How long does it take to become a software developer without a degree?

Software engineering or development is one of the most profitable professions in Canada today. Unfortunately, given that it’s a relatively new field, not everyone got the chance to study it in university. But it’s still possible to become one without a degree. So, how long does it take to become a software developer without a degree?

To become a software developer without a degree, you’ll need to learn the basics. This can take 13 weeks to 6 months, depending on the mode of learning. You can learn online, join a Bootcamp, find coding meetups, or apprentice with a tech firm. It’s best to combine all four methods if possible.

Furthermore, some steps can help you in your journey to becoming a software developer. This article discusses how you can become a developer without a degree and the steps for achieving this.

Ways to learn Software Development Without a Degree

There are several ways to become a software developer without a degree. They include:

1.   Learn Online

If you’re thinking of starting a new profession, the best place is most likely online. For anyone to become a software developer, the internet contains thousands of resources to get you started. Even if you don’t know entirely know what you want to do yet, several introductory courses help you decide. You’ll find multiple coding resources available to beginners. There are videos, blog posts, tutorials, and more. Several of these resources are on YouTube, and they are free. But even for learning platforms, the cost of introductory courses is still very low.

Free resources are an excellent way to start because they afford you the chance to learn the basics while only committing your time. This way, you can decide whether you want to progress. Self-learning online definitely isn’t for everyone, but it’s an essential first step in determining what works for you. If it seems like it’s not working, don’t give up. Instead, try other resources, and you’ll likely find your fit.

2.   Find Coding Meetups in your area.

No matter where you live in Canada, you can easily find other software developers around you. There are even programming societies and coding clubs that meet up regularly. These groups offer you an opportunity to connect with the coding community and learn. Here, you’ll find people with years of experience in tech, and they’re always willing to help you find your path. It’s easier to find coding meetups if you live in bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver. But even if you’re in a small town, you can use the internet to find the software developers near you and connect with them. From there, it’s easy to fix physical meetings where they’ll guide you in certain areas. When attending a meetup or even physical sessions, you must ask questions and interact as much as possible. Combining meetups with online learning can be all you need to become a self-taught software developer.

3.   Join a Bootcamp

Coding boot camps are the way to go if you want a physical learning experience. If you feel self-learning isn’t working for you, you can easily enroll in a coding academy or Bootcamp. This can full time or part-time and will usually last for between 12 weeks to 6 months. Bootcamps teach you the fundamentals of software engineering and all the basic skills to get started. They also provide you with the ideal support group composed of teachers, mentors, and other newbies like you. As a result, you easily acquire the skill and discipline you need in this setting.

4.   Apprenticeship

If you already have some basic knowledge of software development, the best way to develop yourself is to become an apprentice or intern. There are several tech companies in Canada. With a good portfolio and application, you should get in and learn further. Being a software developer requires lots of practice to become an expert. Even experts need to keep practicing and improving to stay relevant. So, the fact you’ve learnt from boot camp or completed months of online courses doesn’t matter. Even those with degrees still have to work under supervision for a while.

Steps for becoming a software developer

Now that you know how to become a software developer without having a degree, you should also know the steps you can take to achieve your goal.

1.   Establish your goal

You need to clarify what you want to do as a software developer. This will help your transition into this new career less difficult. It’ll also help you determine the skills you need most so you can develop in those areas.

2.   Select the programming language you want to learn

There are multiple programming languages. Select the one that works best with your goal and is easier to learn. Then, start with the basics and build on them. Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript are some of the most popular languages to start with.

3.   Choose platform or school

If you’re starting online, several platforms such as Coursera, Codeacademy, Udemy, Pluralsight, LinkedIn Learning, etc. Choose what works best for you. The same goes for Bootcamp and dev schools.

4.   Understand the Core Aspects of Computer Science

You’re working with computers, so you need to understand how fundamentals. As a software developer, you need data structure and algorithms to solve complex problems. So, you need to read and understand these concepts.

5.   Practice

This is the only way to become a good software developer. You need to be very consistent and practice as often as you learn. Dedicate hours to perfecting your craft. You can also participate in coding challenges that keep you motivated for an extended period.

6.   Read Codes written by software developers and use similar tools

There’s also a lot of reading involved in becoming a software developer. Platforms like GitHub contain code by other developers. Learn to read the code so you’ll have a better understanding of how programs work. Also, use tools that request developers use. While doing all these, make sure you stay informed and up to date.

7.   Build Projects

The only way to determine your progress is by building actual projects. So, put whatever you learn to use and solve real-life problems with it. You’re learning and using what you know to create projects. You’re also building a portfolio. Most online courses you’ll take come with tasks where you have to develop certain projects after every lesson.

In Conclusion

Becoming a software engineer is possible without a degree. But it can be pretty complex and takes a lot of commitment and dedication. You can master the basics in three months. But it’ll take more months or even years of continuous learning to become a pro. Fortunately, you don’t always need to be a pro to get a job. You can always learn while working.

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