The forums ran from 2008-2020 and are now closed and viewable here as an archive.

Home Forums Other Do web developer employers care about your college education?

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • Author
  • #149021

    Im a few days from attending my first day of college and have already picked my classes. What i discovered was that i wont even be taking the web development classes i applied for when i begin college. Im actually thinking of not going. So i want to know if employers of computer programmers care as much about your college education? I would think they would be more interested in your portfolio.


    Depends on the company. Some will require degrees, some won’t. ALL will expect a good portfolio and demonstrated ability.
    SO, you might be able to skip the classes, but not the learning. : )

    Also depends on the classes: you say “web development classes” – I’ve had some experiences helping people with college web assignments, and the courses/assignments have always been uniformly mundane and horribly behind-the-curve in terms of best practices. (And that’s the better assignments.)

    If you want “design,” take classes in art, graphic design, and so forth.

    If you want “development,” take classes in computer science.

    But “web” design/dev? You can learn better HTML+CSS+javascript in the real world. To echo Chris Coyier, “just build websites.”


    I’m thinking about taking web development courses that teach me only web development instead of going to college and taking classes that will do no nothing for my career.


    But “web” design/dev? You can learn better HTML+CSS+javascript in the real world. To echo Chris Coyier, “just build websites.”


    Schools are very good at getting money out of you. When I went to school for a Bachelor of Commerce I was told that I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to take any business courses for the first two years of my degree. That makes absolutely zero sense. What they wanted me to do was spend money for four years of schooling and not just two.

    I work for a pretty big studio and have no formal training or degree in web development. Of the near 20 developers that we have (ranging from iOS apps, consulting work [client sites], WordPress/Tumblr/Shopify themes) I don’t think any of us have a relatable degree.


    no “formal” CS training here, either.
    My degree’s in Education and Child Development :)


    Do web developer employers care about your college education?

    Governmental, state and educational institutions almost always do. With private employers is more about “show me the goods” and I’ll tell you if you got what we need for you to fit in or not.


    I’m feeling really comfortable about not going to college and instead paying 500 bucks for a course that teaches me just web development and nothing more. It just feels like college is a waste of time and money when it comes to learning Computer programming considering that I have already taught myself pretty much half of what I need to know.


    …not going to college and instead paying 500 bucks for a course that teaches me just web development and nothing more.

    I think you missed my meaning.
    (Or, if not and you simply disagree, that’s fine – just making sure.)

    Yes, I have serious doubts about the usefulness (the validity, even) of “Web Design” as a degree or specialization. It’s too narrow and arbitrary a focus. But taking out the general education component doesn’t solve that – it simply strips any possible benefit from your schooling.


    My own personal opinion is that college is a big, fat, money stealing scam lol. No doubt, some benefit, but there is no way that it is for everyone. I regret going every single month I have to make a payment to my student loans.

    I believe, or at least I hope, that the degree requirement will completely vanish one day, as talent and experience become the #1 factor outlining candidates.

    That’s why I fully support subscription sites like Lynda, Codeschool, and Treehouse, because they are focused on teaching you up to the minute standards and the money saved compared to going to school is bananas. If they were around when I went to school, I would have gone that route in a heart beat.

    Colleges needs some serious reform, imo, but that is a different debate. @Jarolin, all you can do is research, weigh your options, and don’t be afraid to think for yourself. Sounds like you’re on the right track; Good luck, fam.

    Eric Gregoire

    I took a low-key approach and attended a community college. I don’t regret my college experience one bit. I feel it was completely worth the investment of time and money. However, I felt that none of the classes I attended were completely worth it. I could have attended the first few sessions and carried on learning the rest myself after gaining some sort of foundation. What I felt was more worthwhile was my ability to network with peers with similar interests and to learn how to collaborate with others on projects and communicate effectively. Those are skills that employers frequently value more than talent.

    The part I value most about my years in school were the opportunities I took. I was hired on as a tutor for the school which allowed me to help other students with assignments in classes that I was attending or had attended. It was a lot like the forums here on css-tricks where someone comes in with a problem, you help them out, and you learn something along the way.

    During my second year, I was hired for an internship through my school in their marketing department. There I learned way more than what I had in any of my classes. It’s a lot easier to search high and low for a solution to a problem or learn new techniques when you have an employer expecting it of you. I learned everything I needed to know about responsive design during this internship before my coursework even introduced those concepts.

    Overall, the opportunities were a good way to make some scratch while I lived away from home and I generated a great network of valuable references and peers. In conjunction with all that, my degree landed me a job as an in-house web designer within a successful corporation with some great people. Now I’m the first in the marketing department to telecommute based on being indispensable as an employee now that I’ve moved away in search of bigger opportunities.

    Attending college is a lot like attending conferences. You pay to get access to people speaking about stuff you may know all or at least something about but in an environment with spectacular networking opportunities and the facilities to turn it into something truly worthwhile. Employers generally do care about what type of degree you have, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to get an interview anyway and show them why more credentials doesn’t make a better employee.


    For instance, I have a computer science bachelors degree. Of that, maybe 10% is pure web development (my current field of choice), the rest are courses that built up my understanding. I have a decent foundation in databases, operating systems, Human-Computer Interaction, algorithms, distributed systems, networks, written and spoken communication, algebra…

    This is what I was referring to – a curriculum based on “the web” (be it at a college, or a vocational-type school) is going to leave you with a very narrow knowledge base, even within the field of study. It’s like studying to be a nurse that only knows how to take your blood pressure. The only thing that learning “nothing more” will give you is -maybe- blissful ignorance. So, whatever you choose, “learn more.”

    Eric Gregoire

    @traq That and, in many schools, the curriculum is reused for four years or more before it’s updated; a great way to learn archaic practices and how to use obsolete tools. Not to mention, some students take a class with the old curriculum which then gets updated the next semester which leaves you feeling totally gypped.


    Thank you all for your help. I decided to attend but only for the first semester. If its not a waste of time or if i enjoy going at all ill finish. But if i find it to be a waste of time i will probably drop out.


    Congrats on your choice to attend. I hope it works out for you.

    As far as your question is concerned, I agree with many of the others here. Employers are most concerned with results. So the solid portfolio is a must. In my experience, your education tends to be up to interpretation.

    I look at it this way. If there are 2 candidates with comparable portfolios, yet one of them has a degree, chances are the employer will side with that individual. A degree, in the eyes of employers, tends to imply solid time management, discipline, etc.


    It depends on the employers.

    I started coding when I was 12 and obviously I wasn’t in college… I chose a totally different degree than Computer science but I work as project manager for a web agency. Don’t think having a degree will get you the job. It may help but there’s nothing like a folio.

    Experience means a lot more than any paper stuck in the time !

    Computer science changes everyday… New techniques, new approach, new tools… Follow the trends, read, practice and you’ll be just fine.

    Good luck !

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • The forum ‘Other’ is closed to new topics and replies.