3 High-Paying IT Careers That DON’T Require a Bachelor’s Degree

3 High-Paying IT Careers That DON’T Require a Bachelor’s Degree

If you don’t know that the IT industry is one of the biggest, booming business spaces on the face of our planet right now, we just have one question for you:

Do you live under a rock?!?

Because in all, the industry itself is valued at $62 billion. So, yeah. It’s kind of a big deal.

But, since you’ve found your way onto our website (particularly this blog post), I’m assuming that you do, in fact, know those things AND that you probably want to get your hands on a small part of this industry in the form of a great IT career.

The downside, though, is for total IT newbies, getting started in the field can be a little slow. Particularly since the vast majority of IT job descriptions list a requirement for a bachelor’s degree, which takes an average of four years of full-time school to complete.

Not exactly a quick, painless career change, is it?

Fortunately, for those of us IT lovers that don’t want to or can’t afford to spend the next four years at a desk studying, there are three different IT careers that pay really well, but don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

1. Computer Support Specialist

Working as a computer support specialist is the perfect IT job for people who are the ones always getting asked by their friends and family to fix their computers.

Essentially, the job involves working at a help desk and taking calls to walk people through fixing their hardware or software problems on a step-by-step basis. You need to be able to diagnose problems without being physically present and give good, descriptive instructions so the person on the other end is able to do exactly what you would do to the computer if you were present.

The level of expertise required varies depending on the product or company you’re working for, but the best part is you don’t need years and years of on-the-job or academic experience before getting started.

All you need to do is make sure you’ve got the IT certifications that match the level you’d like to work at. Certifications for this IT career path can include CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and ITIL. Training courses for these certifications are relatively inexpensive and the IT certifications can be easily achieved with the right training and dedication. With this IT career path being so popular, we have developed our Computer User Support Specialist IT career training program that includes those exact IT certifications (pretty clever of us, huh?)

And once you’re done?

You’ll be able to enter a job market with more than 600,000 jobs available and an average salary of $46,500, according to Kiplinger.

2. IT Careers as Network Support Specialists

The generic term of Network Support Specialist covers a vast array of job titles, like Network Technician, Junior Network Engineer, NOC Engineer, Network Administrator and many more. In general, Network Specialists work on wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs). Their work with these networks ranges from the actual planning and installation of them, to troubleshooting and identifying security issues, as well as making sure everything works the way it’s supposed to without interrupting the work of the company the network supports.

Because the job requires so much deep knowledge and responsibility, it does sometimes require at least an associate’s degree, which is typically two years of full-time study.

However, because we know that a lot of people desiring careers in IT sometimes don’t have that kind of time or budget on their hands, and that if you take two years to learn something, the things you learned two years ago may be wildly outdated, we’ve put together an intensive it career training program of two CompTIA courses and two CISCO courses (along with their IT certifications) that will get you career-ready in just one month of intensive study.

On an average, (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) a Network Specialist earns over $59,000 per year, with nearly 40,000 positions available through 2022. (That’s 800 new Network Specialists per state, if you go on averages.)

3. Web Developer

“Anyone who uses the internet to work knows that it’s important to have a reliable website,” said Harlon Agsaoay on Lifehack. “As our dependence on this technology increases by the day, it also generates a lot of job opportunities not just for the younger generation but also to those willing to learn it.”

Rather than designing a website for looks, web developers are all about how a website works and are the ones behind making sure everything someone sees on a website works exactly the way it’s supposed to. They take the design and turn it into something functional.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that they earned an average of $62,500 per year in 2012, and that an associates degree is again something that’s sometimes required, especially since it’s an IT career where you’re not expected to need a lot of on-the-job training.

However…(we bet you can guess what’s coming next…) we also have a hyper-focused 8 day IT career training course for people who want to start a web design career now, offering intensive front end web developer training on the essential technologies you need to get started, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, and jQUERY!

Hacking Around Traditional Education & IT Careers Strategies

We hope we have shown you some great options to avoid the time and expense required to land a bachelor’s degree (or so you can be qualified and work in your field WHILE you earn your bachelor’s degree!). There’s some wonderful and quick ways to hack around getting two or four-year degrees and still earn a lot more money than your peers of the same education level. It is not coincidental that our programs match good IT career options! We research our local job markets to make sure our it training programs align to the needs of the community. We not only want you to get high quality training, we want you to be employable when you are finished! Call us today to talk with our career services department to find the best IT career training and IT certifications for YOUR goals!

