If you've had your eye on a sweet, high paying job in the information technology field but felt like it would be hard to land one without a degree, you've come to the right place!
We've had multiple guests on the NoDegree podcast that are just like you. They don’t have college degrees but still landed great jobs in the IT industry. And in some cases, they didn't have a traditional background either.
Now with Google's free Career Certificates, it's even easier to land a stable, full-time salaried IT job without a degree.
What are some IT jobs you can get without a degree?
1. IT Recruiter
If you have a background in customer service/sales, or for those who are looking to get a job in IT quickly, recruiting could be a great career to get your foot in the door.
Recruiting is a combination of sales and customer service, and it's really easy to learn! Personality is the number one factor employers look for when looking to hire recruiters.
Your day-to-day responsibilities will include talking to hiring managers about the type of employees they need, searching for job seekers on sites like Linkedin and other job boards, and interviewing the best candidates to help hiring managers build their teams!
In an interview with Tech Recruiter Bryan VanDenBosch, we talked about why recruiting is a great starting job and how to break into recruiting without experience.
One of the best things about recruiting is that it naturally lends itself to other types of roles in the future. You'll learn critical skills for career advancement, such as gathering business requirements, compellingly presenting information to get buy-in, and relationship building.
2. Quality Assurance Engineer
If you've ever been interested in software development, user experience, and learning code, then a job as a QA engineer might be great for you.
You'll be spending your days creating and executing automation tests to make sure programs and software work as intended, as well as investigating why software is failing.
You'll also be looking for ways to improve existing products and processes to enhance their performance and make lives easier for your co-workers, bosses, and customers.
Benjamin Pfarr landed a job as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Hulu without a college degree after exploring different career paths in high school. "The amount of versatility was a surprise for me. I love these new challenges that come towards me!" Check out his interview here.
Something to think about is that this type of role, like most coding based roles, requires constant education. To be successful, you'll need to keep up with the latest programming languages and best practices.
3. Project Manager
Are you a people person with attention to detail? Then a role in Project Management might be your calling!
Project Managers are advocates; their job is to support their team members and ensure everyone has what they need to complete their assignments. They lead the planning and execution of various projects.
They serve as liaisons between the different lines of business, so having great people and communication skills is a must, especially in IT, where you have to consider variables like cybersecurity and compliance.
If you're worried about breaking into information technology from a non-traditional background, check out this interview with Antoni Tzavelas, where he talks about how he went from fashion into technology.
Project managers tend to be certificate heavy; even though you don't require a degree, you should expect to improve your knowledge and credentials continuously.
In IT, most project managers will need to have a good working knowledge of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as well as Agile and Waterfall methodologies.
At some point, you'll want to consider PMP, which is pretty standard among higher-level project managers.
4. Systems Administrator
The jack of all trades! Systems Administrators are creative problem-solvers who are in the trenches doing the daily grind and getting things done, and serving as leaders or advisors to their co-workers and leadership team.
Some days you'll be running network tests to identify security issues and making sure everything is working correctly. On other days you'll be setting up the hardware and making suggestions for equipment recommendations.
For those who prefer being a generalist instead of a specialist and prefer variety over routine, this is an excellent role to go after! Especially for those who love process improvement and playing with machines.
Because every day is a new day, Kenneth Atkins feels like the Systems Administrator is his dream job. And before you ask if you need a degree or some expensive course, Kenneth taught himself to understand computer networking, software, and security. "They hired me as the single technology point of contact for one campus. It was my first time dealing with 20-25 issues in one day. I took it as an opportunity to meet with decision-makers to improve processes."
Learn more about what it's like being a system administrator and other technology jobs in our interview.
5. Technical Product Director
Now we're talking big bucks! Bet you didn't think it was possible to land a six-figure job without a degree, right?
At least not outside a sales job, anyway.
Well, it's ABSOLUTELY possible to find $100K jobs without a degree.
Actually, it's also possible to get a nice high paying job at a hyper-competitive tech company.
How do we know this?
Because Jae Taylor went from an office assistant to a Technical Product Director at Salesforce.
And without a degree.
So what is a "Technical Product Director" anyway?
"So, product management, in general, is about working with customers and helping them to not only understand your product but then also understanding what they need from you as a company. Technical means that I work on the technical portions of the project."
If you've ever been interested in product management as a path, becoming a director is a natural part of your career progression.
Technical product directors are customer-centric and business-focused but still have the technical understanding needed to communicate with business partners in divisions like infrastructure, quality assurance, etc.
Like most leadership roles, having good people and communication skills is critical.
How to Get Started?
At this point, you might be wondering "how to get started?" Well, there are plenty of online resources that can help. Career Karma, for example, has a catalog of 9,000 bootcamps and trade schools. If you’re looking to switch careers, you might just find a training course that’s right for you.
If you’re thinking of becoming a Google Cloud Engineer, Antoni Tzavelas recently launched a Google Cloud Training course that teaches all you’d need to pass the exam. Or, if you feel that project management might be the career for you, check out Jae Taylor’s Project Management Foundations Accelerator program.
Whatever you decide to do, the tech industry is booming (even in this COVID-19 era).
Image by FS-Stock via Canva
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