I have more than 5 years of professional experience in PHP Development and in the last 5 years, I have never been jobless. I have spent 2 years in my home country Pakistan and then moved to UAE after getting a job offer, and still working here in UAE (I also switch a job here in UAE).

I think the above sentence is necessary to understand what I am asking for. I don't have a degree, but I am doing the job and getting experience day by day but when I got a call from Europe (Germany, London even Paris) I always fail to get a job because I have no degree.

Is there any way to sort out this problem because in many jobs I have seen the below sentence.

Required bachelor degree or equivalent experience.

The above sentence always motivates me to find the job in Europe because I really want to see and have time there.

So can you guide me if next time I get a call from there how can I explain or what should I tell them that I can get a job or it is not possible anymore?

Thank you so much.

Edited : 5 Hours After Posted Question

After getting few people suggestion that it would be more feasible for me if I done the degree. So which one easiest way or convenient and acceptable degree should do? May be online, any specific? I really say thanks for all who posted their advise, really appreciate.

  • 2
    Do those people explicitly state that the lack of degree is the reason why you are not getting hired?
    – aMJay
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 8:01
  • @aMJay can you explain your above mentioned sentence in easy words please Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 8:43
  • did the people on the phone told you, you are not getting job because you don't have a degree? Or is it something you are assuming?
    – aMJay
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 9:01
  • @aMJay Yes one of them told me that they required the degree, yes only one of them Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 9:20
  • Can someone kindly guide me about that. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 10:15

9 Answers 9


I think you need to check visa requirements for each of your target countries. You will generally need some form of skilled worker visa, and those may be difficult or impossible to get without a degree. Even if the employer considers your experience at least equivalent to a degree, the immigration authorities may not agree.

An employer considering a foreign employee is unlikely to make a job offer unless they are confident the employee will be able to get a work visa.

Immigration may be easier for an intra-company transfer than for a new employee. If that is the case for some of your target countries, consider looking for a job in the UAE or Pakistan with a local branch of an international company that also operates in countries where you want to work.

  • Thanks for sharing the information +1 Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 7:59
  • the question and the trouble is not about visa, is about competencies and diplomas
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 5:58
  • 1
    @virolino Patricia's point is that companies won't bother interviewing a person if they think immigration difficulties will keep them from being able to hire that person.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 13:48

I can only speak for Germany:

Required bachelor degree or equivalent experience.

If someone asks for "equivalent experience" they mean it. Otherwise it would not be there.

Government Jobs are the only ones having hard requirements with no exceptions. And that's why they don't get qualified people.

Especially in IT, asking for hard requirements is stupid. I have an education in the field and 20 years experience. Companies see no problem employing me. On the other hand, I do not have a bachelor degree. Mostly because such a thing did not even exist when I finished my education in the late 90's. In Germany the "bachelor degree" was created between 2005 and 2010. We had a different education system before that with different titles.

So when someone say "or equivalent experience" they really mean it and it should be no problem, because that's a majority of the workforce, especially those with experience.

However, work visas are only easy to get if the potential employee has a University degree. Otherwise, it's possible, but really, really bureaucratic.

So that might be your answer. Experience is enough for people that already have a work permit (natives, EU citizens, other reasons) but might be a real showstopper if you still need one.

  • Thank you so much, I really appreciate the knowledge that you shared with me, with us. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 13:43

A lot of companies don't require a degree, they say it's necessary but if you have the industry and professional experience you can get the job you desire.

Very few companies will turn down high experience for the sake of a degree, maybe you're applying for jobs way higher than 5 years experience is worth?

If you can pass the tests that the company provides I do not see not having a degree as a problem for the majority of companies.

Again, if this continues to be a problem... Just do a degree if you are genuinely driven to work in Europe.

  • well that's not the case in France. Everyone is asking for a engineer or at best a master. Besides, if most companies trust their tests, it's because they're in addition of the degree you have. One hour on coding game is not of course not enough to gauge a candidat if they don't have any diploma.
    – GlorfSf
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 14:58

I am a senior software engineer with 12 years of professional experience and no degree. My initial job was a junior position which I got by passing a programming aptitude test and giving a good interview.

So far in my career I've worked in three organisations, I stayed with the first one for 10 years and I've had no trouble finding work, although I will say that initially I had to settle for a lower salary until I'd build up my experience.

Make sure that your CV emphasises your strengths and lists your key achievements where you currently work and is relevant to the job you are applying for at the time.

With a lot of companies, commercial experience sometimes counts for far more than a degree.

I would not even mention that you don't have a degree to a prospective employer and it would almost certainly be worth you using a recruitment consultant to help you find something suitable.


I work in Germany as a software engineer. (And I'm a native German.)

In my department, we have one person without a degree, which gets paid less as per company policy and tariff contract. Maybe you are asking for to much money?

Also, we have a lot of Indians working at my company as we have a dependency in Bangalore. It is very expensive to get them to Germany, as we have to provide a visa, flat, language courses, and other services. That's why we are very careful who we are hiring.

Maybe you can do something to convince potential employers of your skills, like sharing a git-repo or some open-source-projects?

