Getting a job in the tech industry is easier than ever, with more and more hiring managers selecting candidates based on skills and experience rather than education. While some potential employers may prefer at least an associate degree, you can get computer science jobs without a degree as long as you have the right skills.
Computer science (CS) degrees are just one way to prepare for a tech career. If you’re looking to break into the field of computer science without a degree, this guide can show you how. We’ll cover how to get a CS job without a degree, what types of computer science jobs pay well, the skills you need to learn, and how to learn those skills without going to college or university.
Computer Science Job Outlook: Do You Need a Computer Science Degree?
It is possible to get a job in computer science without a degree. Employers today are more focused on hiring experienced and talented candidates regardless of their formal education. The outlook for computer science jobs shows a lot of growth in the next decade, and when there is less competition for jobs, a computer science degree isn’t necessary.
While you don’t need a computer science degree, you will have to work harder to prove that you can do the job. You might need to get professional computer science certifications or create an impressive portfolio. Networking will help you get your foot in the door for jobs that might otherwise require a degree.
What Education Do You Need to Get a Computer Science Job?
A high school diploma is often enough to satisfy entry-level computer science job requirements. That being said, you may be required to get some specific training to prepare for the job. You will find some job postings for computer science jobs with education requirements that list a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Some jobs might even require a graduate degree.
For the most part, a certificate or training program is enough to get a computer science job without a degree. A coding bootcamp is a type of training program that takes less time than a traditional degree, and they usually include career services to help you land a computer science job without a degree.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
Going to college isn’t an easy decision, mostly because it’s so expensive. According to Statista, around 55 percent of college students graduate with student loan debt. Since it is possible to get jobs in the tech industry without a degree, college might not be for everyone. Before you decide college isn’t for you, make sure you research financial aid options and inexpensive degrees.
Another reason college isn’t for everyone is that a four-year degree might be too long to wait to start your dream career. You can consider shorter education programs at community colleges, trade schools, and coding bootcamps. These education options also focus more on practical skills, so you’ll be ready for the job market upon graduation.
Is a Coding Bootcamp a Viable Alternative to a Computer Science Degree?
Yes, you can graduate from a coding bootcamp or computer science degree program and qualify for similar jobs. The job you can get after attending a coding bootcamp depends on the type of program you attended. A cyber security bootcamp leads to cyber security jobs, a UX design bootcamp leads to UX jobs, and so on. A CS degree vs a coding bootcamp gives you more career flexibility because you learn about a wider range of topics.
There are other subtle differences to keep in mind. When looking at a coding bootcamp vs a computer science degree, it is important to note that the former is a more focused program that teaches technical skills in one specific field. On the other hand, a CS degree explores the history, theory, and current research in a wide range of computer science fields. A coding bootcamp is a job training program, while a CS degree is a comprehensive education.
High-Paying Computer Science Jobs Without a College Degree
|Job||Average Salary||Outlook||Best Bootcamp Option|
|Software Engineer||$120,730||26%||General Assembly Software Engineering Immersive|
|Network Engineer||$120,520||4%||Clarusway Cloud & DevOps Engineer|
|Tech Sales Representative||$103,710||6%||Springboard Tech Sales Bootcamp|
|Cyber Security Analyst||$102,600||35%||Flatiron School Cybersecurity Bootcamp|
|Data Analyst||$100,910||36%||Le Wagon Data Analytics Bootcamp|
|Systems Analyst||$99,270||7%||UCR Cybersecurity Bootcamp|
|Computer Programmer||$93,000||-10%||Springboard Software Engineering Bootcamp|
|Web Designer||$79,890||16%||General Assembly UX Design Immersive|
|Web Developer||$77,030||30%||Berkeley Coding Bootcamp|
|Mobile App Developer||$76,523||30%||The Tech Academy Python Developer Boot Camp|
|UX Designer||$76,279||16%||Thinkful UX/UI Design Bootcamp|
|Digital Marketer||$63,920||19%||Thinkful Digital Marketing Bootcamp|
|Game Developer||$62,400||26%||The Tech Academy C# and .NET Framework Boot Camp|
|Computer Support Specialist||$57,910||6%||Yellow Tail Tech Linux For Jobs|
|Graphic Designer||$50,710||3%||Shillington Education Online Graphic Design Course|
You can become a software engineer without a computer science degree, but it will be challenging. Software engineers need to know more than how to program. They also need to understand the computer science theory behind the structure of software programs.
