How to Get into Tech Without a Degree

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn how to get into the technology industry without a degree and what you can focus on instead to build your skills, experience, and qualifications.

[Featured Image] A woman wearing a headset is on her laptop and answers phones at an IT call center.

The tech industry is a growing field with a range of jobs available, from data scientists to developers to system analysts and many more. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job outlook for information technology careers is expected to grow faster than average between 2022 and 2032, with a predicted 377,500 job openings per year [1].

Job requirements vary within the technology sector. While a degree is a popular entry point, not all tech jobs require one. Other important requirements include experience, skills, a strong portfolio, and relevant certifications. Tech is a wide-ranging field, and different roles have different criteria that don’t always include a degree. 

Read more: 5 Tech Entry-Level Jobs: No Experience or Commute Required

What are the job requirements for working in tech?

In such a fast-moving industry, employers often look for candidates who can demonstrate understanding and experience of the latest relevant technology and trends, as well as transferable workplace skills. 

With this in mind, many entry-level tech positions are accessible without a degree, which can provide you with experience and skills for promotion. You may even find tech jobs without a degree or experience, or at least very little. 

Stepping into management roles, senior positions, or specialized roles may require additional education, such as a degree and experience learning and managing teams. You may also note that many of the highest-paying tech jobs do ultimately require a degree. However, this doesn't have to stop you from starting your career without one.

How to get into tech without a degree 

Tech jobs without a degree exist if you can prove yourself through experience, certifications, boot camps, self-learning, and putting together a great portfolio and resume. Consider the steps below for how to get into tech without a degree.

1. Get tech experience. 

The tech industry is vast, so it’s important to make sure the experience you seek is relevant to the career you’re interested in. For most roles, general tech experience in an entry-level position is important, along with experience to enhance your workplace skills, such as in a customer service role. You may also be able to secure work in a nontechnical role, such as tech sales in a technical company or a technical writer, to get your start. 

Also, look for tailored experience as well as general entry-level roles. Internships and volunteer work are excellent ways to gain relevant experience. You can also gain experience through events, networking, online meet-ups, and personal projects.

Depending on the tech role you’re interested in, it may be helpful to build a portfolio to showcase your experience and skills. 

Read more: 5 Tech Entry-Level Jobs: No Experience or Commute Required

2. Enroll in boot camps. 

Boot camps are an excellent way to gain the tech skills you need to do a job, using and honing your practical skills in a shorter timeframe than a degree. Boot camps usually involve working on very specific skills which means you can tailor a boot camp to the role you want to do. 

Boot camps are typically less expensive than a degree and flexible, with part-time and online options, so you can fit them around your work and other commitments while still earning a salary. They are very practical and project-based, so they are a good option if this is your learning preference over more theoretical study. 

Read more: Coding Bootcamps: Options, Benefits, Requirements, and More

3. Earn certifications. 

Certifications are an excellent way of proving and validating your tech skills. They can be very valuable to your tech career, showing you can work at a certain level and have the skills necessary to do the job.

Certifications come in many forms, so you can choose one related to the job you want to apply for. Some may even be a prerequisite for the role. Some general technical certificates can add value to your resume if you don't have a degree. Tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, CompTIA, and others offer certifications in various disciplines that are widely recognized. Some examples include: 

  • CompTIA A+

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise

  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

  • Amazon AWS Certified Developer - Associate

  • Microsoft Certified: Fundamentals

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

If you don’t have a degree, entry-level roles are a good place to start, as many of them don’t require a degree. If you have relevant certification, experience, and skills, you might land one of these entry-level roles:

  • Data analyst

  • Junior developer

  • Web designer

  • Computer programmer

  • Technical writer

  • Help desk analyst

  • Computer network technician 

  • Tech sales agent

  • Digital marketing specialist

5. Find companies that don’t require a degree.

While employers often require a degree for tech jobs, some companies are more open to other credentials. According to a CompTIA survey, 85 percent of hiring professionals support relaxing job requirements around needing a degree [2].

A number of employers such as Amazon, Accenture, Google, and Apple see boot camps as desirable, so if you have participated in a boot camp but don’t have a degree, you can still look for jobs at these top companies.

Required skills for tech jobs 

The skills you need for a tech role ultimately depend on the specifics of the role. Different jobs require different skills, tools, and areas of specialization. As a general rule, however, many tech jobs require the following skills as standard:

Technical skills

Workplace skills

  • Communication

  • Problem-solving

  • Creativity

  • Computer literacy

  • Time management 

Salary and job outlook

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a technology professional in the US is $100,530 [1]. Keep in mind, this varies depending on the role. Here are some related roles and their average annual base salaries [3, 4]:

  • Help desk technician: $53,907

  • Cybersecurity specialist: $125,877

The demand for tech professionals is faster than average compared to all occupations in the US [1]. Professionals in the cybersecurity industry are in particularly high demand, with a predicted job growth rate of 32 percent between now and 2032 [5]. In contrast, database administrators' job outlook is 8 percent, which is a little above average [6]. 

Tech jobs career path

Entry-level positions like those listed earlier are a great starting point for more advanced careers. You’ll also find a number of higher-level positions that are available to you without a degree, provided you have other relevant experience, certifications, and training. Examples and associated salaries include:

*All salary information is sourced from Glassdoor as of March 2024. 

Get started with Coursera.

Earning a Professional Certification is an excellent way to get into tech without a degree. Within several months, you can gain the skills you need to qualify for a tech role. You’ll find several options available on Coursera, depending on the type of role you’re interested in. Consider learning more about the world of UX design with the Google UX Design Professional Certificate, get job-ready data analytics skills with the Google Advanced Data Analytics Professional Certificate, or get into computer support with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations,” Accessed March 6, 2024.

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