By John Sonmez May 25, 2017

Online Bachelors Degree For Software Developers?

A lot of developers still face a basic dilemma which is: How do I become a software developer?

Nowadays, the number of options for anyone who want to become a developer has basically multiplied 10x. You can choose to go down the road of traditional education, go to a bootcamp, start learning for yourself, etc…

So, what about online bachelor's? Is it a viable option for software developers? Should you choose this path if you want to become a developer? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. Hey, I just want to give a quick thanks to one of our sponsors at Simple Programmer which is DevMountain Bootcamp. You should go check them out. The link is in the description. They are a coding bootcamp and they can teach you web development, iOS development, UX design, a lot of good stuff. I get a lot of feedback from a lot of you out there that email me have told me about DevMountain, so I decided to check them out myself. I like what I found. I like their programs. They offer some 12-week intensive programs. They also offer some after-hours programs which I know that some of you will like. Go check them out. You can see the link in the description below, DevMountain Bootcamp. A big thank you to them for sponsoring Simple Programmer.

I got a question about an online bachelors of software development whether that's a good choice to become a software developer. This question is from Furmoli and he says, “My goal is to become a good software developer. To achieve this aim, I am confused whether I should pursue it through the traditional way of school by majoring in computer science at an accredited university or should I pursue it through online schools by majoring in software development. Like many other students, I am totally confused which one of the two ways should I prefer. Please navigate me to understand which one is better and I look forward to hearing your kind words.”

Let me back up and start off with the question of whether or not you should even consider college at all to learn software development. Do you need to go to a school? I've got some real in depth chapters in my new book called The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide you can check out here. If you sign up here you can get some of the chapters for free. You can check them out, they're also on the blog. I'm publishing it for free as well. But I want to give you that resource to make sure that—because I'm not going to give as much of an in depth answer here in this short video.

Let's examine what you're trying to accomplish. You're trying to learn software development, probably. Your aim is to become a good software developer, a great software developer I think you said. You probably want to get a job. That's what I would assume. I think most people want to get a job. What's going to help you to get there as fast as possible?

You can go down the accredited university traditional path. Actually, a lot of those programs are improving and they're having to improve because of the pressure being put on them by things like bootcamps. Or you can go the online route and a lot of major universities, I did this video on online certification programs and in that video there's online universities or there are traditional brick and mortar universities that have actually started online de3gree programs that you can go through that or pretty much as good as or as accredited as the regular programs. They have smaller programs as well. Those are all options as well.

Ultimately, what I would say is that you're trying to learn a set of skills which is software development and you're trying to get a job, so what's going to be most effective for doing that? For some people, I think that traditional education, going to school, I've said this before, is the right approach especially if you're in a place where a degree is certainly important. In different countries that may vary. There's not necessarily as many options in some places. In the United States, here I don't think having a degree for a software developer is quite as important as it is in some areas. What's important is that you know your stuff, you can actually write code and actually do that.

What I've been leaning towards for most people that want to get into the field and want to get started is bootcamps. Lately I've talked to a lot of developers that have gone through bootcamps. I have gone and looked at a lot of the bootcamp programs and I feel like—there's definitely some bad ones out there, but there's definitely some good ones too. Check out the sponsors that are on Simple Programmer. I usually talk with a lot of the best and the top bootcamps because I hear from you guys and you say, “Hey, I graduated from this bootcamp and they taught me awesome stuff and I got a job. It's everything that you're saying on Simple Programmer.” That's usually how a lot of the sponsors end up coming on that are bootcamps and that's why I promote them.

I'm very big on the bootcamp idea because I like this idea of getting into real work as soon as possible. It's sort of like the apprenticeship model. If you think about it in the old days like a blacksmith you wouldn't go and study to become a blacksmith for 4 years before you touch the hammer and start banging out metal and putting iron into the forge. I don't know what blacksmiths do, but you know what I'm saying? What you would do is you would work under a blacksmith almost from day one actually doing the work. Maybe you'd be doing shit work, maybe you'd be doing grunt work at first but you'd be seeing the practice, you'd be seeing the blacksmithing shop, you'd be hitting things with a hammer pretty early on. That's why I like bootcamps is that I want you to be writing code, I want you to be actually developing real stuff as early as possible. So if you can go through a bootcamp and then you can get a job and you can start writing code even though you're not great at it, even though you don't have all the depth of knowledge I think that's a great start.

Now, that doesn't end your career in software development or your learning now. Now, if you go to college, now here's some benefits as well. Now, if you go to college you've got money because you're already being paid so you're not going into debt. Now you could go and you could pay for an online degree program or you could do a night program and do it part time. there's a lot of different options that are available today or maybe you don't need to at all, but you've got those options whereas that traditional model of, “Hey, I just graduated high school. I need to go to college for 4 years and get into debt and all this and then I'll finally get a job.” That doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Not today, not when education and information is so free, so widely available.

I mean, heck, here on YouTube how much shit can you learn about software development? Tons of stuff, right? I mean you could get an entire education now. The quality level is not necessarily as filtered, I mean it probably is better if you go to an online program or courses where it's set out for you, but I know plenty of people. I did this interview with Sylvester Morgan who basically put together his own program. You can figure out how to create your own learning path, your own learning plan and learn on your own.

Anyway, that's my answer. I know it doesn't quite answer your question about whether you should do a traditional brick and mortar school or an online program. Honestly, it doesn't really matter. I would pick what you think is going to work the best for you, but do not go into debt and try to lean towards what is going to get you writing code and building real applications as soon as possible. Think the apprenticeship model, think about a blacksmith that's actually working in the shop rather than one that's studying for 4 years. Studying for 4 years before you actually touch code, real code, building real application in the real environment doesn't make sense to me at all. Like I said, some college programs are understanding this and they are adapting, but not all. There you go.

All right, I hope that question or that answer to that question helped you. If it did, do me a favor and click that subscribe button below if you haven't already and I will talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."