Everyone would agree that the information technology sector is lucrative and offers good job prospects for the future. But did you know that you can get a foot in the door of the industry without a four-year degree?
Most employers in IT fields don’t require a college education to be hired for a job. They are more concerned with your experience and technical expertise. If you can prove that you can effectively perform the duties of the role, you can land a high-paying IT job without a degree.
What Is IT?
IT, short for information technology, is the use of computing technology, such as software, hardware, and internet systems, for processing, storing, and sending electronic data. It also involves the development and maintenance of computer systems.
Information technology has become a big part of our everyday lives and a backbone of many organizations. We can safely say that IT is here to stay as it continues to expand through many innovations and inventions. There is also a plethora of career opportunities in the numerous sub-areas of IT, such as software development, data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
What Do IT Jobs Pay?
According to Payscale, the average salary for an IT job is $82,000 per year. However, this value depends on many factors such as level of formal education, experience, skills, and location. Even so, most IT jobs pay well, even for entry-level employees and people without a four-year degree.
What Skills Do You Need to Land an IT Job?
Programming skills are an essential part of your arsenal for most IT jobs. People who want to build a career in IT must first develop their knowledge in programming languages like Python, C++, and Java before they can successfully land jobs.
Analytical abilities are among the most in-demand skills for many IT jobs. They allow you to investigate technical issues and find viable solutions to problems. Strong analytical skills can tip the scale in your favor and give you a competitive edge in your job search.
Project management skills represent how well you can utilize the tools and resources at your disposal to execute projects. Good project management skills can make you a good fit for an IT job. You will have to deal with deadlines while working on many projects. Delivering on projects and tasks efficiently will help you thrive in your job role.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Almost all job positions in the IT field require good communication skills as you often work in teams under the supervision of senior colleagues and managers. It is critical to communicate well to convey your ideas to help solve technical issues effectively. Therefore, effective verbal and written communication skills are essential soft skills in IT.
While creativity may be an important skill for IT jobs, it is essential to have it as an IT professional. Your creative skills will be required in your job role to come up with revolutionary ideas and find innovative solutions to technological problems.
What Education Do You Need to Get an IT Job?
The IT field places more emphasis on skills than education. Employers are more concerned about what you can do, your experience, and your technical knowledge, than your degree. You can build your skills by attending a coding bootcamp, teaching yourself, attending a technical school, earning certifications, or pursuing a degree.
According to the educational attainment survey of professionals 25 and older conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 45.8 percent of computer and information systems managers, 47.5 percent of computer system analysts, 42.8 percent of information security analysts, and 39.7 percent of computer network architects have bachelor’s degrees.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
More and more people are beginning to realize that college is not for them. Not everybody can deal with the high costs, stress, time, and energy required to earn a college degree. The good news is that employers know this. If you want to develop your IT skills but don’t think college is for you, you can check out other alternatives such as vocational schools and coding bootcamps.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get an IT Job?
Yes, enrolling in a coding bootcamp or other similar training programs can provide you with all the necessary skills and education to get an IT job. Coding bootcamps utilize a structured curriculum and hands-on training to equip students with job-ready skills to break into the industry after graduation.
In addition, most coding bootcamps also offer job assistance such as networking, access to an alumni network, and resume reviews. Students may also enjoy job placement and financial services throughout the program.
How to Get an IT Job With a GED
The General Educational Development (GED) test works as an alternative to a high school diploma for students who didn’t earn one. It is widely accepted and many colleges admit students with a GED certification. It is crucial to receive IT training before you qualify as an IT professional.
Decide on a Career Track
During your research, you’ll come across colleges, technical schools, and coding bootcamps that offer IT courses. You will have to decide on the best schooling option for you and take appropriate steps to enroll and receive an education.
Sign up, get admitted, and start learning. This is where you learn the necessary IT skills to be considered a professional in the industry. This part takes six months to four years, depending on your schooling choice and learning pace.
Prepare a Resume
Upon completing your job training and schooling, you need to create a resume to help you in your job search. Your resume highlights your skills, education, and experience while establishing you as a competent candidate for an IT job. We recommend that you learn how to write a functional resume.
Apply for Open Job positions
Look for open job positions and apply accordingly to the job that best fits your skills. Find job openings directly on company websites or utilize one of the many job boards available on the internet.
High-Paying IT Jobs Without a College Degree
|IT Sales representatives||$108,830||8%|
|Cyber security Specialist||$103,590||33%|
|Customer Support Specialist||$45,969||-1%|
|Mobile App Developers||$73,408||22%|
|Network Support Specialists||$55,510||9%|
Best IT Jobs that Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Software architects develop software solutions such as programs, databases, web services, and user interfaces. They analyze the end user’s needs and create applications based on their requirements. They are usually found in the IT department of an organization creating technical standard guidelines and company practices for other IT professionals.
