The IT Pro Podcast: Do Degrees Make Better Developers?
The lucrative rewards of the tech industry are attracting a growing number of people to the industry, but while computer science and software engineering degrees remain very popular, there are plenty of ways to prove your credentials as an aspiring developer – and spending three to four years learning the fundamentals in the classroom is not necessarily the most effective.
In fact, for those looking to pursue a career as a developer, the best strategy may be to learn the basics and then get straight into it, either through an entry-level apprenticeship or by starting your own projects. We’re joined this week by Rob Zuber, CTO of DevOps provider CircleCI, to discuss the value of some of the less traditional paths in the industry and the skills that set truly good developers apart.
“To be completely honest, you come out of a university degree in computer science barely scratching the surface of what you’re going to do for a job. And particularly as you progress, as you progress to higher levels, you move from technical proficiency to a whole bunch of other aspects of what the job entails. I mean, we were joking before we started that the one thing I definitely don’t do now is write code as a CTO. So the kinds of mental tools you need can be very, very different as you progress through the levels of software engineering. And so technical skill, honestly, you can choose a lot of different ways.
“It’s about understanding what kind of attributes to look for. And I think one of the things that I personally look for – and it’s probably biased because I’ve spent so much of my life in small startups – is best described as scrappiness. People who may have left school early, didn’t go to college, but started something.
“If you have experience with a wide range of tools, then I get the hint that you know how to select a tool for the right purpose, that you know how to use a new tool when it comes along, as opposed to to the thing you were using two years ago. Because one thing we love to do in software development is to keep changing the tools we use all the time so that our tasks are more difficult; c It’s a weird choice, but it’s a reality, isn’t it? The discipline evolves so quickly that what matters is your ability to acquire new tools and use them to enter a new environment.
Read the full transcript here.
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