Not just any coding bootcamp will do as a stand-in for a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering. You’ll need to find a specialized program in software engineering, like General Assembly’s Software Engineering Immersive program.
Network engineers are responsible for setting up, building, and maintaining computer networks. They may work for organizations as employees or as consultants for different tech companies. They support staff, customers, clients, and suppliers by handling and troubleshooting any network issues. They may also be responsible for developing new networks.
A career in network engineering can be pretty technical, and some positions will require an undergraduate degree or graduate degree. However, if you work for several years as an IT technician and get professional certifications, you can get this type of computer science job without a degree.
Tech Sales Representative
Tech sales representatives are salespeople who understand enough computer science to effectively sell software or computer products. This is a great job for people who are somewhat interested in technology and have great people skills.
You don’t need to be an expert in technology, so you don’t need a computer science degree. To meet job requirements, you’ll either need a sales background or a certificate from a tech sales training program. Many tech sales positions offer on-the-job training for applicants who have good communication skills.
Cyber Security Analyst
Cyber security analysts are responsible for IT and network infrastructure security. These professionals protect a company’s data by developing protocols to respond to and prevent cyber attacks. Cyber security analysts also help ensure that the computer hardware and network devices are secure.
It is possible to get this type of computer science job without a degree, but you’ll need to attend a cyber security bootcamp or another formal education program. The job requirements for this role are pretty rigorous because you’ll be responsible for keeping sensitive data secure.
Data analysts are responsible for collecting, cleaning, and interpreting datasets to solve problems or answer questions. Data analysts collect data through visitor tracking, surveys, and dataset purchase from other data collection specialists. Data analysts can work in many fields, such as criminal justice, finance, marketing, business, government, and medicine.
To become a data analyst, you need skills in statistics and programming. A bachelor’s degree or college certificate is helpful in this field, but you can get one of these computer science jobs without a degree. A bootcamp is a quick way to learn the skills you need without a degree, but you’ll probably need to start with freelance gigs before you meet the criteria for a full-time data analyst job.
Systems analysts are IT professionals who make sure computer infrastructure and systems function efficiently in an organization. They research problems, find solutions, recommend actions, and coordinate meetings with stakeholders to meet requirements. They work on hardware, operating systems, and software platforms using some of the best programming languages.
To land this computer science job without a degree, you’ll need several years of experience in an IT job and programming skills. You might need to take a coding bootcamp course or community college classes to meet the job education requirements.
Computer programmers are responsible for writing code, testing, debugging, and maintaining computer programs using programming languages such as Java, C, PHP, .NET, and C++. They convert programs designed by system architects or software developers into simple instructions that computers can follow.
You can learn to code at a coding bootcamp and become a programmer without a degree. You can also teach yourself how to code through free online tutorials and lots of personal projects. To land this kind of computer science job with no degree, you’ll need an impressive programming portfolio that shows off the kind of work you’re capable of.
Web designers focus on the aesthetic aspects of a website. This includes selecting the proper fonts, colors, images, and layout to create the personality of a site. Web designers meet with clients to get a clear idea of what they need on the website, and then they create designs, layouts, and other features according to their client’s needs and preferences.
Web designers can be responsible for the front end usability of a website, but they usually focus on the visuals. Because this is a less technical role, it’s easier to get a job in web design without a degree. You need to be a creative thinker with an eye for good design.
Web developers write the code that makes websites run. These professionals build user-friendly websites to make them more accessible to the target audience. They are also responsible for building functions within the website, such as newsletters, forms for capturing email addresses, automated messages to clients, and paywalls and payment processing systems.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Mobile App Developer
Mobile app developers need to know how to code and build an app from scratch. You can teach yourself or attend a web development bootcamp. At bootcamp, you’ll build a professional portfolio that will help you get this computer science job without a degree.
UX designers make software services and products more enjoyable, usable, and accessible for users. Their role focuses on digital design for apps and websites, and they help ensure that customers find digital products friendly and easy to use. They work to find new ways to enhance the customer experience.
Digital marketers promote services and products using digital channels like social media. They make use of push-and-pull marketing techniques to target customers directly and indirectly. These experts work in different industries and help organizations land clients and save money on traditional marketing.
