I've been going back and forth on what to do for a while. This summer I will have graduate from college with a "journeyman examination(degree?)" in computer science, as well as the (I believe) equivalent of A levels in the UK. My school system is different from most, and so this may not make sense to some of you. In my country, we go to a school after high school (which was from the age of 5-15), which generally lasts from 16-19 or 16-20 if you go to the school I did. But to word it simply, I do have a degree but it's not a college/university one.
My future plan is to go to Sweden and study web development for a Bachelor's degree, but I'd like to work and save up for it first. So these are my options:
1) Work in retail and use my spare time to read some books and do some developing in my spare time. Create a portfolio and learn. This would last 1-2 years.
2) Attempt to get into software development right away, and then go out to study in a couple of years.
So my question is, do you believe any software development company would hire someone without a college degree? And if not, would it increase the odds if I ask for an unpaid internship? I would be willing to do that, I just want to learn more and do more related to this field.
And one more question: What would you recommend I focus on studying?
Right now I'm focusing on getting better at PHP/MySQL. I'm learning how to create database-driven websites by going through Kevin Yank's book on PHP/MySQL. It explains how to make small CMS, some content formatting, access control and some basic MySQL (which I already had down).
After that I'm debating on what to do though, and here are some options:
- Read Murach's book on MySQL and master it
- Read Murach C# 2010 and work on that
- Get something more on PHP (perhaps security/something else)
- Focus on mastering CSS, though I think I could do this along with a programming language.
Murach MySQL is a book that focuses on all parts of MySQL, complex joins/queries, database designs, triggers, SPs and so on. This is probably where I could develop a set of skills that would easily be translated into MS SQL or any other SQL.
Murach's C# 2010 is a book on C# from the ground up. I have a basic foundation in C# but could do with increasing my knowledge of OOP in it, as well as connecting to databases, using LINQ, XML, and whatever I didn't go through. I hear very good things about this book in terms of it being very clear, and practical. Downside is that it uses Windows Forms as opposed to WPF, but I could get into that later.
PHP books: I don't quite have one in mind, but there are surely a fair bit of things I could improve on. I'm just not sure which until I finish my current book, not sure how in-depth it is about security with PHP and so on.
CSS: I got CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions by Cameron Moll/Andy Budd/Simon Collison. I do know the basics of CSS, I'm pretty familiar with the theory, the box model, the syntax, and things like that, but I've never been good at putting things together with it.
I'd appreciate any advice you could give me, and my book choices are definitely not set in stone.