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Three tips to land a software engineering job without a degree, according to a self-taught expert

Althoff has made it his mission to break down the most complex industry jargon to the simplest of forms so others can make a career change without needing a 4-year degree. Picture: Nappy.co

Althoff has made it his mission to break down the most complex industry jargon to the simplest of forms so others can make a career change without needing a 4-year degree. Picture: Nappy.co

Published Apr 8, 2022

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Durban - The average Software Engineer salary in South Africa ranges from R205 000 to R683 000.

You can also get into this lucrative career without needing a qualification, according to self-taught programmer and author, Cory Althoff.

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Althoff graduated with a qualification in political science but veered off that path and instead taught himself to code.

He eventually became a software engineer at the American multinational e-commerce corporation, e-Bay.

With two books under his belt, The Self-taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally (2017) and The Self-Taught Computer Scientist: The Beginner's Guide to Data Structures & Algorithms (2021), Althoff believes anyone can teach themselves how to do programming.

Althoff has made it his mission to break down the most complex industry jargon into the simplest of forms so others can make a career change without needing a four-year degree.

Here are Althoff’s three tips you should consider if you want to step into the degree-dominated field of a Software Developer:

1. Re-examine and apply your past experience to the IT industry

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It might seem like you have none of the skills listed on job postings, but "soft skills" can be surprisingly important and many skills are transferable to IT roles.

2. Earn industry certifications

Getting certified may be the fastest way to break into information technology. While a tech degree can take 1-4 years, certifications can be studied for and earned in just a few weeks.

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3. Learn relevant tech skills and gain experience

Follow your interests and teach yourself about software and hardware in your free time.

You'll be able to add these skills to your resume once you're competent at them, and they just might make the difference between getting hired and getting looked over.

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Utilising YouTube and learning from countless free videos is a great way to learn new skills and reinforce old ones.

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