Digital marketers need skills in SEO, Google Analytics, social media campaigns, and data analysis. If you have professional certifications or a certificate to prove your skills to potential employers, you can get an entry-level digital marketing job without a degree. However, to advance to higher-level positions, you will probably need a degree.
A lot of people become interested in computer science through video games. You don’t need a computer science degree to become a game developer. There are specialized game development bootcamps that teach you how to design and program games, as well as provide career services to help you land your first game development job.
Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists are IT professionals who help businesses and individuals solve their IT problems. There is no degree requirement for this computer science job, but most jobs look for an IT certificate from a community college, technical school, or vocational school. You could learn the skills you need at a bootcamp, but a community college certificate is usually a cheaper option.
Graphic designers are visual communicators who build design prototypes with graphic design software or by hand. These experts develop visual ideas to inform, inspire, and captivate customers. They often work in advertising agencies, magazines, and marketing agencies.
Artistic ability is the most important skill for this job, but graphic designers also need technical skills in specific design programs, depending on the job description. It’s easy to learn these programs without a degree because there are plenty of online classes and tutorials.
How to Get a Job in Computer Science Without a Degree
It can be intimidating to try to compete for high-paying jobs without a degree, but it’s easier once you know how to get a CS job without a degree. In this section, we’ll show you the steps that make it easier to get a job in computer science without a degree.
Find Your Motivation
Transitioning into a new career can be tough, and you’ll need strong motivation to do it. If you take the time to understand your motivation for getting a CS job without a degree, it will be easier to keep going when it gets difficult.
Set clear goals that you want to achieve. Do some research to determine possible issues you may encounter and prepare for them. On days that you feel unmotivated, reviewing your goals can help you keep working towards your objective.
Choose Your Learning Method
There are a lot of ways to learn the skills you need to get a job in computer science. You can read books and resources by yourself, enroll in an online course, or attend an online coding bootcamp. These three options are far cheaper than going to college.
Build Projects to Hone Your Skills
Regardless of your learning method, you need to practice skills by building projects. Work on developing websites and apps to hone your skills. Aside from helping you master the skill, you can build a portfolio for job searches. Employers want someone with experience, and a portfolio shows that you have hands-on experience and that you know what you are doing.
If you want to become a computer scientist without a degree, your personal projects should include research on cutting-edge techniques. Look for peer-reviewed publications in academic journals and practice developing research ideas and writing in an academic style.
Focus on Networking
While you are learning the skills you need for computer science, make sure to also spend some time networking. You can attend tech-based events and local meetups. Many great jobs are not formally advertised and hiring managers like to interview candidates they know personally or through a colleague, so you might find hidden opportunities through your professional relationships.
What Skills Does a Computer Science Job Require?
Each type of computer science job requires its own set of technical skills, ranging from Photoshop to the many uses of Python. For analytical jobs, you’ll need to know statistics and data visualization, and for any type of development role, you’ll need to know the fundamentals of programming. Below, we’ll cover some common skills needed for computer science.
Data Analysis and Visualization Skills
Data plays a key role in advanced computer science, so computer scientists need to have analytical skills. It’s also crucial to have data visualization skills to be able to present information to other non-scientific stakeholders. This includes presenting analyzed data using charts, graphs, and other visual tools.
Computer and Information Technology Skills
It is important to have basic computer science skills regardless of the subfield you find yourself in. You should know how to operate hardware and software and be able to work on different operating systems. You should also know how to troubleshoot common problems and where to look to find answers for problems you can’t solve on your own.
Technical Writing Skills
This soft skill is important because it makes you versatile in the computer science field. With this computer science skill, you can give directions and explanations in different technical situations. This computer science skill helps in job hunting because it shows employers that you can report and present technical ideas in a clear way.
Knowledge of Software Development
One important hard skill for computer scientists is software development. You need a full understanding of software development principles to make your resume attractive to recruiters. This skill shows that you can design an efficient piece of software, write the code, and test and troubleshoot the program.
What Is a Realistic Entry-Level Computer Science Salary?
To give you an idea of the range of possible entry-level computer science salaries, let’s take a look at the highest- and lowest-paid jobs on our list above. An entry-level software engineer makes $78,240 per year, and an entry-level graphic designer makes $40,268 per year.
