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Lucy Oleschuk
Level 31

Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students

Published in the Random group
If you still believe that a Computer Science (CS) degree is an indispensable credential in the IT world, we offer you to reconsider this notion. In this article, we have collected real stories of our students who have become Java developers without the traditional academic degree. Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students - 1Moreover, these are the stories of career switchers who delved into IT with zero tech background. They have embraced change, proving that pursuing a passion can lead to success in IT. Let's get some inspiration. Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students - 2Before becoming the development team lead, Vasyl embarked on a lengthy journey — he obtained a degree in electrical engineering and worked in ecology. In school, Vasyl attended advanced IT classes. Unfortunately, he didn't secure a spot on CS faculty because of his scores. Yet, he enrolled in his second-priority choice, electromechanics. During his final year in the university, Vasyl got his first serious job in environmental engineering (he worked for 4.5 years in this field). What prompted him to switch careers? He realized that his sister earned significantly more as a QA at a certain point. While still working in environmental engineering, he failed to learn C++ and C#. Then, he turned to various Java video tutorials and eventually entered the CodeGym course. Once Vasyl completed 3-4 levels, he realized he had progressed tremendously and subscribed for the whole course. At the same time, Vasyl attended offline Java courses. Thanks to his practical experience at CodeGym, he became the best student of those offline courses. That being said, the initial learning period was challenging — he studied at night due to his primary job as an environmental engineer, and his child was very young. It took him around eight months to complete his Java learning. Toward the end of the course, he joined a startup and became an online intern at CodeGym. In the internship chat, he spotted a Java junior job offer, submitted his resume, and successfully passed a 2.5-hour technical interview. Over time, he climbed the career ladder and became a team leader. Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students - 3Olexandr, formerly a blogger, video editor, and musician, began a successful career in development after moving to Poland. How did he manage to switch the country and career and thrive? Olexandr edited videos and ran his entertaining music channel on YouTube for quite a long time. In a word — his whole life was connected with creativity. "It seemed like programming was not a thing for me." — he says. Upon moving to Poland, Olexandr managed to land a job as a video editor, but he used to work 200-300 hours per month, including weekends. This was necessary to settle in another country. At some point, he realized Poland was filled with numerous IT companies offering excellent salaries and standard work schedules. Olexandr's choice shifted to programming, and he stumbled upon CodeGym. While working as a video editor, he dedicated 3-4 hours on weekends and half an hour on weekdays to learning Java. He studied for approximately 18 months, reaching the 35th level and completing two internships. As a helping hand, Olexandr found a mentor on CodeGym who assigned some extra tasks to him, helped Olexandr write code, and then performed code reviews. In early 2019, Olexandr referred to his company's management and told them he was proficient in programming. He also conveyed his desire to establish an IT department in the company, where he could opt for a new role. The company satisfied his requirements and assigned Olexandr a portion of technical work. Over time, Olexandr's skill set increased. As well as his salary. "Even now, I don't feel I can code well enough. It's probably because I work alone in the IT department and don't have my code reviewed. That's why I'd like to transition to a big IT company. I feel like that will be the next big step for me." Olexandr was recently invited to interview at EPAM, a well-known American company specializing in software engineering, digital platform engineering, and digital product design. The company doesn't require a CS degree, but having a technical background would be advantageous. Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students - 4Pavlo graduated from the university with a degree in "Computer Systems Engineering" and worked as a system administrator for over 15 years. Then, he realized he didn't want to tie his entire life to system administration and decided to switch to development. "I chose Java since when I looked through developer job offerings, I noticed that Java specialists were in higher demand than others." — he says. Pavlo came across the CodeGym website almost immediately after its launch. Motivational lectures and automatic task-checking are the key things that attracted him. Pavlo's learning path wasn't smooth — he took long breaks up to 6 months. Eventually, he completed the CodeGym course. After graduation, Pavlo entered an online internship program, where he continued to hone his knowledge of Spring and Hibernate. Closer to the end of the internship, Pavlo crafted a resume and created a GitHub profile. It took him about four months to get his dream job. "I got the job I wanted. Of course, I could develop in system administration: look for more interesting job opportunities, negotiate a higher salary, and tackle more complex tasks. But I think I found my vocation as a developer." Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students - 5Before venturing into programming, Artem worked as a rehabilitation specialist, helping people to recover. He worked in this field for about a year but realized he wanted to transition to another sphere. Lots of Artem's friends were involved in programming, and Artem knew that they were satisfied and earned good money. That's why Artem decided to try programming himself. "At first, I devoted 13-16 hours to programming each day, including weekends." — he says. Artem woke up around 7-8 in the morning, had breakfast, grabbed his laptop, and went to his other apartment or the nearest cafe to avoid distractions. He dedicated himself to studying for 13 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Initially, he watched tutorials on YouTube and read Java books, but after a while, his friend shared a link to the CodeGym course. Artem completed the whole course in three months and even developed a game "Snake." By the end of the course, Artem's friend launched a startup project aimed at developing an Android app for stores worldwide. Artem joined the project as an intern. "I was immediately offered a salary twice more than my rehabilitation post." During the first 2-3 months, Artem took no break, working for 8 hours and then spending some time learning new things related to Android. "In programming, there are no limits. You can always learn something new." — Artem believes. Currently, Artem works in a large company, where his main tasks include fixing server errors and enhancing the code." Why You Don't Have to Earn a CS Degree to Be a Software Developer? Real Success Stories from Our Students - 6Our final story is about Alex, a marketer who started learning Java following the recommendation of his friends. While working as a marketing specialist, he met many developers and gradually began to think that a career in sales may not be as promising as he thought before. At first, Alexey attended courses on JavaScript. However, he didn't find this programming language appealing and even started to think that coding might not be his thing. After some time, Alexey decided to try learning Java with CodeGym. "Java is the coolest programming language ever, essential for almost any project. So, there will always be a job for a Java programmer." Alexey also noted that having a mentor during the course was essential, as the mentor explained the material and gave valuable feedback. After completing the first module, Alexey began to search for a job and received an offer from a British company quite soon. "They offered me an internship at first. And if everything goes smoothly, I'll join the team." — Alexey says. During the internship, Alexey tried to simultaneously grasp the materials provided by the company and the CodeGym course. It was challenging, but it was well worth it. Eventually, Alexey received a real job offer, and now he works officially as a Junior Java Engineer.