Beyond these three careers, what are your dream positions in the IT field, and what are some ways you think you could hack your way to that level without following the traditional path to get there?

The Difference Between IT Certifications & IT Degrees

The Difference Between IT Certifications & IT Degrees

“At my company, I don’t even know which of my employees has a degree or not—it makes no difference to me,” said Ilya Pozin, Founder of Pluto TV on LinkedIn.

“I’d much rather hire someone who has been freelancing as a web developer for three years than someone who has a master’s degree in computer science,” he went on. “They’re bound to be more passionate, driven, and profitable in the long run, as they know what it takes to impact the bottom line.”

Lots of today’s business owners and managers are realizing that the old system of a job seeker earning a four-year IT degree from a traditional college and landing an entry-level position where they expect to gain ‘experience’ may not be what’s most worthwhile for them as a company.

Things that were cutting-edge four years ago are hardly relevant today.

In fact, in the beginning of his article, Pozin said “Getting hired in entry-level positions requires experience and fine-tuned skills, not a 4.0 GPA.”

So… Are IT Degrees Worthless Now?

Certainly not.

Even though lots of IT business owners have said things like Pozin, it’s be a bit short-sighted to completely discount the value of an IT degree – but it’d be equally as silly to assume they’re somehow ‘better’ than specialized IT certifications.

Because while there are a lot of forward-thinkers like Pozin out there, a lot of companies still require IT degrees for certain positions, particularly if you’re new to the field and don’t have a lot of experience.

IT Degrees: The Pros & Cons

Let’s address the elephant in the room: getting a degree takes a lot more time and money than earning a certification.

For starters, bachelors degrees usually require passing credits from at least 30 classes, while certificates rarely require more than 10. Using overly-basic math, that means a degree is thee times more expensive and takes three times as long as a certification.

If you don’t have time or money on your side, an IT degree probably isn’t going to work for you.

But what about the upsides of an IT degree?

To give you an idea, the employers who seek degree-holders usually do so because it means the person has spent a significant amount of time steeping himself in the expertise of his desired profession, has a functional overview of the industry as a whole, and has a more well-rounded education that can’t be completed with an IT certificate.

The time spent studying the industry and the more well-rounded education are the main factors why IT degree holders are often seen as ‘more qualified’ upfront than IT certificate holders.

IT Certificates: The Pros & Cons

On the upside, IT certificates seem to be a more efficient use of your time and money since they focus specifically around one job role and don’t take the time to teach you things you don’t need to know yet.

They can be completed in a matter of months or weeks so you can get moving quickly in a new career path in the job role of your choice.

But since they’re a quickie solution for job experience and training, they may yield a smaller starting salary than someone that’s spent the time steeping themselves in learning for four years.

But if you’re going to work for a company where your initial job role will be pretty narrow, a certificate might be all you need to get started.

“Certificate programs taken alone are similar to associates degree programs,” said Study.com. “They take less time [than associate degrees] because general education courses are not required.”

To make it easy, you can look at weighing the pros and cons of an IT certificate in the same way you’d weigh the pros and cons of an associate’s degree in IT. It’s great to have, but might not be quite as good of a qualifier as a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

IT Certificates vs IT Degrees for Career Expansion

One of the best things IT certifications can be used for, sometimes even more so than helping you start a career in IT, is to expand the education and experience you already have to take your career to the next level.

For example, let’s say you’re a web developer with a bachelor’s degree from 10 years ago.

You’ve probably got things HTML, CSS, Ruby and PHP down pat.

But you notice that your company (and the companies whose job postings you like to keep an eye on) have been mentioning responsive development with increasing frequency.

Because you it wasn’t something you needed to know ten years ago, and because your company is just now catching onto responsive development, you feel like you’re a little behind and want to catch up so you can remain an A-player in your company’s development team… or at least keep your options open.

Rather than going back to schools for a new degree (which seems silly for just one skill set), doing an IT training course that teaches responsive development and getting a certificate to prove your new knowledge can be a great way to move ahead.

Choosing the Most Effective IT Degree or Certification

According to CIO.com, some of the best IT certifications to set your resume apart from the rest, even if you do have a full-blown degree include:

What about you?

Which IT degrees and certifications do you have? Which ones do you want to get to advance your career?