If You Have The Goods, You Do Not Need a Degree to Succeed In Tech

You can get a tech job without a degree – so long as you get something else: the job done. Many tech employers are much less interested in candidates educational pedigrees than their actual, demonstrable skills, capabilities, experience, work ethic, and willingness to learn. You can acquire all these things without spending four years and tens of thousands of dollars earning a piece of paper to hang on your cubicle wall.

That is not to say that a four (or two) year college degree is of no value. Plenty of positions and employers will demand a degree as an essential qualification. But in today’s job market, tech companies desperately need talent to fill an expanding number of openings. This trend translates to more IT employers being willing to consider and hire individuals for a tech job without a degree if they otherwise acquire the knowledge and experience needed to excel in a role.

Tech Industry Statistics and Job Listings Show That Degrees Are Not Everything

If you doubt you can get a great tech job without a degree, look at the numbers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26% of IT employees do not have a four-year college degree or higher. Additionally, an Employer Perception Study conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association revealed:

  • Of the 2.3 million tech job postings surveyed in 2017, almost half (49%) did not include a four-year degree as a minimum requirement.
  • In 2017, job postings for core tech positions in the U.S. that did require a bachelor’s degree or higher paid, on average, $83,000 per year.

Building Skill Sets Without College

College classes teach many hard, technical skills required for many tech jobs. But trudging across campus is not necessary to get the educational foundation needed for a tech career. Many of the skills you need to succeed in tech jobs are available through online courses, coding boot camps, and certificate programs. The key to getting a tech job without a degree is understanding core concepts and then amassing hours upon hours of practice and practical experience. No four-year degree is required for that.

Not All Tech Jobs Are Technical

tech jobs without a degree might be in another industryIn many ways, IT companies are like any other business – they have employees whose roles are not directly related to the company’s core business. Chemical companies employ accountants, auto manufacturers hire human resources professionals, and hospitals need customer service reps. The same applies to the tech industry. Not every tech company employee is writing code or developing software. One analysis of IT industry job postings found that 43 percent of advertised positions were for non-tech jobs. Many of these do not require a college degree.

Related: Simple Ways To Break Into Tech Careers

High-Paying Tech Jobs: No Degree Required

While some tech companies may list a college degree as a requirement, plenty of IT professionals in the following five high-paying roles did not graduate from college before building a successful tech career:

Web Developer

Developers are responsible for the technical substance and visual style of sites. As with many tech positions, developers require experience more than anything else, and that experience is available without a degree.

Computer Programmer

Programmers write the code that makes mobile apps, desktops, or proprietary equipment work. It is perhaps the most fundamentally important of all tech roles, meaning that employers needing talent will happily hire a programmer with the goods, even if they do not have a degree.

Systems Analyst

Systems analysts focus on increasing the efficiency and profitability of a company’s information systems and procedures. A degree is not a must-have for many entry-level analyst roles.

User Experience Specialist

Helping customers or coworkers with IT questions and problems requires knowing the correct answers and fixes, but user experience specialists must also have the people skills needed to interact with folks who may be frustrated, angry, or confused. You can acquire these essential qualities without a degree.

Digital Marketer

Digital marketers promote services and products using the power of the internet. This position requires creativity, an understanding of the market, and an ability to connect with potential customers. Much like traditional marketing positions, a college degree is a bonus, but not a necessity.

Looking For a Tech Job Without a Degree? Look to GTN Technical Staffing For Help.

If you’re looking for a tech job without a degree, GTN Technical Staffing can increase your chances of success in the IT job market and help you stand out from the crowd. Check out our IT & technical career search board or reach out to our team of experienced tech recruiters today.