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Programming Certification as an alternative to College

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Hm...  I'm going to try and make a long story short.  Health issues, life passing me by too quickly, college isn't teaching me anything new, need to get my career started immediately.

 

I'm told my portfolio is very strong, albeit a bit small because of the time/energy/money vampire that is college.  I'll be expanding it once finals are done.  My portfolio will likely be enough for some opportunities in the US, but I'd like to work abroad.  A work visa most likely requires a degree.  I can get my associate's, but a bachelor's is another couple of years away.  I'd like to see if there's any kind of test I can take to become a certified programmer at a bachelor level.

 

However, I don't know what sources to rely on for information.  I don't want to get scammed with some no-name online program.  So I'm turning here to more experienced game devs.  How do I go about getting a quality certification, and how far will it take me?  Is it comparable to a degree?

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I know Microsoft has special certifications and exams you can do.

Some of them are pretty prestige. 

 

Found it:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-list.aspx

 

But on a less professional way,

You can always lend a job at programming without actually having a degree.

Most 1st degrees don't teach you anything useful anyway (Not something you can't teach yourself).

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I'd like to see if there's any kind of test I can take to become a certified programmer at a bachelor level.

 

Not really, no.

 

Most of the "certifications" you will find, such as the majority of the Microsoft ones linked by WhoopsASword above, are IT related. They're about managing cloud or database infrastructure, running networks, et cetera. More akin to CISCO certifications than anything to do with programming and game development. I haven't met anybody in my career who considers them worthwhile at all (even the ones that are about "programming"), from a hiring perspective, and certainly they aren't generally considered equivalent to a four-year degree. I also don't know for sure what impact these certifications would have on your ability to acquire a visa, should you need one, but my guess would be minimal. Or perhaps none.

 

You might be able to find a school that would offer you an Associates degree for a two-year program of study.

Edited by Josh Petrie

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college isn't teaching me anything new

 

 

If you already know the stuff then test out of it.  All colleges and universities allow you to skip courses if you already know the material.  It will require taking a test to demonstrate that you know the material, and will probably require a small fee for records changes, but it can be skipped. Forcing you to take classes when you already know the material is a waste both of your time and resources, and the school's time and resources. Nobody wants it; you don't want the waste; the school doesn't want the waste; the professors don't want the waste.

 

My friends and I tested out of many early-level courses.  My freshman year at college I had enough credits to be a junior.  Most of the advanced people in the CS department had already tested out of various courses.

 

 

 

I can get my associate's, but a bachelor's is another couple of years away.  I'd like to see if there's any kind of test I can take to become a certified programmer at a bachelor level.

 

 

There really isn't a certificate equivalent.  If you can get a few years of professional work experience at someplace that will hire you without the degree, perhaps 4+ years of work experience will look about as good as a degree to some employers, but not to others.

 

Also, you should be aware that even though many graduates feel like a bachelor's degree means you know everything, you will quickly discover that the degree translates to "entry level" in the workforce.  The degree means you know enough that the company trusts you not to completely destroy their code.

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Ah, my current college wouldn't let me test out of anything at all, but maybe another one nearby would if I transfer.  I'm aware that a bachelor's level of skill is just a starting point, but I want to be able to show that I'm at that level already. 

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It seems odd that a school wouldn't accept testing out of courses.  

 

In the US, CLEP tests at the least are quite common.  Credit for life experience is also common at schools where people have real life experience. I went to a school that was near a local air force base, and many CS students had quite a lot of concurrent experience on the base that fully covered lower-level coursework.

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" I'd like to see if there's any kind of test I can take to become a certified programmer at a bachelor level."

 

Well, in the UK you could just join the BCS at associate level. Presumably there's an equivalent out there in America.

 

No need for a pesky degree with all that associated "learning stuff". You just fill in where you gained 5+ years of industry experience as a software engineer and they hand out a certificate that, for the rest of your life, you can explain is the same as a degree to a HR recruiter who doesn't care.

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I'd like to see if there's any kind of test I can take to become a certified programmer at a bachelor level.

 

 

Is it comparable to a degree?

No.

 

How do I go about getting a quality certification, and how far will it take me?

 

As a game developer, you will probably never hear back for an initial phone screening, let alone an interview.

 

college isn't teaching me anything new

This may indicate a problem with how you're handling your education, but it is not necessary in any case. You are in college to earn the degree, learning is a nice side effect but not ultimately consequential.

 

Health issues

Consider taking a gap year of employment. I took a year off from college to work as a game developer and it did wonders for my mental health, overall well being, and perspective on the degree.

Edited by Promit

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