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I don't have a CS degree and I'm terrified

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Shopifya month ago

I'm not going to sugar coat it, not having a CS degree is inducing a lot of anxiety right now. I know companies like Shopify (especially) don't really care about your degree, but when I see loads of job postings with a bachelors in CS as a minimum requirement, it terrifies me. I live in Toronto as well and the number of job postings are a lot lower than the US. Should I drop everything to try and get a masters? Or do you think it's better to continue gaining experience first?

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    Once you get your first job, the importance of your degree (or lack thereof) starts to diminish.

    So the question for you would be, what experience have you already been able to find?

    Since a degree is expensive both in terms of time and money, it's worth spending a few weeks to explore alternative paths.

    • If you have any kind of internship or contracting job, use that network to get interviews.
    • If you don't have experience, create your own by building apps or open-source contributions, and then getting feedback (from the Taro community or otherwise) if those projects are meaningful enough to get you an interview.

    See also the great answers about the necessity of a MS CS degree here: "Do I need to do masters in Computer Science to move ahead in career?"

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    Senior SWE, Manager at Google
    23 days ago

    It seems you already have a job at Shopify as a SWE, so that should more or less cover for a lack of a degree. Very few companies in tech actually cares about your degree since most of our learnings happens on the job. Therefore, there's no material benefit to doing a CS masters.

    But, you wrote that you have anxieties around not having a CS degree. Sometimes our fears are irrational (my personal fave is "I'm not technical enough") but we need to address them in some way to be our best selves. If doing, say, a part-time degree ameliorates your anxiety, it could be worth it! But before you commit to something as time consuming as a masters degree, at least do some self-reflection to see where your fear is really coming from and whether there are other things you can do to help ameliorate it.

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    Founder of Expanded Skills • Former Head of Engineering
    22 days ago

    Hey there, fellow non-CS background also in Toronto here.

    If we take a step back, a CS degree is merely a proxy for knowing certain things that may or may not be useful to being a competent SWE. Unless it's pin-pointing to something specific that is holding your back or your intrinsically care about knowing more/getting better at, ignore it.

    In practical terms, I haven't seen a case where having a CS degree turn a "no" into a "yes" in the recruiting lifecycle (CV or interview stage) for when I did hiring and the other cases I've observed. Anyone who bases a hiring decision based on this is either downright lazy or an unclear thinker, which you should look to avoid if possible (I get the fact that there's a non-zero chance recruiters may screen this way).

    This last part is more personal (and perhaps controversial), but I'm even MORE impressed by someone who knows their stuff in a technical domain in spite of not having a CS degree. It at least proves that they can learn things without being forced to do so in an academic setting.