How to get a job in tech without a degree

How to get a job in tech without a degree

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Looking to find out how to get a job in tech without a degree? It might feel like this is a daunting task but, it’s easier than you might be thinking.

There are tons of opportunities available for individuals who are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the necessary skills.

One of the best ways to get started is by taking advantage of online resources. This is a smart way to break into tech.

There are many websites and online courses that offer free or low-cost training in a variety of tech-related fields. One of our favorites is Pathrise.

They offer courses in:

  • Software engineering
  • Product, strategy, and ops
  • Product design
  • Data
  • Marketing
  • Sales and customer success
  • And, more!

These resources can help you learn the skills you need to succeed in the tech industry and can also help you build a portfolio that showcases your abilities.

Additionally, many companies offer apprenticeships or internships that can provide valuable experience and help you get your foot in the door.

Understanding the Tech Industry

how to get a job in tech without a degree

Overview of the Tech Industry

The tech industry is a rapidly growing sector that encompasses a wide range of businesses and job types. From software development to cybersecurity, the tech industry is constantly evolving and innovating. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tech industry is projected to grow by 11% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Types of Jobs in Tech

There are many different types of jobs in the tech industry, each requiring a unique set of skills and qualifications. Some of the most common tech jobs include:

  • Software Developer: responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining software applications.
  • Data Analyst: responsible for collecting and analyzing large sets of data to identify patterns and trends.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst: responsible for protecting computer systems and networks from cyber threats.
  • Web Developer: responsible for designing and developing websites and web applications.
  • IT Support Specialist: responsible for providing technical support and troubleshooting for computer systems and networks.

Skills Required for Tech Jobs

While the specific skills required for tech jobs vary depending on the role, there are some core skills that are essential for success in the tech industry. These include:

  • Technical Skills: proficiency in programming languages, software development tools, and other technical skills specific to the job.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: the ability to analyze complex problems and develop effective solutions.
  • Communication Skills: the ability to communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders.
  • Adaptability: the ability to learn and adapt to new technologies and industry trends.

In addition to these core skills, many tech jobs also require specific certifications or degrees. However, there are also many high-paying tech jobs that don’t require a degree, such as web developer or IT support specialist, which can be obtained through alternative education paths like bootcamps or certifications.

Alternative Paths to a Tech Career

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If you don’t have a degree in computer science, don’t worry. There are alternative paths to a tech career that can help you break into the industry. Here are some strategies you can use to get your foot in the door.

Building a Portfolio

One way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers is by building a portfolio of your work. This can include projects you’ve worked on independently or as part of a team, as well as any freelance work you’ve done. Your portfolio should showcase your ability to solve problems, write code, and create functional applications.

To build a portfolio, start by identifying the skills you want to showcase. Then, look for opportunities to work on projects that will help you develop those skills. You can find open-source projects on sites like GitHub, or you can create your own projects. Once you’ve completed a project, add it to your portfolio and make sure it’s easily accessible to potential employers.

Networking and Mentorship

Networking and mentorship can also be valuable tools for getting a job in tech. Attend industry events, meetups, and conferences to connect with other professionals in the field. Join online communities and forums where you can ask questions, share ideas, and learn from others.

Mentorship can also be a powerful way to gain insight and guidance from experienced professionals. Look for mentorship programs or reach out to professionals in your network to see if they’d be willing to mentor you. A mentor can help you navigate the industry, provide feedback on your work, and introduce you to potential employers.

Online Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Codecademy can be a great way to learn new skills and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. These platforms offer courses in a variety of programming languages, as well as courses in other tech-related skills like data analysis and cybersecurity.

When choosing courses, look for those that are relevant to the skills you want to showcase in your portfolio. Make sure you complete the course and apply what you’ve learned to real-world projects. You can also earn certifications from these platforms, which can help you stand out to potential employers.

Overall, there are many alternative paths to a tech career that don’t require a degree. By building a portfolio, networking and seeking mentorship, and taking advantage of online learning platforms, you can demonstrate your skills and break into the industry.

Gaining Experience

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If you don’t have a degree, getting experience is key to landing a job in tech. There are several ways to gain experience that don’t require a formal education.

