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Individuals without degrees can pursue many entry-level and freelance opportunities in the tech sector, making this career accessible to a wider range of professionals. Tech careers can offer high pay and stability, making them particularly attractive to job-seekers.
Whether you are looking to pursue a tech career or advance professionally, this page provides the resources to learn more about different tech career opportunities, the skills necessary to succeed, and how to get started.
Working in Tech Without a Degree
The tech industry offers several benefits, including opportunities for high salaries, flexible hours, and remote work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for computer and information technology roles was $97,430 as of May 2021 — significantly higher than the earnings reported for all other occupations. The BLS also projects employment for tech professionals to grow by 13% from 2020-2030.
Roles such as UX designer, technical writer, and digital marketer may not require candidates to possess degrees. The BLS reports that more than 20% of tech professionals work without degrees, confirming that non-degreed techs are common in today's labor market.
How to Get a Tech Job Without a Degree
There are several ways to break into basic tech jobs without a degree. Bootcamps, certifications, and standalone courses are all options for aspiring professionals seeking basic tech careers.
Bootcamps provide the skills and knowledge needed to pursue roles in the tech industry. Certifications may help professionals stand out to hiring managers and recruiters.
Specialized coursework allows learners to explore the skills needed for a particular tech job or project without committing to a full degree. For instance, candidates may elect to complete courses in computer science, project management, or other related fields.
Certain basic tech jobs do not require candidates to possess degrees, positioning new hires and seasoned tech workers to learn and grow on the job. Candidates can also leverage network connections to pursue entry-level opportunities that lead to advancement. With many available pathways, emerging tech workers without degrees can pursue in-demand roles.
Tech Jobs for Professionals Without a Degree
Entry-level roles can provide on-the-job training to build familiarity with best practices in the field. The following list includes eight roles available to individuals without degrees.
Help Desk Technician
Help desk technicians provide technical support to computer users. They are the first point of contact for people experiencing computer or software problems.
Working from home or in traditional office settings, entry-level help desk professionals assist customers with problem solving and teach users how to properly navigate technology. Besides general computer knowledge, help desk technicians possess excellent problem-solving, communication, and customer service skills.
These technicians collaborate with customers, IT team members, and other stakeholders to resolve technical issues. They commonly work in the healthcare, education, government, and business sectors.
Help desk technicians with strong technical skills and customer service abilities may be eligible for advancement opportunities as network and computer systems administrators, information security analysts, and software developers.
Technical Support Specialist
Technical support specialists collaborate with customers, IT staff, and management to resolve computer systems, software, and hardware issues. They typically find employment in healthcare, manufacturing, and education.
These professionals commonly work in customer service and technical support, allowing them to pursue advancement opportunities in management and consulting. Non-degree education, such as certification programs and bootcamps, can prepare candidates for this role.
Technical support specialists often collaborate with diverse coworkers, work remotely, and land positions with flexible schedules.
Systems administrators coordinate the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems, especially multi-user computers, such as servers. They perform regular maintenance by installing system updates and monitoring network activity. These professionals also respond to user requests to troubleshoot issues.
Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently are essential for this role. System administrators collaborate with other IT staff, such as network engineers and database administrators. They may also travel to on-site locations.
System administrators have many advancement opportunities, including network and information systems management roles. Many industries hire system administrators, including government, healthcare, finance, and education. Key benefits include competitive salaries, job security, and flexible work hours.
Cybersecurity specialists ensure the security of organizations' networks and systems. They collaborate with IT staff to plan and implement security measures that protect sensitive information and communications.
These professionals also monitor networks for security breaches and provide incident response efforts. Cybersecurity specialists typically work in an office environment or remotely as contractors or employees.
Cybersecurity specialists can advance into management or roles as department leads. Industries that hire cybersecurity specialists include healthcare, finance, government, and education.
Mobile App Developer
Mobile app developers develop and maintain applications for mobile devices. They work with teams of designers and developers to create and improve applications. These developers also collaborate with other departments to ensure that applications meet users' needs.
This position requires strong technical skills and a good understanding of mobile platforms. These professionals should also be comfortable working independently and troubleshooting problems.
Typical employment sectors include the gaming, retail, and healthcare industries. Mobile app developers have many advancement opportunities, including becoming lead developers or managers.
Web developers create websites, coordinating the site's look and feel. They partner with web and graphic designers to deliver websites for individuals and organizations. Effective web developers have good problem-solving skills and think creatively to devise solutions to problems.
Web development companies typically employ these professionals. Alternatively, a web developer may work in-house for an organization to create and maintain the company's website. Some web developers are freelancers.
With many advancement opportunities, web developers can move into tech leadership roles or launch web development companies.
Industries that hire web developers include advertising, marketing, and public relations; computer systems design and related services; and management of companies and enterprises.
Software developers design, develop, and test software applications. Working with other developers and departments, they create and maintain high-quality software products while ensuring the software meets user needs. These professionals also analyze user needs and software requirements to plan for time and cost constraints.
Additional duties include documenting all aspects of software development, researching new software development tools, and remaining current on software development trends.
A software developer typically advances by taking on more responsibility, such as leading a team of developers or working on more complex projects. They may also advance by moving into management or executive positions.
A software tester (or quality assurance engineer) evaluates software to ensure it meets requirements and remains free of bugs. They work closely with software developers and other stakeholders to create test plans, execute tests, and report any functionality issues.
Testers may also write and maintain test automation scripts. Most software testers work in the information technology industry, with opportunities available in other sectors.
With experience, software testers can advance to lead testing positions or other tech leadership roles.
Common Questions About Tech Jobs
Is it possible to get a tech job without a degree?
Yes. Many companies hire candidates with little to no experience if they can demonstrate aptitude and a willingness to learn. To learn the skills needed for a tech job, consider enrolling in coding bootcamps, courses, or certification programs.
What is the easiest tech job to get?
The technical support specialist role is a common position to consider among the many basic tech jobs available. These specialists provide support to customers by answering questions and resolving problems. They typically need only a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and some on-the-job training.
How do I break into the tech industry?
Breaking into the tech industry depends on your skill set, experience, and connections. After reviewing job duties and requirements, individuals should complete relevant coursework, network with industry contacts, and intern with target employers. Staying informed of the latest tech trends can also guide your career development efforts.
How do I know if a career in tech is right for me?
Take time to evaluate common job duties and benefits, any experience requirements, and the cost of required education, training, or certifications for a better understanding of your prospective tech career.
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