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This is a tricky question, primarily because there is not a specific degree path for Software Developers. The most closely related degree program is computer science, and while this teaches some software development concepts, it is primarily focused on the theory surrounding software systems as a whole. Nevertheless, there are pros and cons to both options when it comes to pursuing a career in software development.

Why A Degree Is Helpful To A Career In Software Development

4-year degrees are beneficial to software developers, as well as most career paths, because they encourage critical thinking. Many degree-seeking programs are theoretical in nature and they provide students an environment to question why things are the way they are, good or bad. Critical thinking is a key skill for software developers and it helps many great developers build amazing programs that serve a real purpose. That being said, a degree specifically in Computer Science is not required to achieve this benefit; degrees in business, microbiology, anthropology and more will all provide opportunities to nurture an inquisitive nature that will benefit your software development career.

Transition From Any Degree To A Software Development Career

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Why A Certificate Is Helpful To A Career In Software Development

While degree programs provide valuable critical thinking skills, they often don’t provide the latest technical skills. If you want to really grow as a programmer you need to understand the latest tools and technologies which are often only taught through short-term certificate programs. A quality software development certificate program will provide tangible skills in languages such as Python or SQL that you can apply on the job immediately. Additionally, these programs will also provide lab work in an environment such as GitLab that you can then use on your software development job hunt.

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