There is a wide range of average computer science starting salaries, but most entry-level computer science salaries are higher than other fields. The best-paying entry-level jobs without a degree are more technical roles with programming and data analysis responsibilities.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level Computer Science Jobs
There are plenty of large, well-known companies that offer entry-level computer science jobs without a degree. These roles are a great starting point for a computer science career because there is room for growth and promotion within a large company. If you do well in your entry-level computer science job with no degree, the company might help you pay for your education.
- Google. Google is well known for its search engine and GPS app, but the company also offers online advertising and cloud computing services. It offers a lot of entry-level software developer roles. It is one of the largest tech employers in tech in the world.
- Boeing. This American multinational company designs and manufactures rotorcraft, airplanes, telecommunication equipment, satellites, and missiles. The company has lots of entry-level software engineer roles open.
- IBM. IBM is an American computer manufacturer that hires entry-level data analysts, tech sales representatives, and computer programmers. The company sells enterprise system software, IT services, and cloud services.
- Verizon. Verizon is a wireless network operator based in New York. It offers smartphone deals as well as wireless plans for its wide user base in the US. Verizon hires entry-cyber security analysts, network engineers, and mobile app developers
- Salesforce. Salesforce runs various productivity applications for online work, which improve and maintain well-known products like Tableau and Slack. Salesforce hires mobile app developers, software engineers, and web designers.
Where to Find Entry-Level Computer Science Jobs
It’s easy to find entry-level computer science jobs on online job boards because you can filter results by experience level and education level. You can use general job boards like Indeed or more specialized computer science job boards to find entry-level CS jobs.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that allows professionals to connect with one another. It is an excellent place to find computer science jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree because it lists open jobs in different parts of the world. It also offers easier ways to apply for jobs without adding your resume to every single application.
Indeed is a job board and career guide service that you can use to find computer science jobs. This website allows you to create an account and add your resume for easy application. You can also customize your search to save time, and you can set up a job alert for multiple searches so that the newest jobs land directly in your email inbox.
Glassdoor doesn’t just post jobs. The website also has company information, employee reviews, and personalized salary tools to help you to navigate the job search process. Once you’ve picked a few job titles that fit your career goals, you can narrow down your search to entry-level positions.
Mashable Job Board
Mashable is a tech news platform that also has a job board. You can search for specific types of jobs, or you can post your resume and let employers find you. Lots of start-ups use Mashable, and these younger companies typically have fewer education requirements for entry-level computer science jobs.
Dice is a tech job board that also has lots of job search resources to help you find your next position. You can search for jobs by title, skill, or other types of categories. To start searching for jobs, you’ll need to set up an online profile and upload your resume. You can set your resume to be searchable, which allows recruiters to find you instead of the other way around.
Should I Get a Computer Science Degree Later in My Career?
Even if you have already found a high-paying computer science job without a degree, there are still many reasons why you should get a degree in computer science later in your career. Most senior-level and management computer science positions require a degree, and your salary with a computer science degree will be higher than without a degree.
It’s more convenient than ever to get a degree with remote learning and part-time schedules. There are even fast-track computer science degrees online that you can complete in just a few years. It isn’t ever too late to get a computer science degree, especially if you want to advance your career beyond entry-level computer science jobs.
Computer Science Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
You can learn computer science on your own through books or online courses, tutorials, and forums. Many of the best resources to learn CS online are free. If you prefer a structured learning environment, then you can enroll in a coding bootcamp or college course. A bootcamp will help you to master in-demand skills within a short time.
How hard is it to get a computer science job without a degree?
Depending on the job, not very hard. Some computer science jobs are easier to get without a degree than others, like tech sales representative, web developer, and UX designer. On the other hand, some more technical computer science jobs can be very hard to get without a degree. Jobs like software engineer, network engineer, and cyber security analyst are hard to get without a degree.
Can a coding bootcamp help you get a computer science job?
Yes, coding bootcamps can give you useful skills that prepare you for a computer science job, and most programs include job support to help bootcamp grads navigate the job market. Some coding and computer science bootcamps come with a job guarantee, so students can feel confident they’ll get a job after completing the program.
What jobs can you get with a computer science associate degree?
A computer science associate degree prepares you to get a job in computer programming, cyber security, or IT. Most computer science associate degree jobs are entry-level positions that pay well. Another benefit of Associate in Computer Science jobs is that many of them can be done remotely, giving you more control over your personal schedule.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.