Going to university or studying for an IT degree is no longer the only route to take to get into the IT industry. Employers have begun looking past the necessity of having a degree to extend an employment offer to their candidates. Over the last few years, there has been a development in new ways of showing initiative, knowledge, and experience of the IT industry.
Throughout this article, we take a look at other viable options that can help you succeed in getting a new job in IT without having a degree.
Apprenticeships are an excellent alternative to getting an IT degree. Not only do you gain salary-paid hands-on experience within your desired IT specialism, but you get the added benefits of having access to learning resources whilst on the job.
Apprenticeships focus on including a mix of both a full-time job and a dedicated amount of time of classroom learning and coursework, all of which results in receiving a qualification.
It is not uncommon for employers to be more accepting of apprenticeships as opposed to IT degrees as you have had the opportunity of gaining real-life experience whilst learning and would be able to apply this knowledge directly to the job from the start without having the fear of it being a first-time experience.
An IT apprenticeship allows you to develop your knowledge and skills in a hands-on approach that some people prefer rather than strictly through teaching environments. Recently, there has been an increase in the type of apprenticeships available across different industries, and this improvement has allowed several IT apprenticeships routes to be developed and available to the public. An apprenticeship could also be extremely beneficial in finding out if a particular IT job route is the right one for you, allowing you to experience it before fully pledging to that industry.
2. Work Experience / Placements
Like apprenticeships, work experience or placements are another great way of allowing you to gain hands on knowledge and skills without the full focus on learning/coursework/assignments that degrees incur.
Work experiences or placements tend to take place over a shorter time and differ in whether they are paid or not - this decision being entirely in the hands of the company you are choosing. However, it is still an excellent example that expresses to employers that you are determined to gain the necessary experience that could result in helping you land your dream IT job.
Gaining work experience/placement with a company can be extremely beneficial for you. If you perform well or make a good impression on that employer, they could even take it upon themselves to offer you a small role within their team or be an excellent industry connection later down the line having remembered you and your work.
When it comes to trying to get work experience or a placement, it is a common method to reach out to the company you want to work for via a work email address - given that you have permission to use it - or LinkedIn.
It is important you research the employer you would like to take up work experience for so you can ensure you won't regret putting in your time and effort and only receive a positive experience to help improve your IT knowledge and skills.
Volunteering at an IT company can show employers that you are dedicated to extending your IT knowledge and skills in any possible way. Choosing to volunteer any time and energy to a company is completely dependent on the candidate themselves, this being because volunteering is an unpaid role and therefore the benefits gained would be the potential industry connections, being able to put it on your CV and improving your current skillset.
Volunteering with an IT employer allows you to gain hands on experience and gives you the opportunity to arrange the time spent with the company based on your flexibility and schedule. Volunteering tends to be on an occasional basis, as and when the candidate has free time over weekends or in between job roles.
4. IT Training courses
Whether you are wanting to learn a completely new IT skill, improve your current IT skillset, or simply want to explore a different IT sector, IT training courses allow the opportunity to achieve all these ambitions. There are thousands of both free and paid IT training courses, ranging across a variety of IT skills, available online or in-person, dependent on which you are more open to.
IT training courses can be both part-time or full-time which can be a huge incentive for some candidates as it means they can work around their current lifestyle and still achieve an IT certification. IT training courses are a great way to explore different fields of IT and find which the best fit is for you, it also gives you the option to gain a collective skillset that could allow you to apply for multiple different roles. Choosing to undertake an IT training course can also help keep you and your IT skills up to date with the latest in-demand IT skills and trends, which could result in more job opportunities as you have the latest IT knowledge.
Employers have begun truly valuing those who to complete IT training courses as not only does it show the initiative to continue learning and growing but it shows the determination and passion to better themselves both personally and professionally.
5. Soft skills
In some IT jobs, a candidate’s soft skills are just as important as their technical skills, it is just a case of showcasing what you can bring to the role without relying on a degree.
Soft skills could include having excellent time management and organisation skills, communication, or leadership skills. It is easy to achieve these soft skills and it is likely you already own them from previous job roles or life experiences.
If you are looking to get into an IT role without a degree and are relying on what your soft skills could contribute, entry-level IT jobs would offer the best route for you to take. Through an entry-level role, you can begin to learn what goes into specific IT roles without having the necessary experience or knowledge of a degree. Ensuring your soft skills are constantly being improved can be the key factor in securing your new IT job.
Not sure which industry you want to start your IT career journey in? Why not look at all our available roles to see if any pique your interest!