Melissa holds a Ph.D.Full Bioon | Topic: Computers & Tech
Finding a tech job with no degree might seem challenging, but it's entirely possible. You don't need a degree to find a rewarding, lucrative career with possibilities for growth and advancement.
Tech jobs with no degree requirement exist across the workforce, primarily in entry-level positions. If you're willing to learn on the job, self-study, or leverage relevant experience, you may find opportunities in many industries.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one-third of computer support specialists hold no degrees. Read on to discover more high-paying tech jobs you may be able to attain without a degree.
Five high-paying tech jobs you can land without a degree
Tech positions available without a college degree vary by location and your education and experience, among other factors. Many positions and employers do require a bachelor's degree or higher.
However, getting your foot in the door as an entry-level tech worker in information technology, engineering, or business can lead to career advancement without ever earning a college degree.
2020 median pay: $110,140
Average salary without degree: $92,145
Important qualities: Creativity, programming language mastery, individual and teamwork skills, analytical and detail-oriented
Software developers create and develop computer applications and programs. They also maintain, troubleshoot, and test existing programs. These professionals may work independently or with clients and colleagues to create databases, games, and programs for operating systems.
2020 median pay: $98,230
Average salary without degree: $92,000
Important qualities: Analytical, curious, enjoys gathering and assessing data, strong mathematical and statistics skills, works independently
Data scientists discover trends and patterns in data using computer science, statistics, and mathematics. They also validate their findings to ensure accuracy. By converting raw data to a format usable by business professionals, data scientists help solve problems and make projections for the future.
Degree requirements are common for data scientist roles, but completing a data science bootcamp might help you appeal to employers.
2020 median pay: $108,830
Average salary without degree: $79,880
Important qualities: Innovative, outgoing, science- and business-minded, team player
Sales engineers represent sellers of technology and science equipment and services. Sales engineers put on demonstrations, answer questions, and accommodate sellers' and buyers' needs and expectations. They need a deep understanding of each product's specifications and intricacies.
Some sales engineers may work as part of a sales team, while others research and develop new products and services.
2021 average pay: $70,129
Average salary without degree: $65,449
Important qualities: Inquisitive, enjoys mathematics and statistics, technologically adept, problem-solver, strong communication skills
Business analysts use data to solve business problems and make decisions. By looking at data, business analysts identify ways to optimize business operations, improve efficiency, and create pathways for change.
Business analysts may work internally or as outside consultants. They collaborate with colleagues and clients to collect information before making recommendations through presentations and reports.
2020 median pay: $77,200
Average salary without degree: $62,969
Important qualities: Creative, detail-oriented, technically savvy, knows HTML programming and other programming languages
Web developers design, develop, and maintain websites for clients across industries. Web developers may oversee UX design, back-end development, and front-end development.
They consult with clients and coworkers about a website's technical needs, implement measures to ensure speed and performance, and create digital designs. As webmasters, web developers update and maintain websites.
Advance your tech career without a degree
You can advance your technology career even without heading back to college. By increasing your expertise through coding bootcamps and training programs, you may increase your value to employers. Earning tech certifications demonstrates your knowledge.
ZDNet's top bootcamp picks
Self-study, active engagement with colleagues, and exercises to build communication and critical thinking skills may give you a competitive edge.
Even if a college degree isn't right for you, a tech job is still an option. Finding a tech position in business, engineering, manufacturing, and information technology without a degree isn't as impossible as it may seem.
Equip yourself with the right skills, and you're on your way to a thriving tech career.