How to Get into IT Without a Degree

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about routes into a career in IT without studying for a degree.

[Featured image] Two women working in IT talking to each other in the workplace.

The information technology (IT) industry is booming as technology develops, creating more jobs, many with high salaries and excellent job outlooks. In an industry so vast and varied, you’ll find various IT sector jobs requiring different IT skills. These can include technical support, programming, computer engineering, and website design roles. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the growth in IT roles in general will be above average, creating 377,500 jobs between 2022 and 2032 [1]. You can further break this down by IT profession with some showing very high predicted growth, such as information security analysts, with an expected growth rate of 32 percent [2]. 

Read on to learn how to get into IT without a degree, investigating alternatives such as gaining experience, earning certifications, and building your skills outside of a degree program. 

Read more: 10 Entry-Level IT Jobs and What You Need to Get Started

What are the job requirements to work in IT?

While IT roles sometimes require a bachelor’s degree, this isn’t always necessary. Employers are also looking for people with relevant practical skills in an industry that is continually evolving. Skills can be learned without a degree, like boot camps, certifications, and personal study. 

Experience is also important, with employers looking for around three years of experience for entry-level to mid-level roles and five to 10 years of experience for senior-level roles. 

Read more: 7 In-Demand IT Skills to Boost Your Resume


Traditionally, the route to an IT role has required a bachelor’s degree and sometimes a master’s degree in computer science or a similar field. While this is still a popular route and essential for some roles, it’s not the only way to find a job in the IT industry. The type of role and the level of experience will impact the education and experience you need. 

For example, you may find a job as a computer support specialist without a bachelor’s degree, but if you plan to progress to a management-level role such as a computer and information systems manager, you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree and sometimes a master’s degree. 


Many employers ask for specific certifications relevant to the role. These may be in addition to or in place of a degree. Even if an employer doesn’t specify a certification, it is still useful to enhance your resume and prove that you have the required technical skills to do the job. Certifications are generally short courses you can complete as professional development throughout your career, helping you advance to higher-level positions. 

Read more: IT Certifications vs. Degree: Which Is Right for You?

How to get into IT without a degree 

A degree is a great way to gain knowledge and skills and to demonstrate to employers that you can work at a given level. However, if you don’t have a degree and don’t plan to work toward one, you’ll find a number of steps you can take to land yourself an IT role. 

Let’s take a look in more detail.

1. Develop IT experience. 

For most IT positions, experience is essential—it’s how you cultivate relevant skills and cement your academic knowledge. Entry-level positions and internships are an excellent way to build experience. It’s important to remember that experience doesn’t have to be paid. Gaining experience through boot camps and hackathons helps you learn and practice new skills, all with support from people in the field. A number of top companies, including Amazon and Google, value boot camps highly in their recruitment process.

You can also gain experience through self-study. This may include online courses, podcasts, books, events, boot camps, and hackathons. Self-study shows that you have the motivation to continue learning and improving, develop skills, manage your time between work and learning, and be updated with the latest technology. 

However, if you choose to develop experience, be sure to showcase it in a portfolio. A portfolio is an effective way to collate all the work you’ve done to present to an employer.

Read more: How to Get into Tech Without a Degree

2. Earn IT certifications.

If you don’t have a degree, consider IT certifications as an alternative. Certifications focus on specific areas, software, and skills, so employers often ask for certifications relevant to the open position. This allows you to be very tailored in choosing certifications that match your job. You may also combine your certification with an entry-level job, as some certifications require experience. 

Some examples include: 

Read more: How to Get IT Certifications in 5 Steps

3. Apply for entry-level positions that don’t require a degree. 

Entry-level positions help you build experience and skills and provide a placement for some IT certifications. You’ll find it’s possible to apply for a number of entry-level jobs in IT without a degree. Here are several examples:

Required skills for IT jobs

Employers want to know that you have the necessary skills to carry out an IT role, whether you learn them through a degree, certification, boot camp, or other means. IT professionals need a combination of technical and workplace skills. These vary from role to role, with each area needing different specialist skills. However, in general, employers are looking for the following skills as standard:

Technical skills

Workplace skills

Salary and job outlook

Salary for IT jobs varies depending on the type of role you take on. However, according to the BLS, the average median salary for an IT professional in the US is $100,530 [1]. The job outlook is excellent, with some areas, such as information security and software development, growing at a rate of 32 percent and 26 percent between 2022 and 2032 [2].

IT jobs career path

Entry-level jobs are a great starting point for building experience and trying out different areas within IT. Gaining experience and the skills that come with it, as well as working toward certifications, will help you progress your career to more advanced roles.

Look at some examples of IT roles available without a degree, following experience from an entry-level position and any relevant certifications. Included are the average annual salaries for each:

*All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor, April 2024. 

Get started with Coursera.

Ready to learn more about IT? Learn about systems administration and IT infrastructure with a Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera. This program is designed for beginners with no prior experience to develop the skills you need for a career in IT. The topics covered include technical support fundamentals, operating systems, IT security, and more. 

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations,” Accessed April 17, 2024. 

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