Computer Science Degrees Are Worthless For Web Developers



and this kind of stems from a newsletter or an email I sent out to my newsletter the other day it was actually just this past weekend in the newsletter this is what I said so I'm just going to read this to you and then I want to read one of the responses that I got and I want to address some of the things that were brought up there because I think the response really articulates what a lot of people who are really on the other side of this for me happen to believe and I think they happen to be wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong so I wanna I want to address this and figure out what the truth is all right so I said I think college is a complete waste of time for web developers according to 2010 census data only 20 percent 27 percent of college graduates have a job that's closely related to their degree field it's worse for developers I personally know developers who spent tens of thousands of dollars getting their CS degree and still have to teach themselves how to actually program which I do my little brother is a really good example of that you know he spent how much getting his siesta green he graduated his CS degree and applied for a java application developer job and didn't didn't know Java he couldn't write a java application well that sucks now I've talked about how that's not necessarily a big deal for a lot of employers but the fact that you spent that much money and you don't know how to code the thing that you need to know it it doesn't make a ton of sense and that's Java that's to more your enterprise not pure web type stuff so again I really do know Pete he's not the only one by the way but he's the example that I like to talk about and bring up so I continue on the email eight weeks of Java at 9:00 in the morning after a totally rad party ain't going to cut it for actually writing Java applications again to interject here that's one of the things that I find so funny about college here's the thing I've been to college I'm I'm like six classes away from from having my degree I could go back and if I really if a degree were really that important I could go back for those six classes spend about a year probably not even a full year and get my degree and the thing is I could do that spend the money and it would mean absolutely zero for my career which is why I don't do it but I've been to college I spent better part of four years in college so I know how it goes you know you you people like to pretend like they're there showing up to class all I've got my books and I'm all ready to go and I'm I mean I'm sure there's some people that are like that but the majority of these people who push back against what I'm saying I'm sure we're showing up to classes just like I was uh hungover from the night before with my mind really not on what I was doing and I got an eight-week primer you know I get an eight-week primer on whatever the topic was I I didn't go for a CS degree so I wasn't studying that kind of stuff but whatever the topic is it doesn't matter when you show up and you're you're hungover not really in the mindset are you're worrying about the girl who at lunch who looked at you and you thought oh maybe she'd like whatever all the stuff that happens at college it's it's just it's silly to pretend like this is some hardcore intensive that people are going through for these these CS degrees again I'm sure there's people that do it but if I had to guess the massive mass majority do not all right so continuing on I said I'm sure there's some value in knowing theory which I do believe but for a web developer getting a CS degree in order to web develop is something like going to dentistry school to learn how to brush your teeth total overkill completely unnecessary and likely won't actually help you much so this is the response that I got that I think kind of typifies what a lot of people who disagree with me think so this is from Janet and she says I've enjoyed a lot of the stuff you've written but I am so tired of hearing getting a college degree as a waste of time it is people without a college degree who spout emails and verbiage like this did you know that 99% of webdev jobs out there with good companies reguiar require a CS degree the truth is you need a college degree in extra classes to advance your skills now stop putting college degrees down I give credit to people credit who get them a lot have to work and support themselves or their families while they're going to college people who get college degrees should be proud of themselves ok so I want to go I want to pull out some of the things here that I think are important that we should talk about first off I'm so tired of hearing about getting college nobody cares what you're tired of hearing and I don't care it's it's this kind of a typical emotional response that means nothing right it you can feel that way that's fine but it has nothing to do with the argument that we're making