Episode 39: Rerun: Is a Computer Science degree necessary to succeed as a developer?

Let’s revisit a very popular episode where I interviewed Pavlo, a new developer who is trying to make his mark in his first programming job after getting a 4-year degree in Computer Science.

We learn from a junior developer, Pavlo Grijincu, how to quickly ramp up our skills to get our first job. Is it necessary to have a Computer Science degree to get our first job as a Software Engineer? Where do we go to equip ourselves with the technical and soft skills to make it big in our cut-throat industry? Let’s listen to this interview to see what Pavlo has to say.

Pavlo’s Bio:

Pavlo Grijincu is currently a junior developer at Listrak, where he has been for three years. He graduated from Millersville University in 2012 with a BS in Computer Science, ending an official educational career in computer science that began in high school. Now he gets his education through books, code camps, and pre-recorded talks.

Please say hi to Pavlo on Twitter.

Episode Highlights and Show Notes:

Pavlo: I prefer Computer Engineering… well, Application Engineering because the goal is to create an application that solves a problem the user has whereas Computer Science is more about understanding how languages work…

Pavlo: As a kid, I saw some kids had a computer and they would play games on it and I was like “I wanna play games”. I found out that I could do computer programming… I liked it. It’s been years since high school and I have kept going with it and now I am glad that I stumbled into it.

Pavlo: Companies are seeing that without software, they cannot be competitive… As a computer scientist and programmer, I see that many times I am approached with opportunities… there is so much demand for it.

Pavlo: A company uses frameworks which in school we don’t learn much about. In school, we make simple programs that satisfy the needs of the teacher – whatever the assignment was. At work, we have frameworks which are so complicated that experienced users do not understand them completely. As fresh developers, we just look at them and don’t know what to do.

Arsalan: You’re a new developer. You have your own background. Maybe, it is a bit different for everybody else. Was it easy for you to get accepted and for people to see you as valuable – to gain respect?

Pavlo: I think the greatest feeling of being accepted is when someone comes over to you and says “Could you look into this?” or “I have a question about this particular thing.” That means you have knowledge of something and they see that you are valuable.

Pavlo: I have a couple of blogs that I read. I mostly watch the YouTube videos from Simple Programmer. Those are very useful because he is another developer and his focus is on helping junior developers… I watch every YouTube video and I read most of John Sonmez’s blog posts. For a beginner, they are very useful.

Arsalan: Do you have any advice for employers looking to hire new developers?

Pavlo: Hire based on potential much more than skill.

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