Technology is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative industries globally. Historically, many technology roles required a computer science or engineering degree. However, times are changing. As technology advances and new skills are needed, many companies are dropping degree requirements for certain positions. This creates opportunities for non-traditional candidates to launch tech careers. In this article, we explore some of the top jobs in technology that do not require university qualifications.
Why Tech Companies Are Dropping Degree Requirements
Several factors are driving technology companies to remove degree requirements from certain roles:
Demand for Tech Talent
The technology industry is expanding rapidly, with over half a million new tech jobs expected in the next decade according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies are struggling to fill open positions fast enough, leading them to consider candidates from more diverse backgrounds.
Rise of Coding Bootcamps
Short-term intensive coding bootcamps have enabled people from all walks of life to acquire job-ready technology skills without a formal degree. Bootcamp graduates present companies with another talent pipeline.
Focus on Hands-On Skills
With the fast pace of technological change, companies are prioritising hands-on skills over academic qualifications. Certifications, portfolios and demonstrable abilities are more important for many roles.
Global Competition for Talent
Technology companies are locked in tight competition for top talent globally. Dropping degree requirements allows them to access a bigger pool of skilled workers.
Top Jobs You Can Get Without a Degree
Here are 12 of the top technology jobs that do not strictly require a bachelor’s degree:
1. Web Developer
Web developers design, build and maintain websites. While many have computer science degrees, you can break in with certifications, portfolio and internship experience. The average salary for web developers is £30,243 per year in the UK.
2. Software Tester
Software testers evaluate new applications to identify bugs and flaws. You can get started through self-study, online courses and certifications like ISTQB. The average UK salary is around £29,000 per year.
3. Computer Support Specialist
IT help desk and support technicians troubleshoot computing issues. While an associate’s degree is preferred for some companies, high school graduates can get their foot in the door too. Average earnings are nearly £25,815 per year in the UK.
4. Data Analyst
Data analysts organize and study data to help businesses make informed choices. Applicants have found success with certificate programs, MOOCs and bootcamps, combined with internships. Entry-level salaries start at approximately £26,675 per year.
5. Cybersecurity Analyst
Cybersecurity analysts protect sensitive systems and data from digital attacks and vulnerabilities. Certifications like CompTIA Security+ are gold standards for getting hired without formal education. Average pay typically falls between £25,000 and £35,000.
6. Network Technician
Network techs install, configure and support communications networks within and between organizations. Companies want to see networking certifications like CCNA more than college credentials. Average salaries are £38,850 per year in the UK.
7. Software Sales Representative
Sales reps promote software solutions to prospective enterprise clients. People skills and software knowledge are vital — academic qualifications less so. Earnings often include commissions and bonuses reaching approximately £36,163 per year, with a range typically starting from £22,500 and going up to £67,500 annually.
8. Digital Marketing Specialist
Digital marketing specialists promote companies through search, social, content and other online strategies. You can pick up skills through internships, certifications and online courses. Average base salaries are approximately £28,808 to £33,000 per year.
9. Computer Programmer
Computer programmers write code to build software programs and applications. While many have comp sci degrees, you can break in through coding bootcamps and demonstrations of ability. Average salary is approximately £45,784 per year.
10. IT Project Manager
IT project managers lead teams that build and implement technology solutions. Capable PMs showcase leadership abilities from past roles more than perfect academic transcripts. Average salary is approximately £49,103 per year.
11. DevOps Engineer
DevOps engineers collaborate with software developers, IT staff and others to improve deployment processes. Certifications and coding skills can open doors. High earners can make upwards of £30,200 to £40,000 per year.
12. Graphic Designer
Graphic designers create digital artwork, marketing assets and more. You can hone skills through online tutorials and portfolio-focused programs instead of university studies. Average pay stands around £18,000 to £23,000 per year.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
As this list illustrates, many organisations are receptive to considering capable technologists from all backgrounds — not just those holding computer science degrees. Passionate aspiring professionals can get their foot in the door through several strategies:
- Complete short-term certifications or digital skills programs
- Attend intensive coding or tech bootcamps
- Learn independently through online platforms
- Showcase abilities by compiling projects into a portfolio
- Gain hands-on experience through internships and entry-level roles
Once in role, consistent upskilling, certifications and demonstration of impact can set you up for fruitful technology career advancement.
Conclusion – Tech Careers Are More Accessible Than Ever
The technology industry continues to mature, with several well-paying careers now open to those without degrees. Driven learners can pick up coveted abilities through bootcamps, online learning and hands-on training. While barriers to entry are lowering across the board, competition remains fierce. Aspiring entrants should focus efforts on accumulating relevant skills and showcasing their talents through portfolios and certifications. With tech talent shortages projected to continue, the door of opportunity is open for non-traditional applicants today more than ever.