The path of earning a computer science degree and joining the workforce is quite simply not that difficult. There is math tolearn and new technical languages to memorize but most programmers will tell you its easy to program, difficult to master.


Some programmers would say a professional degree is needed. However there are many programmers that are completely home taught. They get good at what they do by self studying and the next think you know they’ve got a high paying job.

It can be hard to get your foot in the door though without a computer science degree.

Once you’re in they will train you and it won’t be that difficult to fall in sync with the other programmers.  But sometimes positions require either a degree or for the professional to be really good at coding.

One computer programmer states, “It’s easy to learn one language.  The computer science degree makes it so that you can work through all languages with very little change in the coding language.”

Alternative Education

There are these new computer schools that don’t offer degrees but offer programming certificates, knowledge and finally job placement.  These schools are said to teach well, but employers are harder to find that will take your skillset. This is not a bad way to get your education, it’s just expensive and will take some time, and hopefully get you hired.

Do I need a Master’s for a computer job?

For many computer Scientist the Bachelors is more than enough.  If one decides to go into education it is worthwhile. But the pay is horrific in schools, and much higher in the private sector.   

Many employers will pay for you to go to Master’s school just because they want their employees top notch in education.

Many would say the Master’s is not needed and a bachelor’s will do the trick.

Steps to getting to be a professional computer scientist:

  1. First you have the decision to go to college and earn you Computer Science degree or self teach yourself.  
  2. Finding  a job. The job sector is a little bit difficult without a degree. A lot of job interviews ask you to solve problems.  Then they watch the candidate and see how he or her handles the problem.This kind of testing really separates the good programmers from the not so good.
  3. Get experience.  Once you are into a job and you gain experience you’re basically set in the job market and can work your way up to something higher paid.
  4. Choose a language that is common like, Ruby on rails, PHP, or Java will make it easier to find a job.

Common question for computer scienist:

  1. What language is best? This is always in dispute.  Many of the best websites are built on Java. Sites like Amazon, twitter use some java.  Twitter is the only big site on our programming list to use Ruby on rails.  Yahoo is built purely in PhP.   So it is very diverse when it comes to choosing which language to go after.  Many of the pop up schools that offer certificates teach ruby on rails for their students and some java script.  There are a lot of employers seeking this language.
  2. Would you recommend college?  There is no doubt that a computer science degree will secure you place in the workplace.  These guys tend to get the really good jobs that have really cool and modern workplaces.  The employers tend to have more money to throw around for it’s employees.
  3. What is the pay for a programmer? The average pay in USA is $82,024 according to the BLS.
  4. What about the work force, are there many jobs?  According to the BLS the work of computer programmers is supposed to drop by 7%.   Overall the job market is still very strong.

Tessa Lena

What kind of education did you need to learn to program and get jobs.  Self taught or went to school?

I attended a certificate program, like a bootcamp.

Did you find languages hard to learn. What language did you like best and why?

Not at all. I studied linguistics prior to that, and it was very exciting for me to understand how computers work. My favorite language was Java.

How hard was it to find a job?

It was very easy.

How did you like your job?

I have worked at several companies, and the way I felt about my jobs largely depended on the team and the environment. At some point I ended up in a team writing frameworks for other developers. the people I worked with were brilliant and very free-spirited, and that was very enjoyable.

What about the job did you not like?

I guess I was not born to code. Once the novelty of the learning curve faded out and I have figured out how computers work, I got bored. I definitely didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life.

Would you say you were burnt out?

Not burnt out, just unhappy because I wasn’t doing what I loved the most, music.

So you took a huge pay cut to pursue happiness and your dream.  How happy are you with that decision?

Very happy.

If you were to give someone advice, would you say programming is a good career? And would you tell them to go to college or just self teach?

I would say, anything that you enjoy and that pays your bills is a good career! Coding can be interesting if it’s your thing. If one has the money to go to college for it, by all means, go to college! But if not, I think there are enough resources to self-teach, and if it’s your thing, you can become very good.

Would you like to share what yo are doing now?

Sure! I play music, I write, and I recently started a project teaching people how to talk to each other over disagreements.

Photo by Paul Natkin