Can You Become a Developer Without a College Degree?

Can You Become a Developer Without a College Degree? logo

You definitely don't need a college degree let alone a Computer Science degree to become a good software developer and get hired. This is especially true in the US, Canada and in Europe where there is less focus in general on academic credentials than in some developing countries. You can easily make a six figure salary these days without a university degree as a self-taught software engineer. You can also become a millionaire by founding your own business.

Without a college degree your two options are learning coding online by buying relatively inexpensive courses. Or you can go to an in-person or online coding bootcamp, which is typically more expensive but you get to more career support, you have more structure and you have a teacher you can ask questions of.

Here are some super successful software engineers who don't have college degrees but who have learned to code and made prosperous careers anyway!

  • Sahil Lavingia is the founder of Gumroad, where you can buy and sell products like e-books, online courses etc. He was also the second employee at Pinterest. He was hired there while in the first year of his university degree which he chose not to carry on with. Sahil is now an extremely successful entrepreneur. Read his tips for learning to code.
  • Mariano Zorrilla is a self-taught developer from Argentina who 84x his salary by learning to code! He never went to college as he couldn't afford the bus fare. Now he earns $210,000 working remotely as Tech Lead for Venmo.
Danny Thompson
  • Danny Thompson used to work in a restaurant cooking chicken before he became a developer. He attended a coding bootcamp and has since grown a huge Twitter following and is a highly in-demand public speaker. Read how he learned to code.
  • Nader Dabit makes $400k a year as a developer at Amazon Web Services. He changed career and became a software developer at 29. Nader quit both high school and college! Neither has stopped him earning a high salary as a contractor.
  • Alex has created a translation mobile app with his best friend. Together they make upwards of $18k/m with their business with no outside funding. Alex dropped out of his CS degree as he was happier learning on his own. Read Alex's interview here.
  • Lydia Hallie is a Dutch programmer who learned to code online as a teenager

She was a full-time contractor at the age of 19 without any formal qualifications or degree. She has a huge following on Instagram and she is very enthusiastic about people learning Javascript. Read her story here.


Dominic Monn became a Machine Learning Engineer with Doist and doing an apprenticeship.

He has also founded the popular company Mentorcruise which links mentors and mentees together.


Dennis Ivy doesn't have a college degree but flipped a website to his employer for $40,000.

He has signed gone on to gather a huge buzz on YouTube where he teaches Django and Python tutorials to 130,000 subscribers.

About the author
Pete Codes

Pete Codes

Hey, I'm Pete and the creator of this site. I am a self-taught web developer and I'm based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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