there and I want to point that out because a lot of people will bring this up of I'm tired of hearing this or people always say that are you just being mean or this that's not the case at all and the fact that you might feel that way means nothing to the actual fact of whether or not a college degree is worth it for web developers and the fact that it says it's people without a college degree who spout emails and verbiage like this okay I don't have a college degree and I'm saying it you could maybe say that I can tell you I could very easily go get mine and I if I did I would still say the exact same thing so there's that me having degree or not having degree has nothing to do with the argument I'm making here okay it's not some sort of jealousy or whatever as a matter of fact the reason I talk about this is how much time I wasted it's my experience going to college that makes me talk about this and how much time and money I wasted how much debt are they accumulate accumulated for nothing so that's that's really what brings this up for me having a degree or not having gree has nothing to do the argument I'm making and people without degrees could very well make a sound argument against having them that has nothing to do with anything all right so now here's where we get in to some of the quote-unquote factual statements did you know that 99% of webdev jobs okay this is a this is now this is making a factual statement I'm not saying it's true I'm saying what here is now not an opinion it's not an emotion we're talking about facts so 99% of webdev jobs out there with good companies require a CS degree well we can actually we can actually check that that's something that we can fact fact check and that's one of the things that we're going to do here next is the truth is so apparently Janet has access to some form of truth that the rest of us don't have and she's going to relay that truth to us here so the truth is you need you need a college degree and extra classes to advance your skill again she's saying the truth is you need you have to have college class or a college degree in extra classes to advance your skills again that's something that we can and frankly I could it's almost addressable right off the top it's silly to think that you need a college degree to advance your skills especially in the web development community given the fact that a lot of the programs you might enroll in especially a CS program at a college isn't going to teach you any of those skills that you need for web development so to think that you need a college degree and an extra classes advance your skills is silly you can get all those skills again you to me Linda YouTube all sorts of other places finally she goes into the last part of it I give credit to people who get them they should be proud of themselves they have to work hard while supporting again none of that has anything to do with the actual arguments the factual arguments being made here it's all just kind of an appeal to emotion right go they work hard so don't rag on them I'm not ragging on them it's fine if they got their degree of it I'm not saying that those people are stupid that's not what I'm saying I'm more concerned about the people who are looking to start getting into it now and don't really know why don't have a clear plan for what they're doing all right so that's the response I really want to look at the 99 percent of web jobs require it and you need college degree in order to advance your skills now it's it's it's one of the tricks that people do in thinking they say they put a condition in there that's untestable it's completely subjective so something like with good companies means no one knows what it means but it's provocative there's no way who defines what a good company is what are the criteria then how do you test for etc you could manipulate that in so many ways so one of the simplest things that we can do to look at that is just say well do 99% of all jobs that are related to web development require degree and so I just did a I went over to to indeed calm and just did a simple kind of analysis over there now you could dig into these more if you want to do this and prove this to yourself but take these numbers for what they're worth so if I do a search nationwide for web developer over on Indicom which indeed calm is a search essentially a search engine for jobs it's one of if not the largest job search engines out there and so there's hundreds probably millions of jobs posted on indeed calm and it helps looking at the data helps give you a decent snapshot of what's actually going on in the job market what types of jobs companies are actually posting for and so if I do a search over there for web developer nationwide that's it I get fifty two thousand three hundred and two jobs that show up and if we look at the salary estimates you know forty five thousand our 70,000 and plus thirty six thousand or eighty five thousand and plus we go all the way to the top which is 