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Posted on October 7th, 2021 in Eleven Fifty Academy, Non-Degree Holders

When most people think of good-paying jobs, they think of those that require at least a 4-year degree—and the time and debt associated with it. However, in reality there are many good jobs that don’t require a degree in almost every field imaginable. Tech is one field that has really embraced alternative learning credentials as a viable option, opening their doors to workers who don’t want—or can’t afford—a 4-year degree.

That’s not to say that the jobs in this blog don’t require any prior knowledge, education, or training though. It’s to say that there are certifications, on-the-job-training, and short-term bootcamps that can get you into these jobs in a matter of months—not years. Let’s take a look at the best entry-level jobs and highest-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree to break into.

What is the Best Entry Level Job without a Degree?

The best entry-level jobs that don’t require a degree are those that pay a good wage while also providing you the experience or skills needed to grow and move up in your career. This might seem like a tall order, but there are quite a few entry-level tech jobs that meet the criteria. Here are some of the most popular jobs that on average pay 40k a year without a degree.

  • Computer Technician: If you’re interested in the hardware side of technology, a PC technician job might be a good fit. PC technicians provide hands-on technical support for hardware and software—usually for enterprise corporations. Like help desk analysts, communication and problem-solving skills are important, in addition to prior PC experience. The average salary is about $36,000 a year.
  • Help Desk Analyst: As a help desk analyst, you’ll start off providing Tier 1 support, such as logging calls and providing technical support for fairly straightforward issues, before working up to more complex Tier 2 roles. Help desk analysts need a working knowledge of computers and other tech devices, as well as skills like communication and problem solving. The average salary is about $45,000 a year.
  • Network Technician: Similar to a computer technician, network technicians often work for large enterprise corporations to install, upgrade, and maintain their network—in addition to monitoring the day-to-day operations of the network. Technicians should be skilled in basic help desk support, in addition to having an understanding of operating systems and networking. The average salary is about $50,000 a year.

Each of these jobs requires some basic tech know-how. There are a few ways to go about getting the skills needed for these positions. You could study to earn one of the industry-recognized CompTIA certifications on your own. Or, if you prefer a more structured environment, you could enroll in an IT pro bootcamp that can be completed in as few as 12-26 weeks. Many companies provide additional on-the-job training for employees in these positions to help them expand their knowledge base, too.

What Jobs Make the Most Money without a Degree?

If you have some more advanced tech skills, it’s also possible to land a career without a degree that makes even more money. Generally, these jobs do require some training and certifications, but these can typically be earned in just a few short months by enrolling in a coding bootcamp and completing industry-recognized certifications through CompTIA.

Here are some of the best jobs in 2021 without a degree, broken down by average salary. It is important to note that these are average salaries throughout the United States for these positions, so geography and years of experience will weigh into actual salaries. 

Jobs that Pay 60k a Year without a Degree

  • Junior Developer: Junior developers work on development teams. Their main roles are to write and maintain code for computer applications. Generally, junior developers focus on maintaining or fixing small bugs. At times, they’ll work with a more experienced developer to program higher-level code. The average salary is about $65,000 a year
  • QA Tester: Quality assurance testers are an important part of the development process. They test and evaluate new or upgraded programs to identify bugs, glitches, and other detrimental user experience issues. On some teams QA testers also help fix these issues. The average salary is about $74,000 a year.
  • Web Developer: Web developers create and update websites. Web developers can work on the front-end or the back-end of a website—some even specialize in both—and generally need to know programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The average salary is about $75,000 a year.

Jobs that Pay 80k a Year without a Degree

  • Security Administrator: Security administrators play a key role on cybersecurity teams. They provide companies with insight into their internal security protocols, and can also help detect any network issues that could make a company vulnerable to a cyber attack. The average salary is about $80,000 a year.
  • Software Developer: Software developers build and test software applications from the ground up. They also maintain and upgrade existing software products to ensure their functionality remains consistent. Software developers generally work with programming languages and tools like HTML, CSS, and Microsoft .Net. The average salary is about $86,000 a year.
  • UI Designer: User interface designers are tasked with creating the look and feel of websites. They work on tasks like front end development, branding, and visual design–while also keeping in mind how well the website can be navigated and used by the intended end users. The average salary is about $89,000 a year.

Start your New Career Path with Eleven Fifty Academy

Eleven Fifty Academy is a non-profit bootcamp that’s dedicated to bridging the talent gap in tech in our home state of Indiana and beyond. We strive to help career changers and career launchers discover the right tech path for them, grow their knowledge base, and land a great career—all without the time and money associated with a 4-year degree. If you’re ready to jump start a career in technology, learn about our full- and part-time courses, or reach out to one of our admissions advisors today.

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