It is hardly a secret that the technology industry is growing. Jobs abound for those with any kind of technological skill or savvy, and many careers in tech lead to healthy six-figure incomes with remarkable benefits packages. Yet, many workers eager to enter the field of tech feel that they will be ill-equipped to function in IT roles without adequate education.
So, if you want to work in IT, do you need a degree? Read on to find out.
More Than 25 percent of IT Professionals Don’t Have College Degrees
Simply put, the answer to whether you need a degree to work in IT is a straightforward “no.” There is such an enormous demand for IT workers that organizations will happily hire anyone interested in IT, regardless of whether they currently have functional IT skills. Many entry-level IT positions have training programs built in to ensure beginner IT workers have a baseline of IT knowledge and capability. Ultimately, you don’t need any kind of IT experience to get a job in tech, and more likely than not, you won’t be the only worker on your team who is brand-new to this field.
Of course, you will be limited in the types of IT jobs you can acquire. Without any tech expertise, you are likely to be eligible only for the lowest ranks of IT technician positions, which means you will be responsible for troubleshooting and repairing hardware and software across an existing computer system. Such tasks are not always the most challenging or the most mentally rewarding, but they will help you cultivate knowledge and skills about IT that will serve you later in your career. Though your earning potential will vary depending on where you live and what type of organization you work for, you are likely to take home about $22 per hour — or between $30,000 and $59,000 per year.
A Degree Might Be Essential to Progress in the Field
You do not need a degree to begin working in IT — but you might want to consider pursuing a degree if you hope to remain in IT for the rest of your career. Though you might be able to increase your earning potential slightly with knowledge and skills gained through experience, the truth is that you will find it difficult to progress to higher positions with greater responsibilities if you lack certain credentials.
During your time as an IT tech, your employer will likely expect you to acquire certain certifications, which involve some degree of study and examination. There are dozens of certifications you can earn without enrolling in a university degree program, and many qualify you for positions in IT management which will increase your salary and give you new, exciting responsibilities.
Still, many IT workers hope to achieve more than a single promotion over the course of their careers. You might dream about working as a high-level tech executive, which could elevate your income over $260,000. However, to achieve such a high rank, and sooner in your career rather than later, you will need to demonstrate to an employer that you have outstanding knowledge and skill in the tech field. These days, many organizations want more than decades of work experience; they want a credential like an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree, which would demonstrate not only a high level of training in the IT field but also your drive and determination to function effectively as an IT leader.
A college degree can also help you specialize in more unique fields of business technology, which can help you reach higher tiers of income much sooner than you would with work experience alone. Software architecture, DevOps, data science, UI design, BIS analysis and other fields are growing in demand as more organizations transition to digital systems, so the sooner you can showcase credentials in these fields, the sooner you will have a lucrative career in tech.
You can start working in IT as early as today — but you might not be satisfied by the potential of the entry-level positions available to you unless you pursue a degree in IT.