150 thousand plus there's 8800 jobs available at that that income range and if you look at experience level they have mid-level senior level an entry level so there's 27,000 mid-level jobs and there's seven thousand nine hundred six entry level jobs which are kind of the ones that will focus on there's eighty three hundred senior level jobs but so that's just doing a nationwide search that you know there's no qualifiers or anything if I add the qualifier of getting rid of the terms – bachelor's degree so you can do negative kind of keyword terms on the search engine so what that means is if any of if the Job Description has the word bachelor's or degree in it it's going to be removed from this search now that's a fairly broad search that's probably going to remove some things that maybe don't completely require a degree but I'm trying to give the complete benefit of the doubt here make my case the worst it could be and see where we land so if I do that the number of jobs available do so these are jobs that are available that most likely don't require a bachelor's degree okay so if I do that it does drop but it drops to twenty-five thousand so it cuts about in half so far cry from the ninety nine percent that that Janet gave us which again I understand is probably hyperbole but that's what they do that they're not based they're thinking isn't based off of any factual information it's just this is how I feel about it I've been told this and so I want to believe that this is important and so I'm just going to make up percentages well 99 fifty percent is nowhere close to ninety nine percent if we look at the income ranges this is one of the ones that I find interesting if you look at so if you look at the $115,000 a year plus salary range again with no qualifiers there's eighty eight hundred jobs available jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree there's fifty eight hundred available that's more than half it's about probably three quarters so even at the highest income levels there's still tons of jobs available for web developers that don't require degrees if you look at Cena entry-level jobs there were seventy nine hundred the qualifiers and there's fifty five hundred available again much higher still available than fifty percent so for entry-level jobs that that tells you chances are for an entry-level job it's not going to require a bachelor's degree which is the point I've always made if you're going to college to get the skills there's a specific set of skills you know what they are and they're going to be given to you through your cs degree and what you're actually getting and learning is what you want what you know you're going to need and use in your career then so be it do your thing do your thing but for web developers that's that's rarely the case I mean that's the thing about it that's why I said I said specifically CS degrees are useless for web developers because in a CS degree that's you're rarely going to learn they don't spend a ton of time on web development that's been the experience of the people who I know who have CS degrees they'll talk about what they learned and it's not web development there's maybe a little mixed in but you're spending four years learning a bunch of other stuff you're spending tens of thousands of dollars learning a bunch of other stuff so if you're someone who wants to code who wants to program in be a web developer web developer I don't see s degree to me is not the way to go now as I mentioned at the beginning this is all under the cloud of the amount of debt that that people accumulate doing this getting these degrees to ultimately don't help them all that much and so just to run through some of these statistics so this is specific to America but I would imagine a lot of places have similar type scenarios so as a total Americans own nearly 1.3 trillion in student loan debt which is sped up spread out among 43 million borrowers and the average class of 2016 graduate has 37,000 172 in student loan debt which is up 6 percent from a year ago what I want you to get out of this is I want you to understand that if you want to be a web developer right the thing that you should be looking at now and considering now and weighing now is if you want to be a web developer and you think a cs degree is the way to do that I really want you to think that through to know exactly what you're going to learn in your CS degree is it really related to web development and at the end of the day is it worth how much you're going to spend and the amount of time you're going to put into it in order to get that degree and I don't want you to be fooled into thinking that simply having that degree is going to be all you need in order to have a successful career in web development chances are you're gonna spend that money you're gonna spend that time you're gonna get that degree you may or may not get hired and even if you do you're gonna have to go back and teach yourself web development anyway you

