A technology career may not require a 4-year degree

posted by David Collison on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 in SHAZAM Blog

For years, we’ve led our students down the path to higher education, which is important, yet skilled trades and technology careers can provide opportunities with lower levels of educational debt.

Specifically, let’s discuss software development. SHAZAM works with local high schools, Des Moines Area Community College, and local colleges and universities that offer 4-year degrees. We’ve hired interns from each of these educational environments and converted many of these interns into full-time employees. We’ve also offered internships and hired students into full-time positions after their high school graduation — when they included college-level coursework during their high school careers providing them with the requisite educational background.

Today, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn about software development and translate their knowledge into good-paying jobs without attending a traditional 4-year program. If you know of, or are, a high school student, consider some of these educational opportunities:

  • As a high school student, take Advanced Placement and college-level software development courses.
  • Instead of a 4-year degree, consider a community college program that provides the skills to make you ‘work ready.’ You may not have the full gamut of theory classes that students in a 4-year program receive, but you’ll get the skills needed to find an entry-level job.
  • Instead of pursuing a 4-year degree after high school, consider a coding bootcamp to round out the skills you’ve learned.
  • Enroll in apprenticeship programs that will provide the necessary training.

Our workforce is experiencing a shortage of skilled software developers. This problem is only going to get worse as the baby-boom generation starts to retire. If you look at the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on software development, our profession will also increase by 24 percent in the number of positions needed by employers. This translates to great career opportunities with decent pay!

Many employers are looking to alternatives to fill these jobs because there aren’t enough people graduating from 4-year programs with the necessary degrees. These are just a few examples.

I love this job that I do — software development. While I don’t necessarily get to do hands-on coding anymore, being a developer has opened up many opportunities for me as I’ve followed my career path. Technology has given me the opportunity to be a life-long student – learning new skills, learning about different facets of the organizations I’ve worked for and being able to solve unique problems.

Maybe you don’t need the traditional 4-year degree to follow your passion, have fun and earn a good living. Consider a career in technology — and live your dream.


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  2. intern
  3. technology

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