IT job without degree is often the hardest part for anyone leaving school or college, or simply looking for career change. How to become IT engineer without a degree then?
What do you need to get an IT job without degree qualifications:
- Do you have real passion for computers?
- Problem solving and the result in the end motivate you giving you that self-achievement feel?
- You are willing to learn constantly about evolving Information technology?
- Able to invest time outside of work to learn about latest computers and IT in general.
Why a computer science or IT related degree is not mandatory to get in to the industry?
Most IT engineers have either entered a company through self-taught or industry related qualifications. In recent years IT apprentice programmes has helped secure jobs for colleague leavers. So let’s look at what sort of qualifications you need in order to succeed.
Self-Study to become IT engineer
Microsoft Windows is widely used in Infrastructure and Desktops. So this would seem logical path to get trained on if you are looking to enter as Desktop support technician. I did my Microsoft MCP exam on Windows 7 and some general hardware course such as CompTIA A+.
Windows Desktop support roles are popular amongst those wishing to progress to Helpdesk support. You will need basic knowledge about supporting software but it’s not too tricky to get a grasp on. Typically companies who use Windows platforms would use an authentication system called Active Directory (LDAP). It contains information about different user groups, departments and users with permissions. Get yourself a book on Active directory or go on to Youtube and find a clip that shows administration of AD.
Also have a good read on how the following work: DNS, Exchange mail server, SLA (service level agreement), TCP/IP networking.
Break and Fix
Practice makes you better, so get yourself a test machine to play around with. Most people are afraid of breaking a system but forget to realise that’s what will make you a better technician. I have to admit that I made a lot of mistakes and ended up finding solutions on Google to fix it.
If you struggle with self-study then there are companies that will charge you to train on certain technology and get you in to an IT job without degree certificate. Have a look at JustIT in the UK who take on school leavers to adults looking to change career.
Once you have given everything in to your first IT support engineer role for few years, you can then do certifications on server technologies to step up to 2nd line or 3rd line engineer.
IT companies are no longer looking for someone with a Degree unless you are going in to banking sector. They are looking for someone with wide range of skillset and willing to learn new stuff.
This is how my career started off and I am now at an Architect position:
Started off doing 1st line support for desktop computers, internal office support and mail platform for a very small firm consisting of only 12 staff. I then did some industry related certifications such as MCP, MCTS then my VMware certified professional (VCP 5). As everyone is on the Cloud jargon I thought Virtualisation path is the way to go forward. I doubled my salary after doing my VCP exam and then went on to a medium sized managed hosting provider who had about 4000 dedicated servers and a public cloud. I learned a lot more here as they had vast amount of servers with all sorts of software running on them. Linux wasn’t my strongest skillset so I decided to learn it there and put it to use.
Now after 5 years of entering in to IT at entry level, I managed to fast track to becoming Solutions Architect in Converged Infrastructure for a large corporate organisation with turnover of over $4 billion.
You can see that hard work will pay off eventually if you keep up with new trending technologies. I have never been asked for a degree in any interview as my CV reflects proven experience. You just need to get in any IT job without degree and I can promise you that you can then focus on what to specialise afterwards.
Do not let salary figures be a stopping point for not accepting an opportunity. I accepted a low salary when I joined first company. You are not going to get a £50K job without any experience, so go in cheap and work your way up.
How degree can help you is when you get to a senior position and looking upwards to becoming a manager.
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