40 thoughts on “Computer Science Degrees Are Worthless For Web Developers

  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    College prepares you to be a functional individual within an environment. You have to speak the language and be able to communicate with your co-workers. You have to have the fundamentals in order to collaborate and be productive. Degree programs do not create full-fledged coders of any kind. There is so much more to successful web development than code alone. Code is the back-bone. You still need the flesh. A wig and some makeup doesn't hurt either. Just like art degree programs don't produce real artists.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I got an Associates degree in web design and had to teach myself it, after leaving college. College is so fast pace!

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    If you have the money and time for college then yes GO! If you can't then teach yourself

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Finally… someone makes that distinction. I get tired of hearing that you don't have to have a CS degree to do coding. Web development? Sure. Most websites don't deal with the kind of data that proper algorithms and data structures will matter to any significant degree. With that being said, a perfect example being someone I know working on an issue that had been around since the previous developer at the company. It took nearly an hour to run a specific task previously, and with a few sound CS principles and proper engineering, he had it finishing the task in less than a minute. Knowing a bit of JavaScript doesn't make you a software engineer and the difference in performance can be quite drastic.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    “Your emotions don’t matter” you’re being to edgy, yea they don’t impact facts but pointing it out like that makes you look like a 12 year old who just discovered facts vs emotions

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Dye your hair blond and you look like Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age band.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    You don't need college degree to be a web developer because people with advance college degree create libraries so that people without college degree can get a job. Do you need a college degree to be a web developer? NO… do you need a college degree to be able to write a webserver? YES. Or if you don't have a college degree, you were born smart and would have succeed regardless. Last time I check, most people are not smart

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Sitting in half my classes that talk about converting floating point numbers to decimal or how processors add and subtract doesn't help me understand how to contribute meaningful code to projects and applications. Most of what I do at University is worthless, and the only way I can learn in demand technologies like Vue, React, or other equivalents is to study on my own time.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    College costs too much money and that is the only issue people have with college. If it were completely free, then no one would be complaining if it was worth it or not.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    It’s much more difficult to move up into a higher position without a degree.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I 100% agree with this. I, luckily, only went as far as getting my associates degree, but I came out and didn't know anything about web development. And to the people who say that you learn theory and algorithms and data structures in college that you can't learn if you don't go I say, lies. There are so many resources out there on the Internet to learn anything you want when it comes to programming. I've learned more in the last 8 months than I did during my time in college.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    If you go to most CS classes with a hangover you either won't be able to graduate or your college is a shit show….

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I would only bother with a CS degree if I was going to code C++ or Java and work for some shitty mega-corp. As a freelance web dev, degrees are worthless.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Do you need a CS degree to learn simple shit like HTML? Hell fucking no. -_- A CS degree teaches you so much more than just web development specifically. Having a CS degree opens the door for many things as a developer.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    In other countries like Canada should for a year is like 16,000. It's way different in other countries

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Schools need to be way more hands on. I'm in for graphic design and we have to make things every week. And apply all the "theory" (can you call it theory?). I want to be a web dev so I'm doing web design and taking a few computer science classes. Mainly so I can take their high level cs.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I did a computer science degree. Total scam. Do not do it. Not even the university IT department will hire you. You need to teach yourself the skills after you graduate. Getting a CS degree is equivalent to being unemployed for at least 7 to 10 years in lost time and income. Average college years is 5.5 years and also factor in cost of the degree.

    Just skip the college and teach yourself the skills! Bachelors degrees are academic degrees, not apprenticeship or professional degrees. Academic degrees are not for learning skills to get a job. They are for people who want to go into university research or are rich enough that don't have to work. Nobody else should be getting academic degrees.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I'm in a sticky situation John. I used to be a computer scientist major, but it was just so taught, learning calculus and other stuff that I switched to game design. Now granted, I still have to learn programming, but I also learn other useful stuff such as 3d animation. However, I also still want to be a web developer also. I know I don't a CS degree to be one, heck half of all web developers don't have cs degrees. Do you have any advice on how to start on my path to web development? I know some html, CSS, but I have forgotten important lessons and re-teaching myself again. Also, you are completely right about CS degree. CS majors teach you about building robots and advanced stuff like that.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    No. Uou dont need a CS degree to be a web developer, but the purpose of a CS degree is to be a Scientist in the field of Computers. Web dev is just a very small part of it. A CS degree can move you into the field of Robotics, or Autounomus vehicle software dev. Most Cs degrees can move you into the It field or many other fields . A web dev is just a code jokey in a specialized field.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Depends on what field within Web Development you are aiming for. I find it really sad that employers almost always require post secondary degree as a prerequisite…. because we all know that technology changes so fast and you have to keep up to the point that degrees are irrelevant.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    You need a degree to get a job. All jobs require a BS. The only reason you need a BS is because of human resources.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    One more thing: in a depressed economy, with thousands and thousands of people applying for the same job, it's much easier for employees just to make a blanket statement that a CS degree is required.  That's just a quick way to cut the stack of resumes in half LOL  Of course, a lot of people lie about having a degree, and HR departments have no way of telling who is lying upfront (too expensive/time-consuming).

