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Today, I want to shine a light on an important topic that affects many talented individuals: the lack of opportunities in software development for those who don’t have a four-year college degreeMany among us cannot afford a college degreeOthers are in circumstances that time and personal constraints do not allow the luxury of taking four years to get a degree 

The reality is that software development skills, particularly entry level skills, can be self-taught, developed through bootcamps, associate degrees and in-house training programs.   

Yet, there is an arrogance within some segments of the industry that somehow equates talent and ability to code with a four-year degree.  It simply isn’t true.  

The software development industry thrives on innovation, creativity, and diverse perspectives. It’s essential that we tap into a broader pool of talent by providing opportunities for those who may not have the financial means, or perhaps the time, to pursue a traditional four-year college degree. The talents, creativity and intellectual capacity required to be a software developer exists in all facets of society, and in people from all backgrounds and experiences.   

Successful software developers can be folks who’ve always had a passion to write code, but they can also be people who want to change their career paths later in life, people who can’t afford college, or those who’ve experienced a dramatic change in circumstances and need to train and adapt quicklyFour year degrees certainly aren’t the answer for people in those circumstances.  

Here are a few steps we can take to create more opportunities for aspiring software developers:

  1. Promote alternative learning paths: Encourage and highlight alternative learning options, such as online courses, coding bootcamps, and self-guided learning resources. These avenues provide affordable and flexible opportunities for individuals to gain practical skills and knowledge in software development.
  2. Establish scholarship and financial aid programs: Collaborate with organizations, employers, and educational institutions to develop scholarships and financial aid programs specifically targeted at supporting individuals from low-income backgrounds. By alleviating the financial burden, we can make education and career advancement more accessible.
  3. Foster apprenticeship and internship programs: Partner with companies and industry professionals to establish apprenticeship and internship programs that provide hands-on experience and mentorship opportunities. These programs enable individuals to gain practical skills while earning a living, creating a sustainable path into the software development field.
  4. Advocate for inclusive hiring practices: Encourage employers to evaluate candidates based on their skills, experience, and potential, rather than solely on formal education. By prioritizing talent and potential, we can create a more level playing field and open doors for individuals who may not have traditional degrees but possess valuable skills.
  5. Support community initiatives: Get involved with local organizations and community groups that aim to bridge the opportunity gap in technology. By supporting these initiatives, we can collectively work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive tech ecosystem.

We founded PS Solutions on the belief that Software Development and surrounding technology can and should be done here in the U.S.  Unfortunately, we need to do better at creating talent here to fulfill the demands of a continuously growing industryWe can reshape the software development industry and ensure that economic barriers do not limit the dreams and aspirations of talented individuals. Let’s create a future where anyone with a passion for coding can thrive, regardless of their financial, or personal circumstances. 

If you’re passionate about this cause and would like to contribute or share your experiences, I invite you to connect with me. Let’s collaborate and make a difference in the lives of aspiring software developers who deserve equal opportunities.


Wayne Hippo is an owner and Managing Partner of PS Solutions, a custom software development and consulting firm with offices in Altoona, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Wilmington, NC.
You can reach Wayne at whippo@pssolutions.net 

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