Erlang and jobs in South Africa - all require a degree

Good morning all. As I am still learning, I just did a quick Google search for jobs. I am far away from having enough knowledge for a job, but what caught my eye is not reassuring (for me). All the jobs that I have search (especially here in South Africa) is that they all require a degree or Masters in Computer Science.

Now I am learning this at age 55. My question here is this:

Should I carry on learning Erlang / OTP (and I am really enjoying it), or should I just call it a day. Financially and time wise I cannot invest in a degree from a learning institution.

Kind regards,


Personally I am a huge fan of following your passion - we generally excel at the things we enjoy, and besides, life’s too short to be spending time working on things you don’t enjoy or don’t leave you feeling fulfilled and content.

I know that’s a lot easier said than done tho, but if you can sustain yourself financially then there’s no reason why you can’t learn to program - so many programmers are self taught. IIRC, even Robert Virding is, and he’s one of the creators of Erlang and a whole host of other languages :003:

If you do decide to go down this path, whatever language you learn will help with whatever language you end up using - so I’d start with whichever one feels easier or the one you’re most passionate about :023:


I know that Fastcomm in South Africa runs elixir/Erlang for some parts of their systems.


Thanks Taure. I am still learning Erlang. At the moment I just have enough knowledge to be dangerous :slight_smile: but I have bookmarked their site.

Appreciate the feedback



I don’t know you and the details of your situation, or the IT landscape in South Africa, so take my advice with a grain of salt, it’s coming from someone in a rather comfortable position. I had and have no pressure when I was picking up Erlang, neither financially nor in terms of age. I could pick my pace, and didn’t have to mind too much if anything came out of it in the end or not.

By all means! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

All the more reason to stick to it, that’s a good reason on its own! :blush:

I wouldn’t let that discourage me up front. They all say that and put it in the job ads, but reality is, Erlang developers don’t grow on trees, and the ones there are are mostly already in employment at some other companies. If you can demonstrate skills, they often relax on the degree requirement.

So my advice would be, learn Erlang, get comfortable with it, find one or two projects to contribute to and get good at it, maybe start a project of your own, so that in the end you have something to show on your resume.
However, don’t concentrate on Erlang alone, you won’t be much use if all you have is a head crammed full with Erlang and nothing else. Companies don’t want Erlang programmers for Erlangs sake, they want programmers that do whatever their thing is by means of Erlang, if you know what I mean.

This, of course, all depends on how much time and effort you can actually invest. If you currently have a job and learn Erlang (or whatever) on the side, ie if you can sustain your journey towards Erlang financially, then do it. If OTOH you have only limited time, a deadline if you want, after which you have to have a new skill to keep going at all, then IMO Erlang is probably, and sadly, not the best choice for you. It takes time and can’t be rushed, that is my experience at least.


Thanks for your reply and knowledge. I have my own business which basically takes care of itself, so I can spend 8 hours a day (maximum) studying and practicing. The reason that I am “into” Erlang is because it is “old school” (like myself) and I enjoy using my brains and not just use a GUI etc. I taught myself VIM (although I have a long way to go to get to know most of it). I just like what has been developed with Erlang and I have something that I thought of that is not on the market. No, not the next whatsapp etc, something that can help the rural and farming community. I live in a small town which is known for the wine, and I have an idea that can assist the farmers here.

Once again thanks to all who answered.
Much appreciated.



Good choice :smile:

I see you haven’t tried EMACS :crazy_face:

Great, then go for it, by all means! I agree with @Maria-12648430 in that you can’t “rush” Erlang, but 8hrs/day cerainly sounds good :smiley:


Excellent choice :grin:


I know. I love it. As they say: I divorced my mouse :slight_smile:


Thank you.


My subjective view, is that for people with a degree, employer might assume that most probably candidate managed to follow few courses and was successfully taught by a teacher (depending on person there might be some self-learning included).
Degree might not be that important, if you can prove you can learn yourself efficiently without support of a teacher.

Secondly, job adverts might be more of a wish list than a strict requirement list (especially when there is not enough candidates). The best way to check is to apply and see what happens. Some treat attending job interviews as a training activity.


Thank you so much for the reply. Much appreciated.