How to Get Started in Tech Without a College Degree

How to Get Started in Tech Without a College Degree

11 minute read

The tech industry is constantly evolving and changing to keep up with the demands of the modern world. Companies always need people with the talent and drive to stay at the forefront of digital innovation. And while college degrees can be helpful in the tech industry, they’re generally not as important as the skillset you bring to the table.

More and more organizations are hiring people with a more profound knowledge of tech, even if they don’t have a degree. Find out how to gain those skills, earn some experience, and find a job in tech without a college degree.

The Tech Industry: Current Landscape

The technology industry is seeing robust growth despite any worries that might have lingered from 2023. According to a LinkedIn article on hiring trends in the technology industry for 2024, there’s currently a sustained upward trend in the industry. The tech sector is presently flourishing, and job opportunities are predicted to increase in the upcoming years.

So, if you’ve ever thought about pursuing a career in tech, now’s the time!

What Skills Do You Need to Work in Tech?

The tech industry is more than coding. It demands a wide range of skills from its employees, and specific requirements vary greatly depending on the role and industry. Here’s a general overview of key skills that are often sought after in the tech sector:

  • Coding
  • AI
  • Project Management
  • Data Analytics
  • Graphic Design
  • Communication
  • Video Production

How to Get Started in Tech With No College Degree

There are many alternative paths to getting started in tech without a degree. You can complete a coding bootcamp or get certifications in specific areas of tech, such as cybersecurity or cloud computing. And there are always jobs in the tech field that require no coding skills at all. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can start your tech journey — no degree necessary.

Attend a Coding Bootcamp

Coding bootcamps are short-term, intensive training programs that equip individuals with practical skills for entry-level roles in the tech industry. They typically last a few weeks to several months and cover a range of programming languages, frameworks, and tools. 

The cost of bootcamps varies but usually ranges from $10,000 to over $20,000. Because of this, bootcamps are all-inclusive, covering tuition, materials, and often, career services. However, the immersive experience may not suit everyone, as it requires a significant time commitment and total dedication to mastering the material.

Learn Coding Online

There are plenty of free resources available for learning coding online. Websites like offer interactive tutorials and exercises to grasp the basics of programming. These sites are good starting points, especially if you’d like to explore coding languages before committing to a paid class.

Beyond a basic overview, learning to code independently can be a bit challenging. It demands patience and self-discipline to practice regularly. If you thrive on structured learning, consider checking out programming classes like those offered by StraighterLine. They’re much more affordable than a bootcamp while providing the instructions and guidance you need to succeed.

Earn a Certification

It’s possible to earn a certification for many different areas of tech, and they offer a great way to gain specific applicable skills that employers are looking for. Often, certifications include classes or study guides you can use to prepare for the exam. However, it’s worth noting that online platforms such as Coursera and Udemy also offer certification prep classes. Classes and exams usually aren’t free, so make sure you study! 

Once you pass the exam, you’re now certified in a specific skill set and have that credential for your resume. Employers love seeing relevant certifications because they show practical, real-world skills that can be applied to jobs from Day 1.

The most popular certifications right now include:

CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Network+ is a certification that can help you demonstrate your knowledge of essential networking tools and concepts, including the core skills to establish, maintain, troubleshoot, and secure networks. There are online courses you can take, like the Net+ course StraighterLine offers, that can help you prepare to successfully pass the CompTIA Network+ N10-009 Certification Exam. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS certifications prove you have expertise in Amazon's cloud services. They cover various roles and skill levels, including foundational, associate, professional, and specialty certifications.

BTA Certified Blockchain Security Professional™ (CBSP)

The CBSP certification confirms proficiency in securing blockchain technology. It focuses on developing and implementing secure blockchain infrastructures, covering aspects like smart contract development and deployment.

Certified Agile Leadership® (CAL 1™)

CAL™ is a program that develops leadership skills that embrace Agile methodologies and approaches to organizational change. It covers Agile principles, change management, team dynamics, and servant leadership. The program helps organizations achieve greater agility, innovation, and success.

Certified Information Systems Auditor® (CISA)

CISA certifies professionals in auditing, controlling, monitoring, and assessing information systems. It's globally recognized and essential for individuals involved in information systems auditing, control, and security.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

CISSP is a well-known cybersecurity certification that confirms your expertise in creating and managing secure IT environments. It covers various domains within information security.

Cisco certifications

Cisco certifications cover a range of networking technologies, from entry-level CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) to expert-level CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert).

CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is an entry-level certification for IT professionals. It covers fundamental IT skills, including hardware, software, networking, and security, making it an excellent starting point for IT careers.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud certifications mean you have expertise in Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services, which cover various roles and specialties, including cloud architecture, data engineering, machine learning, and more.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure certifications validate skills in Microsoft's cloud services. Certifications are available for administrators, developers, architects, and security professionals, showcasing their expertise in Azure's diverse offerings.

Project Management Professional® (PMP)

PMP is a non-coding, globally recognized certification for project managers. It demonstrates proficiency in project management processes, including initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing projects effectively and efficiently.

Look For a No-Coding Job

Not every tech job requires coding skills. Many positions in the tech industry focus on other aspects like management and customer service. These roles prioritize communication, problem-solving, and creativity rather than coding proficiency. As a result, individuals who are interested in the tech industry but not inclined toward coding can also explore opportunities in this field.

Build a Network

Building a solid network of peers can be highly beneficial in the tech industry. You can create a network by attending workshops, conferences, and industry events where you’ll meet other tech professionals. You can also join tech organizations or online groups and actively participate in discussions. Networking offers valuable insights, mentorship opportunities, and job referrals simply based on who you know.

