How Can I Get a Computer Job Without a Degree?

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Several computer positions don't require a degree -- they require training, experience and certification.
Several computer positions don't require a degree -- they require training, experience and certification. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Careers in computers, or "information technology," require knowledge of complex systems, calculations and programming. Positions in computer engineering, computer science and systems analysis typically require a formal college education. But several computer jobs, such as computer operator, computer specialist or hardware technician, may require only certification, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hard work, focus and determination will help you land a computer job even if you don't have a degree.

Training

Select and research positions. Research the computer industry in your area and pay particular attention to the largest employers. Use resources like the City-Data, PayScale and Bureau of Labor Statistics websites to research the industry, pay and job requirements. Narrow your focus to three or four positions.

Contact a major computer certification organization and request information on certification in your target area. CompTIA, Microsoft and Cisco offer certification credentials in database technology, computer programming, productivity software and system architecture.

Join an association that supports your target position. Associations such as the IEEE Computer Society offer their members several benefits. Typically, associations provide workshops, seminars or conferences that can enhance your skills. Most associations require an application process and fee to join.

Experience

Contact your local library to ask about volunteer opportunities. Many libraries offer computer training to the general public, and volunteering for these workshops enhances your skills.

Contact nonprofit organizations that may need part-time support. Offer your time, for free, and explain that you would like to gain experience programming, managing hardware or providing desktop support. Be honest about your level of experience and work closely with the organization’s senior technical staff.

Market your skills to consumers. For example, you can offer consumers in your area assistance with operating or repairing their computers. This type of experience will help you learn to resolve complex computer problems independently.

Apply

Revise your resume, highlighting transferable skills gained at previous positions. For example, if you worked as an office assistance, highlight the work you did with computer programs. Include your volunteer work, association memberships, training and certification.

Create a cover letter that explains why the company should hire you. Don’t wait for an interview to explain why the company should hire you. A well-developed cover letter should explain your training, experience and dedication in a concise manner.

Submit your application for positions that match your skills. Do not select positions that require skills or experience you have not gained.

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