A career in software engineering is one of the most lucrative ones in the modern job market, with a median salary of about $95,000 per year and unemployment rate of 2.5 percent. However, many students get discouraged from this vocational choice due to the necessity to take a 4-year course in computer science. However, is it really necessary? And if yes, is it all that difficult? Let’s try and find out.

1.    4 Years Is a Long Time

With the world of software development changing all the time, 4 years is an enormously long period, and course programs often are incapable of keeping up with the times. If you start a course today, you risk emerging at the other end armed with the knowledge that isn’t exactly obsolete but isn’t quite the bleeding edge either. If you study on your own – or, rather, by choosing what you want to learn by yourself, contacting practicing programmers and building up your personal network, you will be able to get a better feel of what exactly is trending today and found your choices on it. But…

2.    Getting a College Degree in CS Isn’t That Difficult

Many people are led to believe that computer science is some kind of esoteric knowledge open only for the chosen few, and those who don’t have some mysterious affinity with it shouldn’t even bother trying. Nothing can be further from the truth: although some people are better at it and some are worse, there is nothing you won’t be able to learn if you apply enough effort. In addition to that, you can always get software engineering homework help from some online service or another if the going gets really tough. Nevertheless…

3.    Practical Knowledge Is Usually Worth More than a Degree

Many experts say that unless you intend to study at MIT or Stanford, your degree is going to mean much less than a few apps on your track record. The problem is, most colleges have serious trouble keeping up with technology, and spending four years actually using practical skills and building real software will mean much more in your resume than a purely theoretical degree. However…

4.    Learning on Your Own Is Difficult

Much more difficult than just meeting the requirements of your professors and lazily scraping up enough credits to get through the course.Everything is up to you: the intensity of your effort, how much time you spend studying, which languages you choose to concentrate on. Unless you have a very good idea of what your eventual goal is, when you intend to achieve it, how much you intend to earn and where you will work, you won’t be able to succeed. If you know that you are not disciplined enough to control yourself and apply concentrated effort for prolonged periods of time, better try something else. At the same time…

5.    College Degree Will Give You a Solid Grounding in Theory

After getting a degree, you will have a much better understanding of algorithms, data structures, and computer science theory in general. The keyword here is “theory” – all this information is certainly interesting and valuable, but it isn’t indispensable. If you want a solid foundation on which to build on, by all means, go for it and enroll. If you want to jump into action right away, try cheaper and faster alternatives.

In the long run, there is no clear winner. A college degree will give you a safer and easier start, it requires less discipline and goal-orientedness while teaching yourself is more likely to bring better results fast – as long as you are motivated enough.