Profile: Making $100K without a university degree
Our recent article ‘The highest paying jobs – that don’t require a university degree’ listed Software Developers as one of the highest income earners.
During this interview with Ryan Kajiura, a Software Developer who works with Compuware Corporation, Ryan discusses how professionals in his industry can make so much money without a university degree.
OS: What is it like working as a Software Developer?
RK: It’s great! I get the opportunity to use leading edge technology. I get to create things that don’t currently exist. The best part for me is developing concepts that inspire people. I design the look and feel of programs and get users engaged with my creations.
OS: What kind of educational background do you need to obtain a job in Software Development?
RK: I took a computer programming diploma course at Centennial College. Some people get a computer science degree at the university level. I have met other people that taught themselves at home on their computer by downloading information about developing software applications. If you choose the at home route there is a lot of reading involved. Remember Google is your best friend. You’ll find a lot of people and information online that will help you learn about programming.
OS: How do you convince an employer to hire you as a Software Developer without having any formal education in computer programming?
RK: Write a functional program and print out the source code to show employers. When you have an interview you can present your code so that the employer knows you’re knowledgeable about the programming language. If it’s possible also have the code running so you can demonstrate it live while it processes.
OS: Workopolis recently reported that the median annual income of Software Developers is $87,970 and the high-end annual income is $133,110. Does this sound accurate based on your experiences in the industry?
RK: Yes, that does sound accurate. When you first enter the industry you start off earning in the 40’s but within 8 to 10 years you can easily make over $100K.
OS: How can a Software Developer maximize their earning potential?
RK: Stay up to date with the technology. Know the tools that are being used, and the tips and tricks that can help you program more effectively. Keep current with technology trends by reading blogs, magazines and subscribing to RSS feeds. Go to seminars and user groups meetings. User groups are free and take place through-out communities; you just have to search for them online. User groups are usually volunteer based and will allow you to network with senior and experienced software developers that speak and provide presentations at the user group meetings. It’s a great way to learn within a networking environment.
OS: What advice do you have for people interested in pursuing a career in Software Development?
RK: Be passionate and embrace change because in IT things change very often.