Tech is a confusing world of social contradictions amidst highly logical machines. Some of the most prolific tech geniuses ― Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell ― failed to obtain even a bachelor’s degree, but most tech jobs require some evidence of education just to earn an in-person interview. You can find posts all over the web telling promising young programmers that spending four years at a university is a waste of time, but you’ll probably also find reluctant employers unwilling to commit to candidates who lack education credentials.
The fact is education is always valuable, though not always in the ways you expect. Tech in general ― and computer science specifically ― can be learned outside an organized academic program, but seeking degrees in the field can drastically improve your job prospects. Here’s how.
They Provide Guidance in Your Studies
A computer might just be a device, but computer science as a field is definitely not contained in a single electronic box. As Google explains, computer science is “the study of the principles and use of computers,” which is, essentially, everything. So, where is the best place to start?
An online ms computer science degree program, is devised to provide the most logical method of learning computer science, so you don’t have to worry about putting the cart before the horse (or the application before the language, in programmer-speak).
Educators will provide guidance through programming fundamentals and theory, so you will build a strong foundation of knowledge before you start to grow your skills. You should not underestimate the value of direction when it comes to education, especially when the alternative is floating in a wild ocean of information with no land in sight.
They Enforce a Schedule for Improvement
If you would, think back on your last hobby. How long did it take you to master it? Did you even try to master it? Few people claim the follow-through necessary to achieve proficiency at a skill, and fewer still can manage to master a skill in an appropriate time frame. Even true interests, like computer science for the tech-minded, often shift to the back-burner when you are confronted with more exciting or newer distractions, like video games or nights out with friends.
Meanwhile, a degree program has a definite start date and end date, with hundreds of smaller deadlines in between. You improve systematically, in accordance with a schedule, to ensure that you gain mastery over a particular skill ― in this case, computer science. It is becoming increasingly obvious that deliberate practice is the best way to become an expert, and the best way to practice deliberately is through organized education.
Read also: What Do Computer Scientists Do?
They Lay a Cultural Foundation
As is so often true in business, the ideal of computer science is far from its practical use. While some programmers may daydream about completing their own creative projects, the reliable money in computer science is with employers, who set specific standards and expect near-total obedience from their workers. If you go into the real world expecting the former and you receive the latter, your computer science dreams will be crushed.
Generally, degree programs are effective at helping aspiring computer scientists understand their roles in greater corporations and obtain the freedom and creativity they need while adhering to the requirements laid down by their employers. Meanwhile, self-taught programmers often abhor restrictions on their work, and few are ever satisfied in the working world. Therefore, you can maintain motivation (and employment) by getting a degree first.
Read also: 5 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students
They Connect Future Tech Geniuses
Networking is vital to success in any field, and computer science is no different. You are much more likely to get that job at Google if you know someone who works there or has worked there in the past. What’s more, you are more likely to know someone who works at Google if you complete a computer science degree program.
In your courses, you will meet and connect with the next generation of computer scientists as well as a number of professors and speakers with their own networks of friends and former colleagues. Comparatively, the self-starter locked up at home has little chance to interact with anyone, dramatically lowering his or her chances of finding a job.
While there are indeed a handful of examples of tech geniuses who made it big without degrees, these stories are largely from the generations before computers were essential to everyday life. Today, you need something to stand out amongst the legions of typical computer users, and that something is a computer science degree.
[Image via Google Images]