When people think of IT jobs, they probably picture someone staring at a monitor all day typing code, having been trained through a college degree or industry certification. This may lead you to the question: are there IT jobs without certification requirements?
There are many IT jobs without certification or degree requirements. Entry-level jobseekers and those transitioning from non-information technology positions can find careers that do not require an industry certificate or university diploma. Some IT jobs offer associated certifications.
Interestingly, approximately 26% of IT workers in the US don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Generally, IT work can be learned in your spare time, or you may have transferable skills you can tap. Let’s walk through your options and explore some IT jobs that don’t require a certification or degree. I’ve listed each job’s responsibilities and if there’s an industry certification that you can get.
IT Technicians troubleshoot and organize computer networks and identify and resolve any computer-related issues within these networks, including hardware and software problems.
Overall, an IT technician can acquire several non-degree-related skills, such as communication and analytical skills. Solid interpersonal communication skills are also beneficial since you often interact directly with people.
Some initial experience working with computing hardware and operating systems will equip you to begin in a new position. This can be simply working on computers for friends and family. You’ll need enough understanding to show competency when applying.
Industry-recognized certificates can open new doors for you and boost your earning potential. After being hired, you will gain most of your skills from experience as you climb your career ladder. Nevertheless, if you’re trying to gain an edge, you can opt for the CompTIA A+ IT certification.
Help Desk Technician
While a help desk technician has similar job specifications to IT technicians, the prior’s responsibilities are a bit more basic.
In the Help Desk role, your main tasks are to assist employees with all IT issues, from simple hardware problems to complex operating systems or software malfunctions. This help request may arrive via email, instant message, support ticket, or calls, so strong communication skills are required.
Tip: Listening was the most critical skill when I worked help desk. It’s vital to see the problem from your requestor’s perspective and determine what information you need from them to solve the problem.
While a Help Desk Technician is ideal for starting your IT job journey, you may want to gain some prior knowledge. HubSpot Academy could give you a head start on the help desk role.
After you’ve cut your teeth at the Help Desk, you may find that working to ensure all the systems on a corporate network function reliably, leveraging your experience to this point.
Site Reliability Engineer
Site reliability engineers are mainly responsible for ensuring the employer’s computing resources are functioning well and maintained. With a high job growth rate, the demand for site reliability engineers is increasing due to the rise of automation.
Overall, this job will require you to monitor website servers, network infrastructure, third-party software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS) deployments.
SR Engineers communicate any issues as they arise and collaborate over improvements to the overall running technology stack. Consequently, exceptional interpersonal and observational skills are beneficial for this role.
Site reliability engineers may require training on branded services like Amazon Web Services via certifications tailored to the platform, like the offering from Skill Builder. Alternatively, employees can gain broader SRE training via certificate programs like the one from Cloud Academy.
Your SRE experience will dovetail nicely with cybersecurity.
A cybersecurity specialist is one of the top-paying jobs in the new digital economy, with critical responsibilities becoming more crucial (and in demand) each year.
In addition to monitoring a company’s network for potential digital threats, this position is responsible for protecting networked computing resources by analyzing the threat surface and deploying hardware, software, and company policies to protect data.
Cybersecurity also entails forming detailed data protection plans and offering relevant training about security procedures to employees within the company. The position requires strong observational skills, continuous education, and the ability to apply creative thinking to mitigate attacks from threat actors.
While entry into the cybersecurity industry can be done on the job, it’s a good idea to gain industry certification, such as from GIAC, quickly. The program allows you to specialize in cybersecurity areas like intrusion analysis, reverse engineering malware, and cloud forensics responder.
Hint: New AI-assisted monitoring tools are coming to market. Learn how to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to get ahead of your peers in cybersecurity.
Computer programming requires you to know one or more coding or programming languages but also have a strong affinity towards solving logical puzzles. Let me explain.
As a programmer, I can overly simplify my responsibilities: my job is to understand what a human wants their computer to do and then write software to get a computer to produce that outcome.
We programmers must also be adept at debugging, updating, troubleshooting, creating, testing, and managing applications and the systems with which they interact. But don’t think you have to pay for a degree or course program to pursue a career in computer programming – you can get started for free.
Plenty of complete YouTube training courses like freeCodeCamp will give you a solid introduction to programming fundamentals for the web, desktop, and mobile.
There are also professional online courses if you have some money for training. I’ve used Pluralsight for years and even requested that my company buy a subscription as part of workforce development.
Although you may not require it, formal industry certification or degree can increase your ability to level up your career. Industry certifications in specific technologies (e.g., R Programming Certification) or platforms (e.g., AWS Certified Solutions Architect) can be valuable credibility indicators.
Computer Software Engineer
Computer software engineers are responsible for multiple facets of the IT industry. These include enhancing system quality, implementing and designing user-friendly software solutions, and maintaining development software.
