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What Do I Do if I Don’t Go To College?

You’ve turned in your last paper and finished your last test. Graduation ceremonies and parties are just a memory.

Now what?

For a lot of people, this is a difficult decision. Your brain is probably tired of having to think a lot since you’ve just finished taxing it to the max to finish school. “Please don’t make me think” is a legit request. And having to choose that ONE thing you want to do for the rest of your life is a daunting task. That’s not just thinking, it’s gigawatts of decision-thinking at a time when your brain just wants a summer vacay.

It’s easy to say you’ll think about it “tomorrow” and then move on to scrolling through the posts on your phone or grabbing the game controller for an afternoon / night of fun. It really is an intimidating task, no one would argue with that.

But, as you get ready to drive to that boring, low-paying job you took to earn extra money during school, the one where you come home bone-tired and smelling of french fries, you realize you are over it and want to move on to bigger and better things.

College isn’t for everyone, but getting stuck forever working in a warehouse, restaurant, or retail isn’t exactly what you had in mind for yourself, either.

If you’re reading this in 2022, the average cost of tuition at any 4-year institution is $28,775. If you’re reading this later, add on another grand – or two or three – each year later. So, if trends continue, next year’s cost could be $30,775, junior year could be $32,775 and senior year you could be saddled with a bill for $34, 775. That’s just tuition. It doesn’t include living expenses or things you need for class.  Since it’s unlikely that your part-time after-school job would get you that much in a year, that is debt you’ll be lugging around after graduation. Six. Digit. Debt. Not exactly an energizing start to your career life, and jobs that are hot now might just be lukewarm in four years.

Or maybe your folks will foot the bill, but you just aren’t sure college is for you. There’s no one path that speaks to your passion, and you don’t feel right about spending their hard-earned money, only to risk it going to waste if you drop out. That would be some six-digit guilt.

What are your options?

If you were born independently wealthy with no need to support yourself, then it may not be a huge issue. But for the other 99.99999 percent, a way to earn a living is something that needs to be considered.

Winning the lottery is another option, but the chances are slim, and 70 percent of big jackpot winners go broke within seven years.

Maybe you have a natural talent for something in the arts. It’s awesome to be able to support yourself doing something you love. But those careers can take a long time to truly pay off and, in the meantime, you need to eat.

Those same creative skills can land you a job in tech.

The fun things you’ve done all your life – social media, gaming, movies, etc. are all creative – and all require tech to do their magic. So do more traditional fields such as finance, education, and healthcare. You can learn those “magic” skills by learning tech. Even in the most traditional fields where you’d assume a degree is required, often it’s not.  Skills are what make things happen and tech roles are everywhere.

If you learn tech, you don’t have to choose a career in one area. Nearly every business uses databases and data analysts, needs IT customer support, uses a network and email, and has a website. They need security for those things, so they don’t fall prey to threats. If you don’t want to work for a company, you can work for yourself supplying those services.

That is also a lot of options, but fortunately, you don’t have to choose just one. Tech skills translate across a variety of jobs and fields. If you work in network security for a bank but later think you’d rather work in entertainment, guess what? Both need to keep bugs and bad guys at bay. And you can swoop in with those hero skills in either arena.

If you choose to enter tech, you can do so via a bootcamp, such as those offered by Eleven Fifty Academy, which will get you immersed in a learning environment that will provide you with the skills you need. Both coding and cybersecurity skills are taught in our immersive bootcamps.

Tech bootcamps get right to the meat of the knowledge, without delving into histories, theories, or philosophies. You learn skills that allow you to earn. And we’re not talking about just getting by.

Plus, EFA graduates are uniquely qualified for paid hiring program opportunities such as JP Morgan Chase’s Emerging Talent Software Engineering Program and Eli Lilly’s Technical Pathways Program.

Remember a mention of six-digit debt earlier? Bootcamps take a fraction of the time and cost of traditional 4-year learning and can lead to a job in an industry where a six-digit salary is not uncommon. And no, that’s not just the c-suite crowd. Software engineers and cybersecurity analysts score high paychecks too.

So, four years from now, instead of being crushed by six-digit debt, you can be enjoying the benefits of getting started now in tech and having a home, car, or the freedom to work from wherever you want without being tied to a home or car. It’s your choice. And that’s probably a much less stressful choice than what you’re struggling with now.

Still not sure what to do? Take a course for free.

Get started in tech. And if later you do decide you might want to go to college and study all the histories, theories and philosophies, you can use some of those fat paychecks to fund your continued studies.

You can always continue to learn. Your options are wide open.

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