No Degree? No Problem! How to Build a Technical Career Without Attending University
While a degree can help you get a job in the technical field, it’s certainly not a requirement. Here’s how to land a role in this sector without attending university.
A common myth about roles in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) fields is that landing one requires a university degree.
While traditional further education provides one route into this popular sector, it’s certainly not your only option. And with technical jobs in high demand, employers are looking outside of the graduate pool for their new recruits.
So, how exactly do you secure your dream job in the technical sector without a degree? Let’s talk options.
Apprenticeships offer the chance to gain valuable work experience while studying for a qualification. As an apprentice, you’ll work towards your qualifications either remotely or at college, while the rest of their time is spent undergoing on-the-job training within your industry of choice.
Apprenticeships are available at three levels, with each level having different entry requirements.
Vocational qualifications are designed to prepare you for a particular type of role. You can typically study vocational qualifications at college.
Vocational qualifications include EAL NVQs and SVQs, BTECs, and City & Guilds. Many sixth-form colleges offer the option to take a combination of academic and vocational qualifications, so if you’re not sure which route is best for you, it’s a commitment-free option.
Internships provide an excellent degree alternative for multiple reasons. Not only do they provide you with valuable experience that looks good to potential employers, but they also allow you to make professional connections within the company.
In some cases, internships make such a splash at the company they work for that they get a permanent job out of it.
Plus, if you’re not 100% on whether a job in the STEM field is the right career path for you, doing an internship is a way to find out without committing too strongly to a particular career path.
If you’re looking to get into coding in particular, you’ll find a ton of online courses (both free and paid) that can teach you this sought-after skill set. Alternatively, you can sign up for an in-person code camp.
These are usually intensive programmes that last a few weeks or months, at the end of which you can expect to be able to code to a moderate level. You could then continue your study with an online course afterwards.
Channel Your Soft Skills
While your technical experience is undoubtedly a key factor in landing technical roles, the power of soft skills shouldn’t be underestimated.
If you’re a self-taught programmer, for example, you might have the same technical skill set as a computer science graduate, but the soft skills you’ve picked up from other work experience can give you a competitive edge.
Adjust your CV to make sure all your previous experience relates in some way to the skills you’ll need in a technical role.
When it comes to securing a role in your industry of choice, university isn’t the only option. From internships to apprenticeships, there are various paths to the career of your dreams. Discuss with a mentor or a professional in your industry of choice to establish which is best for you.
Interested in learning more about more routes into STEM fields of work? Click here.