I’ve already covered computer software engineer, and you may need to build on your time management skills. Aside from that, critical thinking and problem-solving skills will also bring you a significant advantage.
Note: You might also come across a similar subcategory, Computer Science. I’ve previously covered the differences and similarities between Computer Engineering and Computer Science.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of online training courses that can assist you with learning to code. For those that want to get experience directly with a high-tech company, check out apprenticeship or fellowship programs, such as the ones offered by Spotify, IBM, or Google.
A Web Developer is a computer engineer generally tasked with creating the front end of websites or web applications. But this job is more than just creating pretty user interfaces and user experience development.
Web development encompasses three work areas: back-end, front-end, and middleware developers. Depending on your interest, you may find one of these areas of web development more interesting. It’s essential to get some experience before settling into a particular specialization.
Regarding skills, back-end developers may require a more detail-oriented mindset to deal with the intricacies of data persistence and reporting (more on this in the Data Analyst job later). Meanwhile, front-end developers are always looking for a user-friendly web experience. MIddleware devs produce code that
- applies business logic like workflows,
- connect and protect data, and
- ensure reliability and scalability of traffic traveling through the web app and even mobile experiences
If you’re versatile, you can opt for a full-stack role, combining the three web development segments.
Luckily, getting into web development is relatively easy without a formal degree or certification. But to build on your skills, you can take certifications offered by specific companies, Meta and Google, or programs through universities like UC Davis and Cornell. Check out an example list here.
One common movement, though, is that most of the internet’s infrastructure is beginning to increasingly be provided by the big tech cloud companies, offering platform as a service (PaaS). This trend of centralizing a company’s infrastructure has produced a new type of Engineer.
Cloud engineering is gaining a significant footing in the IT labor industry with a high job growth rate. This role’s responsibilities include migrating an employer’s business information, processes, and applications to cloud infrastructure.
Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Amazon Web Services are the prominent names in the platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. While each provider has many of the same benefits with slight differences, a Cloud Engineer needs to understand how to use each provider’s nuances.
Certification in all the major PaaS providers might not be required to get hired as a Cloud Engineer; companies will likely test for experience with the platform(s) in use at the organization. Most Cloud Engineers will likely come from a strong system administration role. Once you’ve obtained enough professional expertise, you’ll be on your way to becoming a Cloud engineer, architect, administrator, or developer.
It’s not just infrastructure professionals using the Cloud. Even developers’ roles are beginning to overlap with IT operations.
Development operations is an offshoot engineering position that combines the responsibilities of software developers with those of IT system administrators. These engineers are responsible for the smooth running of software delivery pipelines as they handle app deployment and release management for software development teams.
Typically operating on a DevOps team in a tech company, this role requires a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a closely related field and at least a few years of professional experience as a software developer.
Note that some companies will hire individuals without a degree if they have significant industry experience.
This job isn’t one you can apply for with little background; you need to have climbed enough IT career ladders to have a chance. You can also further your knowledge via online training programs such as the one offered by SoftEd.
Database administrators are tasked with organizing and storing data, as well as making data accessible to other users.
This job used to be found in large-scale data-holding organizations such as banks and hospitals. But, with the shift to leveraging cloud infrastructure and computing and its efficiency in handling massive data sets, even small-to-medium-sized organizations are starting to invest in database management technologies and professionals to run the data persistence. As a result, the database administrator role is becoming more common across all industries.
Look for related job titles that fall under this profession:
- Database Developer
- Database Designer
- Systems Analyst
- Data Warehouse Analyst
- Business Analyst
A Database Administrator (DBA) needs to acquire adequate communication skills. This is so that they can explain complicated terminology in a simplified understanding to others.
It may be difficult to become a database administrator without a bachelor’s degree, so you’ll want to compensate with industry certification and years of experience in IT. One of the vital professional certifications needed is from Oracle.
However, in the beginning, you should start at the entry level.
Junior Data Analyst
Since a junior data analyst is an entry-level job, you may have an easier time landing this position.
That being said, the job’s responsibilities include finding relevant information from large data sets. An analyst is also charged with taking organized data and producing a business story through reports or written narratives.
All data analysis jobs will need you to become research competent. You’ll want to refine certain soft skills such as attention to detail, collaboration, organization, and communication skills.
As with any job, increasing your knowledge is beneficial for career advancement. You’ll likely benefit from an industry certification or by taking relevant courses.
For instance, you can apply for the training program offered by Datacamp, named Data Analyst with R.
Truthfully, writing queries and producing reports is a weak spot in my career experience. I’m not sure I’m wired to see patterns in collected data. You might be, though.
Whatever facet of the IT industry you eventually choose to enter, it’s important first to understand what the industry has to offer and which role best suits you.