Cody Lewis

Developer | Aspiring Speaker

Am I at a Disadvantage Being Self-taught?


No, you are not. There’s more to the question than a simple yes or no.

So Why?

So, why aren’t you at a disadvantage as a self-taught programmer then?

Here are a few, but not all, the reasons:

  1. You’re a self-starter.
  2. You don’t give up.
  3. You’re reading this blog post.

Programming isn’t the hardest occupation in the world but it certainly isn’t the easiest either. Being able to venture into the vast landscape of code and computers takes certain skills. An adventurous mindset that overcomes obstacles. These qualities tell future employers, clients and fellow developers the kind of person and professional you are. That you’ve got moxie.

You’re someone who doesn’t give up and continues to grow. Anyone can start something and anyone can learn something. Few people start something, learn something and continue to try to improve when others might get comfortable. This isn’t exclusive to the self-taught individual but be proud that you apart of this minority.

What Have You Done And What Are You Doing?

Learning how to program is great. It isn’t enough, though, to get your foot in the door. This knowledge needs to be applied to projects and used to assist others to hone your skills.

To that end, are you doing any of the following?

  • Contributing to open-source projects.
  • Involving yourself in local meetups.
  • Volunteering with local schools or nonprofits.
  • Writing or speaking to share your expertise.

If you aren’t, then why not?

While it’s great to be comfortable in life, I don’t think it’s alright to be complacent. Whether you’re self-taught or self-employed, you’ll never regret the time you put into something if you truly want what’s there.

So You’re Saying It’s Better to be Self-taught?

No, not one bit. No path in life or career is “better” than another. Everyone’s is individual. His or hers to forge.

Right now, I have an associate’s degree, backed by several years of practical programming experience. Is a bachelor’s degree in computer science part of a bigger plan? Perhaps. Not having one at the moment doesn’t make me right or wrong. All anyone can do is strive to be a better version of themselves while taking the time to celebrate successes along the way. Hooray for today.