Can you really get a tech job without a four-year degree?

We'd love to hear your take!

  • It is most certainly possible but like all things it will come with its own challenges. Namely, if you are to go it without a degree that is going to depend even more so on both having the skill readily demonstrable and having a good network; because, I mean: without a degree it has been my direct experience that people will want more active demonstrations of your ability than you may otherwise have to and you will also have to network or else you may not even be considered. Another thing being that if a candidate has a degree and the same skills as the person who learned those skills on their own but does not have a degree: logically they should be given equal weight but that is not the case; unfortunately, the degree is going to be the edge needed in most cases. 

    I say this as someone who both despises traditional education styles and yet is also a 17 year old sophomore in college who likely will end up with a bachelor's - based off of the amount of credits I have underfoot already - within the next two years. Specifically in mathematics but with large overlap into infosec as I also intend on going for my OSCP through Offensive Security. 

    I intend on becoming an ethical hacker and towards that end I am going to both learn and demonstrate what I can of my abilities as much as possible in order to create as much of an edge as possible while having the dual benefit of constantly getting better at what I want to do. 

    At least that is where my perspective is coming from.

  • I think it's possible, but you need to prepare a decent CV to easily get the job you want. You could try Enhancv, I have read a review of Enhancv on the internet and they can definitely help you to make a CV according to the template you want, and that way your chances will increase. You can talk to an expert about any questions you have about your CV. I recently went to them to put together a CV for my new job and was very pleased with the result.

  • Greetings Ben & All, 

    Absolutely you can! I'm living proof. Over 4 decades being in the technology industry (1976) and taking in knowledge of technology on a daily bases, seminars, (Back then, mail in technical classes). All the certifications I could find both mail in, and now online! Volunteering to assist in small to large projects,  just to learn. 

    I've had several companies in technology, I have buried myself in Broadband RF, WiFi, Telecom, Satellite,  microwave, structured cabling,  CCTV, MATV, SMATV, security. 

    Yes, my businesses only did well for a 10 years or so at a time.

    The one thing I did not spend anytime on was business classes and I hate Office Administration.  

    My advice for those that hate "Core Classes" and want to pursuit technology? At least take some business classes.

    I'm 60 now actively pursuing my Project Management Cert. CCNA and others for the fun of it and enjoying DeVry University for sure. 

    But then again, my career will end with a BANG because my Boss is Elon Musk. Yes, I succeeded and all those supposed "fails"? We successfully built stepping stones! So, believe! Contact me anytime for mentorship. 

  • I am interested in learning more about your experience and what you think the full course of action should be in pursuing a Cyber security position. 

  • Awesome story Mark! What a finale!

  • Hmmm. Let's ask Bill Gates.  He was a quitter, and seemed to do okay.  And yet if bots control resume submission, you will need other quals.

  • Seek hacker internships at CIA, NSA, DISA or other federal organizations.  The foundation is great with a revolving door to industry positions.

  • Of course you can! I'd argue that tech is one of the fields you're most likely to get into without a degree, as long as you can show that you know what you're doing. Especially if you have an innovative idea. There are so many tech startups whose founders don't have degrees. One great idea could be all it takes to get into one of these startups, and the right company just might fund your education later on.  

  • It's a no-brainer answer; yes. But not what everyone else is saying, "tech job" is a gigantic umbrella term for anything to do with tech - or technology - which means even being a desk admin is a tech job. Data entry and "get paid to do surveys all day" are also tech jobs, technically speaking. Realistically, most tech jobs don't require a degree, such as Web Dev and QA testing, etc. (think of any disposable programming role). You can see why, from the fact that there are literally tens or hundreds of thousands of people swarming into tech from every other domain, all with bootcamps, self-taughts, quick courses, apprenticeships, networking, etc. You could say this part of tech is, in a way, a 'glorified' blue collar job - or a blue collar masked as a white collar job. They are metaphorically a 'construction worker'.

    However, if you define 'tech job' as something like a quantum computing programmer, an astrophysics researcher, a quant, etc. Then yes, you most definitely require a degree, minimum, to progress into a tech job. They are metaphorically a 'scientist'.

    Do note that some tech jobs, like cybersec and microprocessor engineers may or may not need a degree as they are very 'hone the craft' type of jobs, requiring experience over knowledge in their skillset, whereas a self-driving car programmer would still pull it off with knowledge alone. This means that these jobs may be gotten away if you show how strong you are in the domain, metaphorically a 'craftsman'.