I am interested in knowing whether (in particular) a big company would value a software developer with a degree in a development-related field more than a software developer with an unrelated degree (such as economics), if we were to consider that both developers are equally capable of doing their job.

In my case, I have a degree in International Business but I am pursuing a web development career. I have studied development for the last four years and I am currently working at a startup as a web developer. I am considering enrolling in Informatics Engineering or a similar degree, and I am unsure whether this is actually going to help me compete in the job market in the future, particularly with other developers who have a degree more related to software development.

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    Related, possibly duplicate: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/19524/… – Jane S Jul 27 '16 at 6:04
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    Thanks. I don't think it's a duplicate, because my question is about the comparison between two developers with degrees, but one of then having unrelated studies. I think this is different to the comparison between two developers, one with a degree, and one without it, because big companies tend to require a degree in order to comply with quality standards, whatever the degree is. – Fausto NA Jul 27 '16 at 6:07
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    Please read the answer of the question I linked as it does specifically discuss this scenario. – Jane S Jul 27 '16 at 6:09
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    Some companies value the piece of paper not what it says. Some companies value ability. And some companies are looking for a specific degree from a specific university. There is no one size fits all answer for this. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 27 '16 at 20:47
  • I agree with @JaneS - the answer in the link question applies very well here. – HorusKol Jul 28 '16 at 0:26

I would candidly suggest that a college degree or the absence of one matters relatively little when discussing an activity (code-slinging ...) that is basically a craft.

Some of the best coders I know are Art or Music majors. Others don't have a college degree at all.

I would suggest trying to leverage your "International Business" knowledge as you look for coding work. Perhaps you can use that expertise to help in the design of applications. Perhaps you can use it when working with applications that are in specific market-verticals that would naturally benefit from experience in international business.

"Code-slinging," as I affectionately call it, is an extremely crowded field. You need to find a way to differentiate yourself by bringing something else to the table besides "the ability to competently write PHP source-code." If I am in a market that somehow serves international businesses, having a "good, solid coder" who also knows about "what my application is ultimately doing," would be a big plus. And, it would be something that not every candidate I'm looking at ... (and, there could easily be a hundred of them) ... might not have. It would be "an edge." "Your edge." To compete in this very crowded playing field, "you need an edge."

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    Thanks for the answer. Coding is only a part of the developing though. I'm hoping to differentiate myself in a more meaningful manner I guess. – Fausto NA Jul 27 '16 at 13:16
  • @FaustoNA I agree that coding is only a part of software development, however, if you haven't had a job as a software developer before, you're realistically looking at junior level software development jobs, and at that level, 90% of what matters is how well you can code. – ILikeTacos Jul 27 '16 at 18:51
  • I have been working full time for a year now, I want to look into joining a bigger company. – Fausto NA Jul 27 '16 at 18:52
  • If that's the case then, don't go back to school, you already have a major, you're going to waste your time (unless you are accepted in one of the top universities in your country) your degree won't matter. Once you have a few years under your belt (even one) most of your next jobs are going to come from within your professional network. That said, if you apply to a bigger company, the vast majority of the times, they don't care about your degree but what you bring to the table. – ILikeTacos Jul 27 '16 at 18:55
  • I read recently that US employers began to require a degree because of a 1971 Supreme Court decision that made it illegal to use employment screening tests that might have any racial bias. And the College Industry was born! – user37746 Jul 27 '16 at 19:41

Unless your alternative degree gives you skills that are particularly relevant to the company's needs, it is likely to be of much less interest to someone hiring software developers than a degree which emphasizes skills they do need. The days of being able to get a programming job just because you can think logically and have played around with computers on your own time -- unless that playing around is hugely impressive -- are long gone.

  • Those days are gone because so many people got in to the field when it became lucrative. It became lucrative because businesses could not find experienced people. Supply and demand, cause and effect, evolution, survival of the fittest etc, ad nauseam. – user37746 Jul 27 '16 at 19:39

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