FAANG SWE with no degree?

Dec 10, 2019 21 Comments

I come from a sales background, without any degree.

Based on my research, the fastest route to get a $120k + entry level SWE position is to get good at front end, specifically ReactJS for faang companies, and grind leetcode like a mf.

After doing this, assuming I prepare properly, I should be able to pass the technical interview. Then it’s just a matter of networking like a mf for referrals and actually getting the interview right?

I feel like a degree just makes it so you have a chance at landing a job at FAANG company through cold applications, but if you’ve got the skills, its just a matter of convincing someone to interview you through warm leads.

Is my logic correct here? Reason I’m asking is because I’m inspired by the stories of Aaron P from CodeDrip on youtube, as well as Hareeb Qureshi, but most of the guys who landed high paying faang jobs without a cs degree usually atleast had some kind of degree, or went to a bootcamp.

So how realistic do you think it is for someone who is completely self taught who learns CS fundentals, gets good at their specialization, grinds leetcode, and then moves to silicon valley and networks relentlessly to land a SWE position at a FAANG company?

inputs are appreciated :)

EDIT: awesome thanks for the replies. Looks like its just a matter of networking and getting referrals for an interview, and then passing the interview.


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TOP 21 Comments
  • Google / Eng Slw07gnvs
    The degree doesn’t matter (at google) as long as you have the knowledge and cognitive ability to navigate the interview questions
    Dec 10, 2019 2
    • OP
      I get that, I’m not worried about the interview, I’m worried about getting the actual interview in the first place.
      Dec 10, 2019
    • Google / Eng Slw07gnvs
      Well have you tried... applying? No degree and no relevant work experience likely won’t get you far.

      You need to network to try to get your foot in the door... imagine the difficulty a recruiter would have trying to pitch your resume to a manager as a viable candidate to interview.
      Dec 10, 2019
  • Lyft oTjJ08
    I'm completely self taught, and a high school drop out. It takes more work to get there, but if you are dedicated it can work - but it's not going to be easy. My advice would be to have a stepping stone prior to aiming for FAANG, and don't be discouraged if you aren't hired somewhere immediately. You will have some hurdles, but keep your eye on the goal and it is possible.
    Dec 10, 2019 0
  • Google / Eng cloudy sky
    You don’t need a degree; I don’t have one. You will need the knowledge that having the degree would infer—you won’t learn this in a a couple weeks or even months.

    “Specifically ReactJS for FAANG”
    Not really. Google, for example, doesn’t use React—Google created Angular. Facebook made React and probably has some front end roles for it. When I was looking their openings were primarily back-end or mobile.

    Tbh, in my opinion your best bet is to learn Java. It’s used heavily in at least Amazon, Netflix, and Google.

    You could also specialize in iOS or Android, which severely limits how much you need to learn; eg Android, learn Java and maybe Kotlin. iOS learn Objective-C and Swift)
    Dec 10, 2019 5
    • Google / Eng cloudy sky
      I think if you go with frontend, you’re competing with CS grads (who also take frontend jobs) as well as everyone who’s done a boot camp or is a self-taught JS developer.
      Dec 11, 2019
    • OP
      Haha of course. Alright I understand your perspective, thanks
      Dec 11, 2019
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    There are so many candidates with degrees why would anyone bother to deal with a degreeless one?
    Dec 10, 2019 1
  • Bank of America / Eng

    Bank of America Eng

    Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    If you can get someone to vouch for you and bypass HR without a four year degree then yes.

    Most jobs require some kind of 4 year degree in engineering or math or a masters equivalent.

    Your real challenge would be trying to convince some HR recruiter morons that you can do the job without a real degree so you can get a real technical interview in the first place
    Dec 10, 2019 0
  • Amazon Ah Dang
    When I got started in the industry I didn’t have a degree. I was completely self taught. In that scenario one doesn’t have any evidence to show they are worth taking a shot on. Here’s what I would do if starting over today:

    0. Learn, learn, learn.
    1. Start with personal projects that you can publish code and results for (eg GitHub repo + live website url).
    2. Get *a* job. Don’t obsess about FAANG. Get real world experience you can put on your resume.
    3. Keep learning.
    4. Network.
    5. Go for FAANG.
    6. Keep learning.

    I don’t see why you couldn’t get $120k job outside of FAANG. $120k is not a lot for a programming job at most companies.

    Good luck!
    Dec 10, 2019 1
    • OP
      Sweet thanks. I will consider going for a non faang company if that’s my only option, but I don’t want to waste time if I don’t have to. Reason I want to go to a faang is because I want to work my way up to a $300k-$500k salary within 5 years or less, $120k would just be solid for a starting salary for someone with no experience or degree.
      Dec 10, 2019
  • Amazon compare
    without a cs degree, programming is no joke. It take a lots of dedicated hours and even then you have to be smart and be able to explain stuff clearly to the interviewer. There is luck involved as well. Just remember that it is not for everyone and not everyone can master it. It can take months to years to get good at it. There also the fact that you might not like the job even if you get good at it.
    Dec 10, 2019 0
  • Google st 🍴
    I also don’t have a degree. Started w an internship and worked up to FAANG from there over 6 years.
    Dec 10, 2019 0
  • You dont need a degree, I dont have one and I've never had an issue with getting a job in tech in last 10+ years in industry. But if you dont have a referral or connection to get your foot in the door (I started as a network ops tech at a start up) and no actual project experience (relevant work exp) then it will be harder without a degree to get said foot in the door, but not impossible. So if you dont have a referral, I say you work on some projects. Lots of people will pay you to code some simple things for them with all these contract/outsourced jobs.
    Dec 10, 2019 0
  • Tyler Technologies batwomannn
    You need referrals.
    Dec 10, 2019 0


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