Looking for a programming job can be intimidating, especially if you are a programmer without a degree. Sometimes it feels like every employer is looking for someone with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in CS. But don’t worry, in this article I will show you eight companies where you can get a job as a software engineer. No degree required.

1. Google

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Google is famous for its brilliant engineers, but as of 2018, those engineers no longer need to have degrees. The company recently decided to get rid of its degree requirement for all positions across the board. And with all of the perks like free food and 20% time Google is famous for, who wouldn’t want to work there? Don’t expect the process to be easy, though. Google’s technical interviews are notoriously difficult. If you want to prepare for an interview at Google, check out this article.

2. Apple

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Want to work in a spaceship? Unless you want to become an astronaut, working at Apple’s futuristic headquarters may be your best bet. Apple was, of course, founded by college dropout Steve Jobs and self-taught programmer Steve Wozniak. In a move consistent with it’s founding team’s backgrounds, Apple recently announced you no longer need a degree to work there. The reason, according to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, is that “Many colleges do not teach the skills business leaders need most in their workforce, such as coding.” You would think the creators of Think Different would have taken this step to increase their talent pool a long time ago, but better late than never!

3. IBM

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Next on the list is Apple’s former archrival IBM. Unlike other companies on this list merely accepting applicants without a degree, IBM is aggressively hiring self-taught programmers. They even created an initiative called New Collar designed to find overlooked talent from non-traditional backgrounds. Sam Ladah, IBM’s head of talent organization, said the following about New Collar: “We consider them [job candidates] based on their skills, and don’t take into account their educational background. This includes applicants who didn’t get a four-year degree but have proven their technical knowledge in other ways. Some have technical certifications, and others have enrolled in other skills programs. We’ve been very successful in hiring from [coding] boot camps.” You can learn more about IBM’s New Collar initiative here.

4. LinkedIn

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Like IBM, LinkedIn doesn’t just hire software engineers without degrees: it has an entire outreach program to try to recruit them. Their outreach program is called REACH. LinkedIn describes it as “a multi-year program where individuals with a passion for engineering will work in technical roles to build their skillset and gain the experience needed to become an Applications, Mobile, User Interface, Site Reliability, or Artificial Intelligence Engineer.” According to their website, they created the program because they believe top talent can come from anywhere. You can read more about their initiative here.

5. Facebook

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It isn’t a surprise Facebook ended up on this list, considering Mark Zuckerberg famously dropped out of Harvard to pursue building his company full-time. According to Facebook’s VP of HR Janelle Gale, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to apply for a job at Facebook. Or, as Gale puts it, “If they have a passion for what they are doing, and an interest in building a community for billions of people, and they have the technical skills and the interest to do that, we want them, no matter what their background.” If Facebook’s perks aren’t enough to convince you to want to work there, maybe this will: they have foxes that live on their campus! Seriously, there are adorable foxes running around outside.

6. Pinterest

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Look at that office view! With a view like that, how could you not want to work at Pinterest? Luckily, you can! In 2016, Pinterest launched an apprenticeship program specifically aimed at recruiting more self-taught programmers. Pinterest says it is for “individuals from non-traditional technical backgrounds (candidates without a 4-year computer science degree) with industry experience building, testing, and implementing software projects…” You can read more about their program here (it is currently closed but should open again in the future).

7. Airbnb

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Airbnb is one of the companies that defined the sharing economy. With the company set to go public soon, it is a great time to apply for a job there. Fortunately, you don’t need a computer science degree to work as a software engineer at Airbnb. It is yet another company on this list with a program designed to recruit programmers without degrees. Their program is called Airbnb Connect. Airbnb Connect has both an engineering and data science track. You can learn more about Airbnb Connect here.

8. eBay

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According to an interview with Cosmopolitan (no idea why Cosmopolitan wrote an article about getting a job at eBay), you do not need a computer science degree to work as a software engineer at eBay. The eBay executive from the article said: “For many of our tech positions, a computer science degree is most common, but we look at all aspects of qualifications.” That makes sense, considering I worked as a software engineer there without a degree and wrote a book about my experience (now available as a course as well).  

Closing Thoughts

Although it is becoming less frequent, I still often hear people say you cannot get a job as a programmer without a degree. I hope this article shows not only can you get a job as a programmer without a computer science degree, but many companies are also going out of their way to recruit us!

With so many top tech companies dropping degree requirements and creating programs designed to find self-taught technical talent, it looks like at some point degrees might even become a thing of the past.

But regardless of how things turn out, right now, most of the world’s top tech companies are open to hiring self-taught programmers. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and get your dream job!

Best of luck!

Published by Cory Althoff

Cory Althoff is a self-taught programmer and writer. He is the author of "The Self-Taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally."

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