Rethinking the College Degree

It’s sad but it’s true. The cost of a college degree is becoming increasingly unreachable, and annual cost for a degree from a public university is approaching $20,000, and private universities cost nearly $30,000 a year. Those who pursue that degree often graduate with a mountain of debt and no job prospects.

It’s true that on average a college graduate earns more, but it’s also true that the nature of computer programming has shifted since the days of cardboard punch cards. Development platforms, object-oriented programming, and formal methodologies have eliminated much of the complexity, and created an environment in which the wheel need not be re-invented for every application. While promoters of college educations hold out big promises – pumping up minds with fantastic visions of a Gatesperian rise toward fame and riches – the fact is that today, proficiency at programming, particularly in the C# environment, does not require a Baccalaureate degree. The good news is that anyone willing to work hard and learn with an open mind can absorb the material and build a good, solid career as a software systems programmer, with no degree required.

Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone…

C# is the powerful, multi-paradigm programming language for Microsoft’s.Net platform, and being able to use it skillfully will open doors of opportunity. A C# course can certainly be taken at a university, but the real key to legitimate programming opportunity lies in C# proficiency (which can be achieved with a few months of dedicated study and practice), as opposed to degree status.

The fact is that employers don’t care if you have a college degree in software development; they don’t care if you have four legs and an antenna coming out of your head…what matters is: ‘are you able to skillfully and proficiently speak the language, build enterprise solutions and solve problems?’ If you can, your chances for a career as a software systems programmer are better than good.

Programming for Success

The best way to approach gaining a full understanding of C# is quite simple. The college experience of course, has value, but if you’re looking to gain proficiency in C# and start a successful career, the degree path is no longer necessary. A single online course will not teach you everything you need to know about the language, but a great course can help build a strong foundation. Additional knowledge will be achieved in the workplace through hands-on experience and toil.

It won’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t take four years, either. It is also best to familiarize yourself with C# using a course which allows you to go at your own speed and to freely access and view materials, anytime and anywhere. The reason for the failure of education systems around the world is, in part, the failure to recognize that everyone learns differently and at a different pace. It’s going to take time to learn C#, and your success will very likely be determined by how much work you put in the front-end. That is up to you, which is why the ability to access and view the material any time is such a powerful component to developing the type of organic C# knowledge base that leads to expert proficiency.

The proof is in the pudding

Gaining a strong understanding of the fundamentals of C# should be your starting point toward a rewarding and challenging career as a software systems programmer. Understanding fundamental C# concepts and being able to apply knowledge in real-time gives you legitimate value…Memorizing phrases to receive a grade in a university-level course does not.

There is nothing wrong with pursuing a college degree in software development. But if you really want to be able, some day, to demonstrate expert proficiency then you have to build a comprehensive and deep understanding of C# when it comes to the basic concepts and fundamental structures. Diplomas look nice hanging on the wall, but – in this field – the proof is in the pudding, and a shorter-term specialized course will give you everything you need.