Internships and Apprenticeships

Internships and apprenticeships are a great way to gain experience in tech. These programs offer hands-on training and often lead to job offers. Look for companies that offer these programs and apply to as many as possible.

Freelancing and Contract Work

Freelancing and contract work are great options for gaining experience in tech. There are many websites that connect freelancers with clients, such as Upwork and Freelancer. Look for projects that match your skills and apply to as many as possible.

Contributing to Open Source Projects

Contributing to open source projects is a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio. There are many open source projects that are looking for contributors, such as GitHub. Look for projects that match your skills and start contributing.

Overall, gaining experience is crucial to landing a job in tech without a degree. Consider internships, freelancing, and contributing to open source projects to gain the experience you need to succeed.

Job Search Strategies

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When it comes to finding a job in tech without a degree, there are several strategies you can use to increase your chances of success. In this section, we’ll cover some key tips and resources to help you land your dream job.

Resume and Cover Letter Tips

Your resume and cover letter are often the first impression you make on potential employers, so it’s important to make them stand out. Here are a few tips to help you create a winning resume and cover letter:

  • Highlight your skills and experience: Even if you don’t have a degree, you may have relevant experience or skills that make you a strong candidate. Make sure to highlight these in your resume and cover letter.
  • Use keywords: Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. To increase your chances of getting past these systems, make sure to use relevant keywords in your resume and cover letter.
  • Keep it concise: Employers are often busy and don’t have time to read lengthy resumes and cover letters. Keep yours concise and to the point, focusing on your most relevant experience and skills.

Interview Preparation

Once you’ve landed an interview, it’s important to prepare thoroughly to make a good impression.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your interview:

  • Research the company: Make sure to research the company and the position you’re interviewing for. This will help you answer questions more effectively and show that you’re serious about the job.
  • Practice answering common interview questions: There are many common interview questions that you’re likely to encounter, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Practice answering these questions ahead of time to feel more confident during the interview.
  • Dress appropriately: Even if the company has a casual dress code, it’s important to dress professionally for your interview. This shows that you take the interview seriously and are prepared to make a good impression.

Job Search Resources

There are many resources available to help you find job openings in the tech industry. Here are a few to consider:

  • Online job boards: Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are great places to search for job openings in the tech industry.
  • Networking: Building relationships with people in the industry can help you learn about job openings and get referrals. Attend industry events and join professional organizations to meet people in the field.
  • Bootcamps and training programs: Many bootcamps and training programs (CourseCareers, Avocademy, and Pathrise are options) offer job placement assistance to help you find a job after completing the program.

By following these tips and utilizing these resources, you can increase your chances of finding a job in tech without a degree.

Career Advancement

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If you are interested in advancing your career in tech without a degree, there are several steps you can take to achieve your goals. Here are some sub-sections to help you get started.

Continuing Education and Certifications

Continuing education and certifications can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in your field. Many employers value these credentials and may be more likely to promote or hire individuals with relevant certifications.

Consider pursuing certifications in areas such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, data analytics, or software development, depending on your interests and career goals. You can also take online courses or attend workshops to expand your knowledge and skills.

Professional Development Opportunities

Taking advantage of professional development opportunities can also help you advance your career in tech. Attend conferences, join industry organizations, and participate in networking events to connect with other professionals in your field.

You can also seek out mentorship or coaching programs to help you develop your skills and gain valuable insights from experienced professionals. Look for opportunities to take on leadership roles or lead projects within your organization to demonstrate your skills and potential.

Negotiating Salary and Benefits

When it comes to negotiating your salary and benefits, be prepared to make a strong case for yourself based on your skills, experience, and contributions to your organization. Research industry standards and salary ranges to ensure that you are asking for a fair wage.

In addition to salary, consider negotiating benefits such as flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and bonuses or incentives for meeting performance goals. Be prepared to compromise and negotiate to find a solution that works for both you and your employer.

Bottom line on how to get a job in tech without a degree

The bottom line is, it is possible and easier than you might think. By continuing your education, seeking out professional development opportunities, and negotiating your salary and benefits, you can advance your career in tech without a degree and achieve your professional goals.

Which tech career are you going to be pursuing?

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Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at

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