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    It depends what kind of job you want to be qualified for.  If you just want to be a front-end web developer for some business app, then just get a MS cert in web dev.  But if you are aiming your sites on a scientific job or working with complex math-based applications or some other high-tech scientific job, you need the science and the math.  For example, the guy in this video is definitely not the scientific type.  He crossed me as a party type, and sure enough, a few minutes later he said he bounced around to some party colleges but the hangovers he had made it hard to focus.   And there's nothing wrong with that.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    No offence but this title is such bullshit. I'm a computer science student and none of my subjects are worthless and my degree won't be worthless either.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    FINALLY YOUTUBE REMOVED THAT ANNOYING POPUP WHEN YOU SCROLL OF THE SCREEN. GREAT VIDEO JOHN.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Yes, I would agree with you that if you just want to be a web developer (frontend: html, javascript, css, angular, Jquery) you probably don't need a CS degree. But you probably will do more than just web development as you progress. Where is the content for your web coming from if you are doing dynamic web pages or web applications. it is coming from a database. now you need to know Database, some kind framework (spring, JSF ), may some kind of O/R mapping tools like hibernate. If they ever ask you to design an web application from ground up. You need to know how to design database schema, you need to know 3rd Normal Form.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    This video threw a big big sign at my face. I’m in a CS program currently taking my first semester of classes, and I do not enjoy the classes i’m taking, because they aren’t teaching me squat about web development. They’re teaching me conceptual stuff mainly with C++. As much as I would like learning this stuff on my own… I don’t think the CS degree would be worth it, but then I don’t know what other useful degree I should obtain if it isn’t CS?

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Of course, CS degrees are useless. It would be better to spend 1000 dollars in Udacity learning iOS or Android development. Colleges hate developing courses and this is a huge mistake!

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    A degree is still superior to no degree 8/10 times. Any field, any country, any time. So, yah, get your asses to college, it's not that hard in comparison to the lifetime value you attain. Transfering from a community college to a 4yr institution is feasable for 90% of the population. No excuses.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    College is waste of time! unless you want to be a doctor a lawyer! cuz there is no self-taught doctor and they're not allowed to open a clinic without certificate

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I've been umming and ahhing about leaving my CS degree and learning from textbooks and I've come to the realisation that I would not be able to focus on skill acquirement without the degree applying insane amounts of pressure.

    Also, I would be hard pressed to structure my learning so well and hard-pressed to meet peers and mentors.

    I hate my uni but it is better than studying by myself. That said, I've been applying for internships and if I get one, I'll most likely put my degree on hold. Feel sorry for you guys in US but don't worry, we have enough neo-liberal rich boys in the Australian parliament to fuck it up for us too.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Great video. I agree 100%. I could get my degree with about 5 more classes. I learned NOTHING that I use today in college. It was all theory and old tech when it comes to web dev. I really wish schools would update their curriculum. They dont care enough though, they're making a ton of money, why change it?

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    From what I've seen about 50% of the web development jobs I've seen require a bachelor's degree of some kind and there's plenty of others that require either that or equivalent experience. You can still get a job in web development without a bachelor of science, but you're qualified for about twice as many jobs if you have one.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I absolutely side with you. College is business. Even with all the money you pay to these schools, you most often have to teach yourself almost everything. I'm able to teach myself not only programming, but also some other CS related topics. I'm fluent in java, python, c++, sql, html, xml and others. Why bother with theory when it's all over the internet.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    CS and Web Dev are two completely different things. Also you need the theories of CS or we would still be running on CSS from 1998.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    This is true which is why web dev generally has lower pay.

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  • June 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    I’m studying accounting and finance, as weird as it might sound, i’m the best cs in my campus. I selftaught everything from algorithms and programming to hardware and computer building😂. It’s funny that I happen to learn it as hobby.

    Reply

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