It’s becoming more and more common for companies to hire self-taught programmers, also known as “citizen developers.” As a result, computer science degrees seem much less important for finding a development job than they once might have been. Google’s Laszlo Bock has gone so far as to say “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that GPA’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring.”
Instead of traditional college degree programs, more would-be developers are turning to startups that promise to teach them to code in a matter of months or weeks. Some of those startups even promise refunds if students don’t land good-paying jobs.
“A computer science degree is a rip off,” says Ryan Carson, CEO of Treehouse, one of those learn-to-code companies. “I know because I have one.”
Not surprisingly, computer science professors disagree. “People getting into these programs need to realize that you’re not getting the same education as you would out of a degree,” said Francois Pitt, a senior lecturer at the University of Toronto. “Computer science is about so much more than just programming.”