What's the best route to a tech job without a degree?
I have an associate's degree in business administration, but I'm interested in a career in the tech field. IT, networking, development, anything along those lines. I'm curious if anyone has any advice on how to get my foot in the door.
3/29/2018 6:13:43 PMCharlie Mitchell
15 AnswersNew Answer
The first obvious thing is that you need to acquire the skills for whatever job it is that you're seeking. So if you're wanting to go be a programmer, you need to start learning the stuff associated with being a programmer. The great thing today is that we have access to the greatest teacher in the world; the internet. I don't have a degree, but I work alongside the rest of my team which do have degrees, and it's all thanks to the resources that allow me to teach myself. With the IT field, there is no reason you can't learn all of it yourself without needing traditional schooling, so we're blessed in that regard since that isn't the case for all professions. I wouldn't want a surgeon that's self-learned to operate on me. lol Anyways, here is a couple techniques I use that'll help you out. 1. Go to a University/College website and look at their IT programs. They'll list all of the courses on their website typically, so write down the courses; this is how you'll know what you need to leanr. 2. I go to job employment websites (indeed.com, monster, etc..) and I look at current job listings for what I want to apply for. Usually they'll provide you with information on what they're looking for exactly and what they expect you to know. ^After doing the two things above, you should have a nice big list of all the things you need to acquire before applying for the positions. Use this list and go onto Google. You can find endless resources (even PDF versions of the books the colleges use for the courses) on each topic and teach yourself everything you need to learn about it. In the end, you'll have a better education than if you went to college for 4+ years. Education/Information is nothing more than that and you don't need a piece of paper pretending to represent what you know and can do. Practice everything consistently, create a portfolio, and then apply. Hone your communication skills also; you can talk yourself in and out of more situations in life than skill ever will. Good luck bro!
Nice. Teaching is a commendable position. Plus, teaching is the final step to learning. I always feel that once I can teach a concept to someone, then I've finally learned it!
Phil, I hadn't thought of that. Thank you!
Jakob Marley Just curious, if you don't mind sharing, what area of the tech sector are you in? And how long have you been doing it? I would love to work with a team on solving tech problems. Sounds like a blast!
Absolutely. You can hit me up on Facebook. Same name. My profile pic is me in the Grand Canyon, I'm wearing a straw hat and sunglasses and I had a big bushy moustache at the time. Haha! That was my little adventure last summer. 🏕
Jakob Marley Great response! Thank you very much. Some excellent ideas here to point me in the right direction. And, no, hahaha, I wouldn't want a self-taught surgeon either! Haha!
Haha! Okay, thanks. 😉
Boem Shakalaka Congratulations! That's awesome. Sorry I didn't ask, didn't mean to be rude. What are your plans for after graduation?
Boem Shakalaka Is that book 'Clean Code' available free online?
Excellent! Thank you so much. This is awesome. I downloaded the book, and bookmarked the site. Just had to register my truck so I'm a little short on the greenbacks right now. But, I'll check out that site next time I've got a little cash to spare.
Jakob Marley's answer is really good :) and please don't forget about clean code to keep your fellow programmerbuddy's happy. (Book: clean code by robert martin)
@Charlie Mitchell You're more than welcome bro! If you're willing to put in the work, there is no reason you can't accomplish this without a degree. Also, Boem made a very good point! One thing about self-learning is that many people are working by themselves and aren't focused on proper conventions or formatting, so often they end up developing really poor habits on that end. When you're working alone, no one is going to bother you about it, but when you come back to old code a year later you may be in for a headache while trying to figure out what you were doing. However, when you're working on a team or for a company, they're going to expect you to follow in with whatever conventions they use, so that is certainly something you'll want to work on and form good habits for it in the beginning instead of trying to change bad habits later when they're problematic. Equally so, you'll come to expect that from others too. Nothing worse than trying to help someone with their code, but they name all of their variables letters of the alphabet rather than something descriptive toward the variables purpose, and then on top of that their formatting/spacing is all over the place and makes the code less readable. By the way bro, if you have about $30 to spare, there is a website that I utilize for my self-learning and it has been a priceless resource for it. Helped me get promoted before because of the additional skills I picked up. It's worth checking out though - www.PluralSight.com
@Charlie Mitchell Okay great, I deleted my post with the link, but if you need it again let me know. Do you have the means of being contacted outside of this place? I'll be subscribing to PluralSight again soon and you're more than welcome to utilize my account for your purposes also. As for myself, I've had my hands in a bit of everything over the years. lol Usually it starts out as just doing it for fun, but I've worked in each area also as a result. I've done work as database admin, networking specialist, and more recently I've been focused on systems engineering, automation, and business intelligence. However, I got my start with programming back in the late 90s when I was in my early teens because there was an online game that I wanted to create. It was always something that I just did for fun back then before getting distracted with the other stuff. The past couple years I've been getting back to my roots and I'm currently in the process of fully transitioning into game development, focused in virtual reality and augmented reality, along with artificial intelligence. When I'mm not at my day job, I'm working on getting an indie gaming company off the ground and hopefully spend the rest of my years doing that instead of what I do now.
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Depending on what exactly you learnt in your course, business administration could be beneficial for some roles in the tech sector, such as business analyst (working out what programs and features are needed to help a particular business, analysing effectiveness of software to see if they should continue using it or consider an alternative or tweak the existing software), project manager (making sure that projects go smoothly, are delivered on time, in budget and fit the possibly changing needs)