Create a Portfolio

Creating a portfolio to showcase your work is extremely important, especially if you don't have a traditional tech background. Your portfolio should highlight your skills, whether it's coding projects, graphic design, or other tech-related tasks. Employers value practical experience, and a well-curated portfolio provides concrete evidence of your capabilities.

Focus on Soft Skills

There are many non-technical skills you can use to get started in the tech industry. While having these skills isn’t a guarantee of a tech job, they’ll provide you with a solid foundation to get started in many different positions within tech.


Creativity drives innovation and fosters out-of-the-box thinking. In a rapidly evolving industry, it leads to breakthroughs, helping professionals come up with new solutions and inventive products.


Problem-solving is vital in the tech industry. Tech professionals face complex issues, and being a skilled problem-solver is essential for analyzing, strategizing, and implementing practical solutions. This skill is fundamental to overcoming challenges and ensuring efficient and reliable tech systems.


Effective communication is indispensable in the tech industry. Whatever area of tech you work in, you’ll be expected to convey ideas, collaborate with diverse teams, and explain complex concepts. Clear communication also fosters a collaborative environment that ensures smooth project execution, making it one of the most essential skills for tech professionals.

8 Best Tech Jobs With No Degree Required

These are some of the most popular jobs for those just stepping into the tech field. While these jobs are not guaranteed to have a no-degree requirement, they’re a good starting point for familiarizing yourself with industry entry points.

1. Computer Support Specialist

Computer Support Specialists play pivotal roles as the unsung heroes behind the scenes. Tasked with troubleshooting and resolving technical issues, they oversee the seamless operation of computer systems for businesses and individuals. 

Common Skills for Computer Support Specialists:

  • Solid understanding of computer systems and networks
  • Excellent problem-solving abilities
  • Effective communication skills
  • Adaptability to diverse technical issues
  • Continuous learning and staying updated with industry trends

2. Web and App Developer

With the digital landscape evolving at a rapid pace, Web and App Developers remain at the forefront of innovation. These tech pros are responsible for creating dynamic websites and applications, shaping the online experiences we encounter daily. There are three kinds of Web and App Developers:

  • Front-end developers focus on user interfaces, the parts of a website or app that customers interact with.
  • Back-end developers manage behind-the-scenes functionality, usually involving coding and databases.
  • Full-stack developers have the skills to work in either front-end, back-end, or both sides of website and app creation.

Common Skills for Web and App Developers:

  • Proficiency in programming languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.)
  • Problem-solving and analytical thinking
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Knowledge of web development frameworks
  • Understanding of databases and server-side languages

3. Junior Data Analyst

Junior Data Analysts decipher insights from vast datasets. Organizations rely on them to collect, process, and analyze data for optimal decision-making. 

Common Skills for Junior Data Analysts:

  • Proficiency in data analysis tools (Excel, Python, R, etc.)
  • Strong analytical and critical-thinking skills
  • Attention to detail for accurate data interpretation
  • Effective communication and presentation abilities
  • Basic understanding of statistical concepts
  • Problem-solving and logical reasoning

4. Systems Administrator

As the architects of an organization's technological infrastructure, Systems Administrators oversee seamless and secure operations. They protect data and optimize network performance by installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer systems.

Common Skills for Systems Administrators:

  • Proficiency in system administration tools and software
  • Strong problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities
  • Knowledge of network protocols and security measures
  • Effective communication and teamwork
  • Attention to detail for system maintenance and updates

5. Cybersecurity Specialist

Cybersecurity Specialists are the frontline defenders against evolving cyber threats in the digital age. In order to maintain digital systems' integrity, they safeguard sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.

Common Skills for Cybersecurity Specialists:

  • Proficiency in security tools and technologies
  • Analytical thinking for threat detection and response
  • Knowledge of encryption methods and firewalls
  • Problem-solving skills for assessing vulnerabilities
  • Continuous learning and staying updated with industry best practices

6. Product Marketing Associate

Product Marketing Associates introduce and promote digital and tech products in the world of marketing. They drive successful marketing campaigns by bridging the gap between product features and customer needs.

Common Skills for Product Marketing Associates:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Market research and analysis
  • Creativity in storytelling and content creation
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Adaptability to changing market dynamics
  • Basic understanding of digital marketing tools and strategies

7. Social Media Manager

A Social Media Manager shapes a brand's identity and engages audiences across various platforms. By creating and implementing social media strategies, they help build and maintain a robust online community and customer loyalty for businesses.

Common Skills for Social Media Managers:

  • Strong written and visual communication
  • In-depth knowledge of social media platforms and trends
  • Analytical skills for interpreting social media metrics
  • Creativity in content creation and storytelling
  • Customer service and community management
  • Ability to adapt to evolving social media landscapes

8. Technical Writer

Technical Writers translate complex technical concepts into clear, understandable documentation. Their job is to bridge the gap between technical experts and end users by creating manuals, guides, and instructional materials.

Common Skills for Technical Writers:

  • Exceptional written communication and editing skills
  • Ability to translate technical jargon into user-friendly content
  • Research and information-gathering capabilities
  • Collaboration with technical experts and cross-functional teams
  • Attention to detail for accuracy in documentation
  • Proficiency in documentation tools and software

Let StraighterLine Help You Get Started in Tech!

While StraighterLine can’t guarantee you’ll get a job in tech, we offer several programming courses that can give you a solid foundation to get started, including:

Find out how StraighterLine helps people learn the skills they need to get ahead in their careers, whether they earn a college degree or not.

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