TMCnet Feature
September 21, 2021

Starting a Career in IT Without a Degree

Take the tiniest look around our world today, and it’s easy to see things are changing at lightning speeds. The ways we communicate, relate, work, and even buy groceries have gone through revolutionary shifts. These transitions are even more evident during global events such as pandemics and political upheavals.

In light of all this societal unrest, you might be questioning your future in the workforce. Perhaps you’d like to change careers, but you don’t want to give up working from home. Or maybe the thought of going to college for four years for a new vocation is overwhelming, much less too expensive.

While it is true, life these days can’t offer any guarantees, the world of information technology (IT) is assuredly one of the best fields to start a career.  Fortunately, starting a career in IT doesn’t have to be over-taxing on your time or your budget. Read on for tips about starting a career in IT without a degree. 

Perks to Pursuing a Career in Information Technology

IT is the fastest growing industry in the world. While IT is a broad field, it’s mostly defined as the utilization of computers to store, exchange and retrieve data. Careers in information technology are in constant flux, requiring professionals to be on the cutting edge of innovation. So if you appreciate change and staying on top of technology trends, IT could be a grand occupation for you.

The advantages of an IT career are also many and lucrative.  Most positions pay extremely well if you have developed a marketable skill set. Furthermore, jobs in IT can be very flexible. Many top recruiters are allowing new hires to work from home these days. Ideally, you can make an impressive wage in IT while enjoying a croissant and a cup of French press coffee while never leaving the comfort of your abode.

Most importantly, you can pursue a career in information technology without the big investment of getting a college degree. Hiring managers in the field of IT are more amenable to hiring non-degreed techs than in other occupations. Furthermore, IT is a unique genre in that you can attain necessary skills independently that can land you an enviable IT career.  So, if you’re eager to learn but not keen on getting a degree, read further for some ideas about how to successfully launch your IT career.

Refine Your Niche:  As mentioned, the realm of IT is vast, offering endless opportunities in a variety of areas. Given its rich diversity, it’s a good idea to start your career in IT by defining your interests and expertise. For example, if you have previous experience in the medical field, you might want to build on that by pursuing tech positions on the medical front. Common uses of IT in medicine include organizing patient health records, establishing e-prescription databases, or digitally assisting patients meet their health goals. Alternatively, if you love communications you may want to explore content management software for blogging or collaborations. Other examples of information technology jobs include working with performance management software, research, and development, analytical marketing, automated accounting or programming to name a few.

Consider Certification: Once you’ve nailed down the niche you want to pursue, consider getting certification in that area of expertise. While it’s true you don’t need to take years out of your life getting a degree in IT, it’s a good idea to explore certifications to show your employer you’ve gone through some training.  Certifications are far more affordable than college and some take only weeks instead of years to attain.  Furthermore, moguls such as Intel offer workforce programs that are readily available for anyone who wants to learn programming, coding, or other areas in the IT industry.

Network With IT Pros:  According to a recent survey taken by a prominent career consulting company, 87% of employers check references from applicants. Potential employers also base their hiring decisions on social media content and who you know.  Considering this, keep your social media clean and career-focused. Also, be sure to network with professionals in your area of interest. You’d be surprised by how someone you’re chatting with might know your future employer and can happily recommend you for your dream IT job.

Freelance, Volunteer, Internship Options:  If you’re new to IT, you’ve got to be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up. This might entail working for free at a prominent software company as an intern.  You might also consider working on open-source projects which are typically low or non-paying positions.  Additionally, brainstorm doing work for friends and family on the side or volunteering your IT skills at a non-profit.  All of these outlets can get the experience you need while looking great on your ever-growing resume.

Finding your ideal job in the IT industry doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or entail taking a chunk out of your time earning a degree.  However, if you’re just starting out, landing your desired IT job will take effort. Be willing to work hard, earn certifications and take innovative steps to cinch up your new IT career.

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