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Do you need a computer science degree to be an iOS developer?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

Is it really necessary to have a computer science degree to become a successful iOS developer and get a job?

Paul Hudson: We still have this bizarre preconception of the best person to hire for a role should be someone who is coding in their spare time, and at weekends, and going to conferences and speaking at conferences, and has multiple open-source products under their belt and so forth. And it causes a huge range of problems because it basically narrows it down to young, white men.

If you've come from a poorer background, if you are a woman who happens to have childcare or elder care responsibilities, or if you haven't got the cash to have a laptop at home, for example, it excludes a whole range of people for no reason. And we end up in a situation where people hire folks who look just like them, went to the same school as them, have the same CS degree as them, and it becomes this horrible self-reinforcing mess.

And maybe we can break this down and say, "listen, you haven't got to code in your spare time. Coding could be your job. You could be paid to do this and you do it because it pays really, really well, but in your spare time, you like playing the guitar, or you like roller skating, or you like cross-stitching, or you like mountain biking, whatever it is you like doing, it's not coding and that's cool. You can still come and join our company and do great work here. We'd love to have you." Until we get to there, I think we've still got a lot of social issues to work through I think.

"I think that coding is a tool and a skillset and it can apply to various interests and people can use it in various ways and not do it full-time."

Ish Shabazz: I think absolutely. There are a lot of stigmas that I hope are getting better over time. But there's also a lot of gate keeping for how things are done because we have this established culture, which I think is really kind of the wrong way to approach it. I think that coding is a tool and a skillset and it can apply to various interests and people can use it in various ways and not do it full-time.

People often ask about getting a CS degree or having a CS degree. And I've tweeted about this a couple of times, but the way I look at the CS degree bit is it's like going to culinary school. You don't need to go to culinary school to make a delicious meal or to feed the hungry. That doesn't mean there's not room for that.

"I think there's a really broad range of skillsets, and there's really room for everyone. I don't really think there's a need to kind of gatekeep on either side."

If you're going to open up a restaurant in New York, you probably want to have a chef that's been to culinary school because of the additional things involved in that. But there's a whole lot of other things you can do that don't require that. In fact, you could start off as working in fast food and decide, you know what? As I grow, I actually want to learn more about this. And eventually I'm going to learn culinary arts and do this other thing. You can evolve.

Or you can just be like, you know what? I have a restaurant. I'm happy. I haven’t gone to culinary school but I have a happy customer base. I'm providing a good service and that's enough. I think there's a really broad range of skillsets, and there's really room for everyone. I don't really think there's a need to kind of gatekeep on either side. Not that CS degrees are useless, that's not true. But CS degrees being required? That's not true either. It's a broad range.

Paul Hudson: And let's face it, life would be significantly poorer if we didn't have food trucks on the streets. It doesn't always have to be Cordon bleu, French haute cuisine. There's a whole range of food we want to have in our lives. And having that range of backgrounds and range of experiences enriches our community – bringing a wider range of folks in enriches our community in so many ways.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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