I am employed as a software developer, and currently have a few years of work experience in that role. I have a bachelor's degree in a field not related to CS (Linguistics).

I'm also currently 2 years into my CS bachelor's at a certain university - most of the assignments are done (or submitted) online, with the exception of exams. I still have 2 years to go, with even more written assignments.

It's not expensive (for simplicity's sake let's assume it's almost free), but it does take a considerable amount of time to do the assignments. About 60% of that time is actually spent not on the assignments themselves, but on writing reports in the required format. On top of that, by this point I've already completed all the subjects I was interested in (math/statistics/etc.), and the rest, while technically CS-related, are taught using obsolete technologies and on a level that's too basic - I already know the stuff on a more advanced level, since I'm using it constantly at work.

So, the question is, if I dropped out now, what would be the downsides? Would I be limiting my future options considerably by not finishing it?
Considering that finishing the degree would cost a lot of time (but not money), and it would essentially end up being a token degree (i.e. I don't expect to learn anything useful there in the next 2 years - the time will be mostly wasted).

A couple of possible downsides that I could think of are:
1) It might affect my salary - is that really the case, though?
2) At some companies it might be more difficult to pass the HR filter - except most companies care more about whether or not you can code/design/communicate rather than whether or not you have the papers.

  • Welcome to The Workplace Stack Exchange but we cannot answer this question, it completely depends on opinion and your ability, the places you apply for, your resume. Everyone is different, some people have good careers without degrees and solely use experience as their selling point, some people have degrees and end up jobless.
    – Twyxz
    Jun 10, 2019 at 9:37
  • 1
    If you've already started it's probably worth finishing it just because you've already invested time and money towards it and would be a waste to drop out now. In terms of the worth it may provide, that's up in the air. Having 2 degrees is always a good selling point
    – Twyxz
    Jun 10, 2019 at 9:39
  • 2 degrees certainly are a good selling point. However, I'm not sure if it's a better selling point than having additional real-world hard skills. As for the fact that I've already invested time and money into it, I don't feel like putting even more time and money into it is the right way of handling a failing investment. I do want to be aware of what I lose if I drop out before I make the decision, though. Jun 10, 2019 at 11:01
  • If you want to move to another country, you should start by figuring out which one and then do some research into their immigration policies. One can't answer that question for all countries and immigration policy isn't really within the scope of this site. Jun 10, 2019 at 11:02

2 Answers 2


You just need to put the right spin on it. You don’t drop out - dropping out is for people who cannot handle the courses.

Instead, you went to university to learn things that you were interested in, not to get a degree. And you should have evidence of the subjects that you passed. If you are asked, you say “I never wanted a degree, but I wanted to learn the maths, statistics etc. “

So you learned the things you need, and you have a degree anyway. There are cases where some degree is a requirement, but very rare that a CS degree is.


Apart from the immigration issue, which I don't know too much about, I'd say Lingusitics degree + development experience puts you in a much stronger position for a lot of interesting and cutting edge type jobs than a CS degree alone. If you could supplement it with some self study/experience around machine learning it would make you a very strong, and hard to find candidate.

  • Machine learning is actually one of the things I've been interested in, but was neglecting partly because of the time college is eating up. That is exactly why I'm considering dropping out - I feel like I'm wasting time instead of learning something useful. Not sure how I'd be able to actually apply linguistics without switching fields though, since I'm working with generic enterprise software, but the advanced data analysis possibilities offered by machine learning would certainly come in handy. Jun 10, 2019 at 10:58
  • Also - do you have certificates, or can you get them for modules you have already passed? Interesting side note, before computer science degrees were very common, linguistics grads were highly sought after as programming trainees as the concepts of language were highly transferable (If you didn't already know!)
    – Carlovski
    Jun 10, 2019 at 11:26
  • I can probably get some kind of proof I've completed the modules (credits perhaps?). Not sure how it would be useful though, as far as everyone's concerned, you either have the papers or you don't. People interested in actual skills/knowledge will probably try to test them, instead of just looking at the papers. Jun 10, 2019 at 12:09

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