Today, more than 30% of American adults have a bachelor’s degree. With the number of people finishing college on the rise, the amount of debt from paying college tuition is rising as well.
So, what if I told you the spending 4+ years of studying, stressing, and burning a hole in your pocket could be avoided? Career fields are being flooded with college-educated adults and are beginning to lack trade workers with a strong set of skills. The Information Technology field is no exception. Those willing to put in the time and work are just as capable of becoming an IT professional than anyone with a degree.
Just because you aren’t interested in getting a degree doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn. Self-teaching, utilizing books and online resources, and getting hands-on experience by doing something like taking apart a computer and putting it back together are all examples of ways to learn without going to a college.
There are many online courses that are extremely inexpensive or even free that you can utilize such as: www.Udemy.com, www.edX.org, and www.Alison.com. Microsoft also offers online training courses in all aspects of IT including: Server, Desktop, Application, Database, and Developer. Check it out here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/training.aspx.
Also, if you’re more interested in a development career where coding will be a big portion of your skillset, a great resource to get started is www.CodeAcademy.com.
Once you have some courses and education under your belt, you can begin to start taking certifications. Certifications can be just as important as an education because they demonstrate your capabilities and expertise. You can find some of the various in-demand IT certificates categorized by vendor here: https://www.itcareerfinder.com/it-certifications.html.
NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK.
Not having a degree will pose a setback as many companies, and especially the HR professionals within them, will be looking for degrees coupled with experience. With that being said, you’ll want to try to avoid submitting your resume to bots and HR filters that will immediately reject you based on your lack of education. Do some research. If you can find an IT professional within the company to send your resume, cover letter, and a little introduction to you will have already made a “go-getter” impression. Also, those already in the IT field will be more interested in your skillset than whether or not you have that coveted piece of paper.
You have undoubtedly heard of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an awesome resource to put yourself out there and reach out to the people within companies that will be interested in what you can offer to them. Even if a company isn’t currently hiring, you can still send out a personal message introducing yourself. This gesture will keep you in the forefront of their mind if a position were to open up in the future.
Lastly, there’s plenty of networking events available for you to attend. A great resource for finding local events is www.EventBrite.com. For example, when searching for “Information Technology” within the Pittsburgh area, you can find events such as workshops, career fairs, and much more.
GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR
One important thing you need to keep in mind is that you’re not going to start off at the top. If you have little experience and no degree, you’ll need to work your way up. You may aspire to be a Senior Network Engineer, but first you’ll have to land something like a Help Desk job and prove yourself.
Most people starting off in IT will find themselves as a Help Desk Associate providing basic support and troubleshooting. This may not be the IT job you’ve always dreamed of, but if you perform above and beyond in this position you will show your supervisors that you’re capable of doing more. With that type of motivation, you’ll be on the fast track to promotion in no time.
Another option is to take an internship. Internships may or may not be paid, but the point is to gain field experience. This is also another great way to land a full-time job. Sierra Experts takes on a lot of interns, and oftentimes these interns turn into full-time employees. Likewise, if you look for available positions within startups and small businesses your chances of landing a job could be better.
So what if you spent the last 10 years of your life practicing law? If you’ve always been passionate about computers and IT, then you’re completely capable of finding employment in the field – with or without a college degree. Coming from a small business that prides ourselves on employing professionals who may have been self-taught or received an Associate’s Degree as opposed to the prestigious Bachelor’s Degree, you are worth as much as your skillset, the way you market yourself, and the amount of work you’re willing to put in. We do IT differently, and so should you!
Sierra Experts is an IT Managed Service and Support provider, specializing in IT Monitoring and Management, Cloud/Virtual Systems, Hosting, VoIP/SIP PBX Trunks and Solutions, Physical Server Hosting, Website Design and Development, Software Development, and Hardware and Software reselling. For more, check out www.SierraExperts.com