Jumpstart Your Software Development Career Without a Degree: A Practical Guide

A university degree has long been a traditional route into the field of software development. However, with the rise of alternative learning paths, it's now possible to break into the industry without one.

In this blog post, we will explore practical ways individuals looking to start a career in software development can make themselves attractive to potential employers without going to university.

1. Learn through Courses and Tutorials

The internet is a goldmine of resources for aspiring software developers. Sign up for online courses and tutorials to get a feel for what's involved. These platforms offer a wide range of high-quality courses, many of which are created by prestigious institutions and industry leaders.

If you're new to coding, consider a programme that will give you plenty of support rather than being fully independent.  Providers such as Pitman Training offer hybrid learning programmes that combine the flexibility of online study, with local campus locations and coaching support.

2. Build a Strong Portfolio

Creating a portfolio is an essential step in showcasing your skills and accomplishments. Your portfolio should include personal projects, freelance work, and any open-source contributions. Make sure to provide detailed explanations of your work and emphasize the technologies and techniques you used.

Demonstrating your abilities can be more important than your certifications as it shows the quality of your work to potential employers.

3. Contribute to Open-Source Projects

Contributing to open-source projects is an excellent way to gain experience, improve your coding skills, and demonstrate your ability to collaborate with others. It also helps to establish your reputation within the software development community. Start by exploring GitHub or GitLab, identifying projects that interest you, and contributing by fixing bugs or adding new features.

4. Develop Your Skills in High-Demand Programming Languages

Focus on learning and mastering high-demand programming languages such as JavaScript, Python, Java, and C#. By becoming proficient in these languages, you increase your chances of landing a job and demonstrate your commitment to staying current with industry trends.

5. Gain Experience through Internships and Freelance Work

Internships and freelance work can provide invaluable hands-on experience, allowing you to build your skills, network, and resume. Look for opportunities on job boards, freelance websites, and social media platforms like LinkedIn.

6. Attend Meetups and Networking Events

Networking is crucial for any aspiring software developer. Attend local tech meetups, conferences, and networking events to build connections with professionals in the industry. These connections can lead to potential job opportunities and valuable insights into the job market.

7. Obtain Relevant Certifications

While a university degree may not be in your plans, certifications can help validate your skills and boost your credibility. Consider obtaining certifications in areas such as web development, cloud computing, or data analysis from organizations like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and Google.

Diploma programmes that demonstrate your skills as a Web Developer or Software Developer will show to potential employers the range of skills you possess, and the degree of commitment you have made to your career.

8. Master Soft Skills

In addition to technical expertise, employers value soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. Practice these skills by collaborating on projects with others, participating in hackathons, and engaging in online forums.


Breaking into the software development industry without a university degree is achievable with dedication and a strategic approach. By leveraging online resources, building a robust portfolio, networking, and obtaining certifications, you can make yourself an attractive candidate to potential employers. With perseverance and hard work, your dream of becoming a software developer can become a reality.