t need a computer science degree for this.

So this in my opinion is the lowest barrier of entry into the software developer profession eventually once you’re comfortable.

Here you can always transition to this field.

A lot of people do this including myself and so many people that I’ve seen. I’ve got so many examples.

Okay, so this could be your eventual destination if you want to build mobile apps, websites, you know desktop applications.

You can learn to do that on the weekends when you’re employed here.

Okay, don’t graduate college and sit for one year trying to learn this stuff. Get your foot in the door after three months of practice, in a database developer role.

Guess what you’re still a developer, you could be developing reports and using the SQL language and then slowly transition into this.

Admin Paths

Admin-Path
Admin Path

So two paths so far, the third path is the admin path and this is also a great lucrative field but in my opinion, it’s basically for any country that is not the United States or Canada.

The United States and Canada outsource administrator jobs.

The hottest topic within this domain is AWS Amazon web services.

This is another thing you could choose. This will take maybe a year to get really comfortable with because there’s a lot of new development going on in AWS.

You should understand, you should have a certain breadth of knowledge and that will take time to learn.

It’s a very lucrative career and you know there’s plenty of opportunities but in my opinion, if you’re in the U.S this is probably the fastest way to get your foot in the door.

Probably the most lucrative way.

Okay as soon as you graduate college 3 months of hard work in this area could land you a well-paying job.

Well, over 70-80K USD and after 2 to 3 years you can transition to either one of these roles.

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