Are CS Degrees Helpful or Nah?11 Aug 2020
Here we are, back in the building with another post of #35;breakingIntoTech
Do you need a CS Degree to work in CS? Is it even helpful?
The answer might surprise you…
Let’s gooooooooooo 🔥🔥🔥
For context, I have TWO CS degrees (BA + MS) and I’ve taught coding bootcamps. I am going to draw from my unique experience in both environments and give an honest answer.
This is NOT an argument on degree vs bootcamps.
Let’s look at my experience with a CS degree.
CS Degrees can be helpful depending on the path into tech that you want to take. If you want to build apps, you don’t need a CS degree. Let me be clear on that one. You can learn those skills through short programs or self study. No need to beat that dead horse.
The truth is that bootcamps don’t explore theoretical computer science much (if at all). There is a CS section to most programs but with a CS degree, you’ll spend lots more structured time on those topics. I’m not only talking about data structures and algorithms.
I got the chance to study artificial intelligence, principles of computer graphics, a ton of math classes and more. I really enjoyed broadening my horizons on programming. What’s more is that with a MS in CS, I got to do really meaningful research and get my paper published!
It is not impossible to have these experiences outside of a CS program. This brings me to the point of this post - is this degree helpful?
This is going to depend on
- how you learn
- your study habits
- your career objectives
This isn’t about titles (I’m looking at you reply-guy who suggested that you can’t be a SE without a degree)
How You Learn
Some people are REALLY good at self-paced independent learning. If that is you then there isn’t anything standing in your way of looking at a syllabus from a CS class and do the learning on your own with free resources. If that’s not you - a CS program could help give you the structure.
Your Study Habits
So let’s say you are the person who could do the self study route - can you be diligent long enough to get all the knowledge you want to gain from the various areas of CS you are interested in? Maybe! Again, a CS program is great for this due to the nature of how degrees work.
Your Career Objectives
Do you even care about any of the other areas of CS? Let’s be honest - there is LOTS and LOTS of work out there that doesn’t require formal degrees and you can learn an incredible amount by coding and continuous learning. I mean, even with a degree this is my pattern.
CS degrees do more than open workforce doors, they can lead to other areas of opportunity within computer science. I am, however, firm and resolute in my belief that they are optional and should be based on what the PERSON wants to do, not what gatekeeping ideology dictates.
Maybe is a valid answer
This my opinion on whether or not CS degrees are helpful. I find mine to be helpful for more reasons that I can could fit in a thread but that doesn’t mean that these are all of the reasons.
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