DevOps engineers perform website production, cloud infrastructure management, and system administration. They also coordinate the software development life cycle from coding to deployment. DevOps engineers are required to research and introduce new tools, methodologies, and technologies to increase efficiency.
IT Sales Representative
IT sales representatives sell technological solutions in the form of hardware and software products. They help clients find the best technology to solve their business technological issues. Unlike other IT jobs, sales reps do not need to have expert knowledge of programming languages. Instead, their job description lies in marketing and improving software sales of businesses.
Software engineers employ their knowledge of programming languages and architecture to develop software applications that solve real-life problems. They create a wide range of software ranging from network control systems to games. In addition, they work in teams of software architects, data scientists, and DevOps personnel to maintain and update new technologies as needed.
Cyber Security Specialist
A cyber security specialist, also known as a cyber security analyst, ensures that computer hardware and software systems have up-to-date security protection. They perform security audits on computer systems to ensure that security systems are functional and safe from any intrusions. They also design firewalls and security measures for this purpose.
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Customer Support Specialist
Customer support specialists, also known as help desk analysts or desk technicians, attend to customers’ needs, inquiries, and complaints. They relay customer issues to the appropriate department for resolution. Customer support specialists are also tasked with building a good relationship with customers through exemplary customer service skills and a friendly attitude.
Mobile App Developer
Mobile app developers create applications for mobile devices. They are also involved in programming, testing, maintaining, and updating apps across all operating systems on phones, laptops, and tablets. They design the look and mechanics of the application, ensuring that it meets its intended purpose.
Just like the job title implies, a database manager manages data. Database managers are responsible for storing data, maintaining storage systems, and updating database designs. They also ensure that the company’s data is adequately secure on the database to prevent data loss.
Network Support Specialist
A network support specialist maintains an organization’s computer network. They run troubleshooting sequences on systems to find network issues and proffer practical solutions. They are also tasked with network configuration, security, and performance evaluation.
Web Developers build and design websites for business needs. They utilize their programming knowledge to create the user interface and the technical server-side of the website while building code that ensures the website meets performance standards.
Companies that Offer Entry-Level IT Jobs
- IBM: IBM offers entry-level positions and internship positions to candidates in numerous job roles as data scientists, designers, developers, and product managers.
- Asana: Asana is actively hiring entry-level IT candidates to join their company and contribute their skills in helping them build workplace technology.
- Google: Google is another company where entry-level IT candidates can land a job. They offer competitive salaries, bonuses, and a chance to change the world through information technology.
- Microsoft: Microsoft is a leading hardware and software company with numerous job opportunities and a career advancement platform for entry-level candidates.
- Intel Corporation: Intel Corporation is one of the most prominent IT organizations majoring in artificial intelligence, analytics, and cloud computing. They offer competitive job postings for entry-level candidates.
Where to Find IT Jobs that Don’t Require a Degree
A cursory search through the internet can connect us with hundreds of job openings. But you have to work to sift through the numerous options to find the best jobs that do not require a degree. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed are among the best sites to find information on job postings.
Job seekers should take advantage of the networking power of the internet to join online communities. By joining online communities, they can connect to jobs that fit their qualifications. They will also be able to communicate and share information with other job seekers.
Social Media Platforms
Your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts can help you in your job search. Social media is a great platform to find jobs and connect with companies looking to hire. Most top companies have a social media account for communicating with the public. You can simply follow the company you wish to join to keep track of any potential job opening.
Consider an IT Degree Later in Your Career
Pursuing an IT degree is a good idea but it is not compulsory to land most IT jobs. You can easily break into the industry provided you have minimum education and the required tech skills to succeed in the job role. But if you still fancy the idea of having a college degree, you could easily consider an IT degree later in your career.
An IT degree offers you a chance to add and refine your tech skills. It would allow you to resolve any knowledge gap and combine it with the on-the-job experience you have amassed over the years. It may also increase your earning potential and set you up for promotions into more leadership roles.
IT Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
Yes, you can. Even though some software development jobs may prefer candidates with a degree, you can still land a job if you can prove that you have the skills and experience to perform the job effectively.
Even without relevant experience, you can still pursue a career in technology if you evaluate and apply your expertise to IT. Soft skills are transferable from one career to the other. For instance, if you are looking to land a job as a customer support specialist, you can leverage common soft skills like customer service, good communication skills, and the use of computer software.
Your career path begins with education. You’ll need to enroll at an educational institute and acquire the necessary skills required for IT job roles. Afterward, leverage your skills to get an entry-level position in the industry.
According to Payscale, IT jobs have an average annual salary of $82,000 per year.
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.