Getting a software developer job with a local technical college qualification

KingAuthor

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
24
My question may be vague, but here it goes.

How possible is it to get a job as a software developer job when you only have a short course qualification from a local technical college?

I am considering starting a career in software development but I do not have the funds, nor at least the time to go to a university or a private institution to get a Bsc. I know a bit of C++, HTML and CSS. I am not an expert in C++ as I am still learning algorithms and data structures. I spent almost the whole day learning, trying to improve my skills, then I will try to learn Java or C# after being competent enough (maybe a year from now) in C++

Should I complete those short courses from accredited colleges or should I continue to learn on my own and enter the market as a self-taught developer? Any advice on how to get into the industry the "cheaper" way.
 

cguy

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,879
UNISA and a BSc is the best way to go if you are on a budget.

Being self-taught can be ok, but you really have to teach yourself very well. Most self-taught people don’t have a way to measure this at the start of their career. Also, there’s a lot of not knowing what you don’t know to get over.

That said, I know of a few self taught developers who have done exceptionally well for themselves, but they truly are exceptional.
 

flippakitten

Expert Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
Messages
1,324
As cguy said, UNISA is the best way to go. A Degree + experience will trump experience + certificates.

However you did mention time and funding constraints, your time only get's less as you get older, do it now.
I'm not really sure your current situation, like age, do you have children etc... So I am going to take your question at face value.

Certificates mean next to nothing for the price you pay for them, you should see them as a validation of your knowledge once you have the experience, a lot of companies these day's pay for their employees to do certifications. The best certification I did was "Agile Development using Ruby on Rails" because it teaches you more about the process of developing a project than an actual language.

People often say "how do you get experience if you can't get a job". In the software engineering world that is really simple. Go to Github find some (C++) projects that interest you, got to the issues page and try and fix some issues and open Pull Requests. This will give you experience and also people will review your PR's, so you will learn how to build better, cleaner software, probably.

I would say that is a good starting point to get into the market however, once you're in, you have to just keep on learning and do a degree sooner rather than later if you plan on working for someone. If you plan on doing the startup thing, a degree isn't as important if your startup is a roaring success... Most startups aren't, so don't base your future on that.

This is coming from someone that is self taught, without any sort of qualifications(including a matric) and also working for a multinational company as a Software Engineer. So below are some points to remember:
  • I have about 20 - 30 certificates.
  • I advance my skills in my own time, normally round 2 hours a day, then refine my skills during work.
  • I am now also on a path to a degree, it's a little harder for me as I have no Matric, so I need to do the earned admissions track through ASU, which is $425 per 3 credit course.
  • I wish I had a full day to learn.
  • I'm taking it easy at the moment so I only work/learn from about 6am - 7pm, when I do my next course it will be from about 6am - 10pm. I take breaks in between to spend time with family, eat supper, bath my kids etc...
  • From the Uni courses I've done so far, it's filled in gaps in my knowledge, mostly around presentation of ideas and communication. Things you don't actually pickup when you are self taught, you see it but you don't realize it because presentations look different but once you know what to look out for, you can see the underlying processes.
There's a bit more but I need to get cracking at work. Hope this helps a bit.
 

KingAuthor

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
24
As cguy said, UNISA is the best way to go. A Degree + experience will trump experience + certificates.

However you did mention time and funding constraints, your time only get's less as you get older, do it now.
I'm not really sure your current situation, like age, do you have children etc... So I am going to take your question at face value.

Certificates mean next to nothing for the price you pay for them, you should see them as a validation of your knowledge once you have the experience, a lot of companies these day's pay for their employees to do certifications. The best certification I did was "Agile Development using Ruby on Rails" because it teaches you more about the process of developing a project than an actual language.

People often say "how do you get experience if you can't get a job". In the software engineering world that is really simple. Go to Github find some (C++) projects that interest you, got to the issues page and try and fix some issues and open Pull Requests. This will give you experience and also people will review your PR's, so you will learn how to build better, cleaner software, probably.

I would say that is a good starting point to get into the market however, once you're in, you have to just keep on learning and do a degree sooner rather than later if you plan on working for someone. If you plan on doing the startup thing, a degree isn't as important if your startup is a roaring success... Most startups aren't, so don't base your future on that.

This is coming from someone that is self taught, without any sort of qualifications(including a matric) and also working for a multinational company as a Software Engineer. So below are some points to remember:
  • I have about 20 - 30 certificates.
  • I advance my skills in my own time, normally round 2 hours a day, then refine my skills during work.
  • I am now also on a path to a degree, it's a little harder for me as I have no Matric, so I need to do the earned admissions track through ASU, which is $425 per 3 credit course.
  • I wish I had a full day to learn.
  • I'm taking it easy at the moment so I only work/learn from about 6am - 7pm, when I do my next course it will be from about 6am - 10pm. I take breaks in between to spend time with family, eat supper, bath my kids etc...
  • From the Uni courses I've done so far, it's filled in gaps in my knowledge, mostly around presentation of ideas and communication. Things you don't actually pickup when you are self taught, you see it but you don't realize it because presentations look different but once you know what to look out for, you can see the underlying processes.
There's a bit more but I need to get cracking at work. Hope this helps a bit.
Thank you or this in-depth reply. I will take this as a starting point.

I am turning 23 this year, already completed a four year BTech in something totally unrelated, so you can imagine the money I have to pay back to NSFAS (about 50k). The reason I want to go the software development route is that my current chosen career route is not something that pays well enough, and it is not something that is in my heart so I want a change of career before it 's late. And I have always been enthusiastic so software development is something I believe I can do in the long-term (hopefully).

Doesn't your company subsidise your studies?
Have you worked as a freelancer before?

I will start with GitHub as suggested to see how I can brush up and upskill myself.
 
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