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I have been developing web applications in PHP from two years and have worked with three organizations. I started with no programming knowledge at all, I had interest in web development so I read some books, followed tutorials and hang out with web developers to learn how to develop websites which took me to PHP and than eventually towards programming and I really enjoyed it. Learning OOP, studying servers behaviours, doing amazing things with JS, working and understanding with frameworks like Zend and Yii was quite an experience for me. My ideals also changed from movie stars to persons like Dennis Ritchie and Matt Mullenweg.

It took a while to get a job when I got my first things became pretty easy but one thing that I came across while working in the small software houses is that they really don't worry about the code all they want is to get the thing done by any means so that can deliver the project on time to their clients. This is actually really disturbing I have switched two organizations just to excel in programming and contribute in the field of IT as much as I can but it doesn't seems possible if I continue working in the organizations which are much focused on client and don't bother to compromise on the quality of code.

My dream companies are wordpress and the organizations which have developed open source PHP frameworks like zend, yii etc. Why? because they are AMAZING and just because of their contributions web has become so amazing and rapid development is in reach of every developer but I am not sure whether I will be able to get a chance in such companies or not because I don't have a degree not because I never wanted but because I really never had a choice. I was on my own from the teenage and it was not possible for me to afford the education and now when I have the resources I am lacking in time and focus. I have a full time job, blog and some responsibilities.

Will it be ever possible to work in my dream companies or which are similar to my dream companies

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It's anecdotal, but here is a job ad for a company that is amazing. Any type of formal education is not mentioned anywhere. –  SWeko Feb 12 '13 at 12:07
    
@SWeko: .NET, not PHP though. And creators don't have PHP in high regard... codinghorror.com/blog/2012/06/the-php-singularity.html –  vartec Feb 12 '13 at 12:10
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@vartec While I agree with them vis-a-vis PHP, it's still an example of an amazing software house that does not require a fancy degree. –  SWeko Feb 12 '13 at 12:15
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closed as not constructive by gnat, Blrfl, ChrisF Feb 12 '13 at 12:23

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3 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes, it is possible. I hire non-degree developers all the time. Some of my best developers have no degree. They all have a few things in common though, and that is a passion for programming, and they have demonstrable skills. Normally this is in showing contributions to open source software, personal and professional projects, released mobile apps on various platforms, website that is more than static HTML/CSS, and maybe a github account or two. I also check to see if they are active on Stackexchange network.

Once they are hired, they grow based on the quality of their work. Some move on to other companies. One went to Google so it certainly is possible to get into your dream company. I guess it comes down to how motivated you are. You will have a bit more to prove.

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I liked how you explained it. +1 –  Joset Feb 12 '13 at 11:45
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I think I have answer of my question :) +1 –  Umair Abid Feb 12 '13 at 11:50
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Yeah, this is a big problem. We had much people without passion in university, probably only about 35 people from 40. Which is sad. For myself it was something I always wanted to do, so I studied it, but most people are just in, because it's a degree which earns you money. –  K.. Feb 12 '13 at 12:20
    
@k passion trumps degree any day of the week for me. My development career was much the same way. No degree as I dropped out of university to pursue my own software development company. 20 years later I can honestly say passion (and it shows during the interview process usually) trumps just a degree cause it pays good. Passion + degree is also an awesome combo. –  Akira71 Feb 12 '13 at 12:42
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is it possible? yes

is it less likely? yes

are you better off getting a degree? yes

subjective opinion: people who don't have a degree don't exactly know how much knowledge they have about their profession and how much else there is to know.

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I agree but as I mentioned having a degree is not an option for everyone –  Umair Abid Feb 12 '13 at 11:48
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Umair,
I am same way but I believe that if you can do something decent or you can do things that are going to change how people have been working, only then a company can offer a good job but funny things is that then you don't need a job but create your own company.

Since you are learning/doing mostly open source projects, you should learn and even master those things and contribute to open source projects.

You can also start your own small company and get some job and I am sure you will grow.

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