Good look with future applications :)

Edit: As you edited your question, I'm going to extend my answer with a hint: It is much easier to come to Germany to study than for a job. Make your bachelor here. Maybe work on the side. Computer Science usually has no or very little restrictions.

  • A very, very informative answer I really appreciate. Thank you so much, I will keep in mind Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 11:26
  • 1
    Just as a sidenote: as a German software developer, I'd never work for a company that bases my pay on a piece of paper that is likely 20+ years old. But then, I'd never work for a employer that pays me by "Tarifvertrag" either. And quite frankly, even those that had Tarifverträge offered to pay way above on their own because they knew they'd never get developers for that price.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 13:15
  • "Tarifvertrag" is usually much higher than any other contract you could get in Germany. Especially if it is (as in my case) IG-Metal. So I don't get why you wouldn't want it. If you are that good, there is always the option of "Aus. Tarif" which starts for my company well above 100k. We could get developers much cheaper if we didn't have tariffs. Our wages are far above the German average.
    – NDDT
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 14:00
  • Also, your answer is very misleading. You mentioned that you don't have a bachelors degree, but didn't say that the older titles are far more valued in Germany than the bachelor. So comparing your diploma to no university education of Imran Abbas is of absolutely no value
    – NDDT
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 14:04
  • 1
    @Mawg: no I work in Frankfurt, but almost all our departments have dependencys in India, a lot of them at the same offices in Bangelore as we use.
    – NDDT
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 13:27

I have been in the industry since the 1990s without a degree.

SOME companies have it as a hard requirement. Personally, I think if they'll consider that over my decades of experience, they're not a company I would want to work for anyway.

The inclusion of "equivalent experience" just means that if you're doing the job, you're qualified. Most companies have this as the requirement and I consider it a good sign.

Personally, given what universities are churning out these days, I'd ignore the degree entirely.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this information Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 7:18

Most job applications I did on my career(which is not very long, 4 years) I only had troubles in 1 application for not having a Degree, and still got the job due to my previous experience. I've made like 50 interviews and never had an issue with your studies background, companies are more pragmatic in tech industry and value people who are resourceful and show willingness to improve and learn. Attitude is sometimes more decisive factor than skills or diplomas you may have and interviewers sense that and react positively about it.

Just make it clear that even you don't have a degree you've been around in the industry for 5 years, mention projects you've worked on, technologies you domain, etc so the potential employer knows that they can trust your skills and that you're willing to keep learning and improving. That's all they want, as soon as they understand that you can provide it, it's done.

  • 2
    That's awesome answer, I really thanks. But only thing in my mind is may be European government does allow to come there without having at least bachelor degree, I really don't know I just heard from people. Can you also mentioned something about that if you know about this. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 10:27
  • @ImranAbbas There isn't really a single "European government". Different countries have different rules. If your goal is to get a job somewhere in Europe, and you aren't all that particular about which European (or EU) country, that opens up possibilities that you wouldn't have if you had a specific country in mind. For example, if for some reason you are really intent on working in France, and Spain or Germany or Italy just aren't options for you, that's very different from if your goal is simply, say, "EU country in the continental Europe".
    – user
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 12:37
  • @aCVn It's means European countries has different rules. I love to go any of them. Last week I received a call from Paris and it was everything perfect but they said about degree. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 12:43
  • 1
    If you really think that you will need a degree, then look at the open University in the UK, which has been offering distance learning for over 50 years and is well respected. two things, though, you will have to study and put in about 20 hours a week for 3 years and also it is not free (you may not even find it cheap).
    – Mawg
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 12:38

To be employed in many companies, offering a degree is one of the first qualifications. According to the Global Workers' Report released in June 2017, 37% of jobs need higher education than average. The most commonly requested degree is a bachelor's degree. But now, many experts say the time has come to eliminate education from the terms of employment, except in cases where the acquisition of qualifications is in particular a professional requirement.

Joseph Bicfer, Harvard Business Entrepreneur Manager, believes there are well-founded reasons for abandoning the academic condition. First of all, companies face a major question. Is there any difference between the rights that you can hire and the answer you get from the job market? And another important fact is that many of the articles taught at the university are not applied to corporate businesses.

IBM began research on skills gaps and other recruitment issues. The company, worried that it would not be able to find its talents, decided to abandon the requirement for a Bachelor's Degree and come up with other indicators.

Anyway now-day there is no need to have bachelor degree or same degree of college but having relevant degrees can assure the company that the person has passed a course and has experiences in related fields, in the other side it would be better you explain your skills before the interview and tell them that you have the ability to do things and you can pass interviews, mention your experiences and skills in CV as well.

One of my friend migrated to Germany illegally, he did not have a bachelor's degree because he had not served the military service, I was speaking with him an he told me I hired in a company with no degree, he is now working in a software company in Germany. as I mentioned above don't worry about degree.

  • Thank you so much for sharing the information Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 12:34

Why do companies require a degree? Because companies do not need "typing secretaries" (no offense intended), but multi-disciplinary knowledge (in the area of business), hard skills and soft skills.

Of course, through experience you may have become a very good programmer - if that is true, it is excellent.

But getting a degree, you also learn a lot more than just programming. It is about abilities and attitudes which companies look after.

  • Thank you so much for you answer, I completely understand it and it is right Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 5:00

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