How to Start Your Transformation?

If you're thinking about switching to IT, CodeGym is an optimal course to start with. CodeGym is suitable for students with zero technical background. CodeGym has two programs to choose from:

Group learning

The program is designed for 12 months, and during this time, you'll have 90-minute lessons (twice a week) with a real mentor who is an experienced Java developer. Besides the mentor's support, you can refer to chat, asking Java experts to help with Java theory or solving tasks. The course consists of 6 modules and empowers students with everything they need to master Java, learn the best coding practices, and create ten cool projects to add to their GitHub portfolio. Pros: individual support from an experienced mentor; a balanced curriculum created by experts; interaction with peers, which can add motivation and competitiveness. Cons: you must adjust your schedule to regular lectures and homework.

Solo learning

It's an online program for learning Java at your own pace. The course is suitable for those who want to study programming from scratch. It consists of 1200+ tasks within step-by-step lessons. This self-paced course instantly verifies your task and hints at improving the code. The course has different quizzes, coding projects, and even a game section where you can create your games. Pros: the ability to create a flexible work-study schedule; ideal for introverts who dislike communicating that much. Cons: if you have problems with self-discipline, there is a higher chance that you may quit at some point.


In conclusion, we hope our real stories have demonstrated that a traditional CS degree is not the only path to a successful career in IT. Passion, determination, and the right resources like CodeGym can enable career switchers with no tech background to excel in the ever-evolving IT industry.