Many people mistakenly believe that having a college degree will be required to land an IT job, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, going the extra mile to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree will expand technology job opportunities considerably. However, this doesn’t mean that high school graduates who cannot yet afford the costs of post-secondary education should give up their IT dreams. The average tuition costs for earning an IT degree are $9,308 at two-year community colleges and $23,066 at four-year universities. Bringing in a healthy salary from entry-level IT jobs right after high school can certainly help aspiring college students tackle these expenses later. If you’re looking to transition from high school to the workforce, below are three great IT jobs that don’t necessarily require a degree.
Computer Support Specialist
Also referred to as technical support specialists or help-desk technicians, computer support specialists are IT workers given the responsibility of giving advice to people who are having difficulty in using certain computer equipment. Computer support specialists tend to focus on either troubleshooting network problems for a company’s IT department or helping customers properly diagnose and resolve a computer glitch. These specialists are hired in many different industries, including finance, education, telecommunications, and healthcare. Many employers will provide on-the-job training or cover the costs of a few post-secondary classes to prepare high school graduates for assuming the role of computer support specialist.
Information Technology Technician
Information technology technicians are hired in virtually every industry to help their organization diagnose computer problems, monitor network performance, install new software, and conduct computer system processing tests. IT technicians can also be responsible for performing regular maintenance, setting up computer systems, and repairing minor problems. Jobs can be found with simply a high school diploma, but strong knowledge on how computers operate is essential. Instead of formal training, it can be helpful for aspiring IT technicians to receive certifications from CompTIA, Cisco, and Microsoft. Job prospects for information technology technicians should remain quite favorable with employment growth at 17 percent before 2022.
Web Developer or Designer
For individuals with at least a high school diploma and a basic understanding of HTML, finding an IT job in web development or design is another good option. Web developers are responsible for handling all technical aspects that go into designing and creating websites that draw visitors from around the World Wide Web. Web developers work hard to build appealing web pages by writing code, integrating graphics, debugging applications, determining the layout, and monitoring traffic. Approximately 25 percent of web developers are self-employed, which makes the job a perfect fit for highly motivated people with technical expertise. Though a degree isn’t always necessary, web developers must keep learning the latest new multimedia publishing tools.
As you can see, unlocking job opportunities in IT doesn’t always require an extended trip into higher education to pursue a degree. That being said, it’s important to point out that students who are supported with a college education on their resume will have more avenues for advancement, higher starting salaries, and stronger job prospects. If you invest in a computer science degree, you could reap a good ROI by landing an IT job like computer systems analyst, programmer, information systems manager, database administrator, software developer, or IT security specialist.