Deciding on a new career can be a nerve-wracking decision, no matter what stage of life you’re in. But if you’re looking for stability, high salaries and remote work opportunities, then the tech space is a good place to start.

Life as we know it is changing globally, and the way we work is changing too. The tech field's likely to keep flourishing, despite the challenges other industries are facing.  

And for many desirable tech jobs, you don’t even need a degree. A lot of tech jobs are based on experience and skill, and employers recognize that degrees aren’t necessary to excel.  

So in this article we’re going to talk about different directions in tech you can go if you don’t want to wait four years. By the end of this article, you might even become aware of your new dream job. Let’s get started.

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Tech Jobs You Can Get without a Degree

The Georgetown Center and JPMorgan Chase & Co. brought recently reported that around 30 million professionals without a bachelor’s degree have jobs in the skilled-services industry in 2017. This number’s only going to rise.

Not only that, but the median salary for these jobs is at $55,000, with much higher salary potential. Some of these jobs were software development, digital marketing, cybersecurity, and information technology (IT).

Another report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that  there are more than 50,000 open jobs in the tech industry. The  Occupational Outlook Handbook that’s issued by the same organization lists some of the fastest-growing careers right now, which don’t require a degree. These include marketing management, web development, computer support specialists, and information security analysts.

Let’s look at different tech positions in detail, so you can figure out if any interest you.

Web Developer: You don’t need a degree to gain an entry-level position in web development, but you do need some key skills. You need to know coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build websites. This is one of the most popular and feasible points of entry into the tech field. Having prior knowledge of multimedia publishing tools like Flash will also help you out. To stay relevant in the field, you’ll want to keep up to date with the latest tools. Other skills that aren’t spoken about  so much but will be sure to give you an edge over other candidates are a  keen eye for detail, creativity, problem-solving, and innovativeness.  The average salary of a web developer is $67,990.

Web Designer: Web design and development sound similar, but they have some key differences. As a designer, you’re in charge of the visual aesthetic of a site; whereas in web development, you’re focused on the functionality as well. To prove your experience in this field, you’ll have to develop a portfolio to showcase your skill. To land good clients, you’ll need to have expert knowledge of graphic design principles and web literacy. Another industry standard’s familiarity with illustration tools like Photoshop and Illustrator along with a good knowledge of user interface design.  The average salary of a web designer is $48,787.

Mobile App Developer: This is one of the fastest-growing sub-fields within tech as we're starting to rely on apps for our daily needs more and more. Not only that, but businesses and companies are shifting towards apps to support their websites too. For this career, you’ll have to be proficient in coding, debugging, and testing new applications.  The average salary of a mobile app developer is $69,478.

Social Media Manager:  Some people who work in this field have a degree, but if you have the skills and experience to show, you’ll be in the running for equally high-level roles. You can begin by making your own unique brand on social media platforms and then sharing this practical knowledge to local businesses. Learning SEO skills, web development, and web design will also be helpful.  Apart from that, you should hold excellent multi-tasking skills so that you can handle multiple social media accounts across a wide range of platforms. A bit of advertising knowledge can give you an edge over other candidates too.  The average salary of a social media manager is $48,773.

Cybersecurity Specialist: You may be surprised to know that this is a role where you don’t need a college degree. However, you should validate your cybersecurity skills through certifications life CySA+, or our bootcamp along with demonstrating considerable experience in technical support, help desk, or a networking role. Cybersecurity’s one of the most lucrative jobs in the field. So, you’ll have to have some form of official certification to prove that you know the fundamentals. These professionals monitor networks for threats to the organization’s data, and it’s important to know what you’re doing. The average salary for a cybersecurity specialist is $114,143.

Computer Support Specialist: You’ll only need some basic computer classes and a good understanding of computer systems and software for this position. You can also pursue a tech education along with your current job if you opt  for this role. If you have a certain organization in mind, like Apple or Microsoft, then it would be advisable that you find out about  the specific products and systems that they use and get your skills validated. Since you’ll have to frequently interact with customers, honing in on your customer service skills will be helpful too.  The average salary of a computer support specialist is $52,810.

SEO Specialist: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In this role, your job would be to do research and analysis, be adept at software tools, and have knowledge of coding. Since this job’s often done on a consulting basis, having proof that showcases your experience and employability’s more important than a degree. You can learn about SEO skills from online resources like Google’s SEO Starter Guide and accumulate work experience through freelance work. Some  of the job requirements include in-depth keyword search, ability to  search and analyze website traffic, knowledge and experience with  WordPress and HTML, and a good understanding of slit page (or A/B)  testing. It would be a plus to have additional skills like excellent writing skills related to web content, an eye for photos and graphic design, and independent research skills.  

The average salary of an SEO Specialist is $42,862.

Advantages of Working in Tech

One of the most obvious reasons is that you don’t need a formal degree to  land high-paying jobs in tech. This is beneficial because you’ll save a  significant amount of time and money getting into your new career. Plus, it means that you have less restrictions in the way of you and a career you love that pays a comfortable salary.  

Jobs in this sector come with relatively higher compensation packages than other industries, and professionals are usually in high demand. Since technology changes at a rapid pace, there’s always new avenues opening up. There’s a particularly high demand for software engineers, digital marketers, and UX designers in the tech industry.  

Apart from these factors, the tech industry’s  oriented more towards developing a product and meeting customer  expectations. Rigid norms like fixed working hours or being on location  are nearly non-existent. So, you have the chance to work remotely and even tailor your own work schedule, as long as you deliver the targets set for you. Even the work culture is more relaxed compared with other fields. It allows you to showcase your individuality and unique talents.

Starting A New Career in Tech

Some common tips to gain entry into these jobs without a degree is to learn from various sources. You  can get your knowledge and inspiration from online videos, in-person  classes, training programs, certification courses, or even get mentored by a professional from the field. Where it’s applicable, build a portfolio of self-directed or freelance projects so that clients can see what you bring to the table.

If any of these roles intrigued you, chances are we have the bootcamp for it. If you’re serious and want to fast-track towards a career in your desired field, our bootcamps are a great option. We’ve designed them so that you’ll land a job in a field you love. Plus, if you don’t land a job in your desired field within six months post-graduation, you’ll get your money back.  

The world of tech needs more people like you to help it thrive, and it’s a field that’s going to keep growing for years to come. So, the time is now to jump on in and get started. We hope that this article has inspired you to take action to a new career that excites you, and we wish you the best of luck moving forward.

Which Tech Career is Right for You?

Ready to change your career and join the world’s next workforce? At Thinkful, we’ve got your back with various tech programs to get you equipped with in-demand skills.

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