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Getting into I.T WITHOUT a degree...

By jblue727 ·
Hi Everyone,

My work recently advised me that they’ll pay for a part time learning course of my choice (from any accredited educational provider) on a loan-based scheme. I’m 27 years old, never studied at College or University, and I’ve been in a call centre environment for about 7 years now. I know my way around a computer, have recently taken an interest in programming and I’m definitely ready for a career change. I’d like to take my company up on their offer, with the hope of getting employed in an I.T related field with my new qualification.

My question is- If you’d never been to University or College, what kind of course would you choose and what steps would you take in order to get gainful employment in the I.T field? What avenue within I.T would be the most likely to lead to employment without a formal degree? I’m at a cross roads in my life where I know I’m ready to put the hours in and knuckle down to make a career change, but going to Uni would be a bit of a problem in my current situation. I’ve been self-studying in my spare time pretty much since I left school (read- ‘pissing about on the internet’) and I’m not completely useless when it comes to applying myself to something, so I’m confident that taking a course won’t be a problem in itself. I realise that a course alone won’t cut it for many employers, so I know I’ll need to work on projects in my spare time to build experience and to show potential employers what I can do.

I can see how naïve of me it looks to be asking this by the way. There’s so much information out there on I.T careers but a lot of it is conflicting and I can’t see the wood for the trees. So I’ve come here for the opinion of those in the know.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated, especially anything related to specific courses and what particular steps you’d take in the same situation.


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Hardware or software

by mjd420nova In reply to Getting into I.T WITHOUT ...

If you're a hands on type, hardware basics begin with some community colleges and an assocoate degree in electronics. This will keep you out of trouble on the job, regardless of the final career choice. The reason I say this as I have had far too many "knowledgeable" persons doing "IT" work destroy more equipment than can be fixed in a day just by pulling one plug. "I didn't know" is the excuse.

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What Do You See Yourself Doing?

by jonathan.moo In reply to Getting into I.T WITHOUT ...

I.T. is a big term with many facets. If you are into the gaming industry, then entering a bachelor's course with an edge towards multimedia and gaming in mind. If you are into business and e-commerce, there are courses that are inclined towards that.

Find out what interests you first before jumping in. While I was in uni, there were two concurrent courses on computer science; one was gaming & multimedia development and the other was security. Even though both courses teach programming, they turn out to be very different since security deals with stuff like forensic analysis and encryption, while gaming and multimedia incorporates 3D modelling and animation.

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Latin and Mathematics

by john.a.wills In reply to Getting into I.T WITHOUT ...

If you are interested in programming, you need certain modes of thought. You already write good English, so I recommend taking one course, if you have not in the past done so, introducing a language with a different kind of grammar from what you are used to. Latin and Swahili both come to mind, but Latin's side-effects are more valuable.

Get all the mathematics you can, perhaps starting with set and function theory (a program is a mapping from one data structure to another).

Oh, yes: learn one programming language, one you think locally (in your present firm, say) useful, and be prepared to learn more. Look up relational database theory, focusing on normal forms. When you have some programming experience, read Dijkstra: Discipline of Programming.

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Get Certified In Something

by Vallum Halo In reply to Getting into I.T WITHOUT ...

For a fast start, try to get certified in some field -- it may be daunting but there are a lot of study guides for various courses out there, and if you are good at memorization and thinking things through, you might find this the biggest bang for the buck:

Check out typical salaries and opportunities that accompany certifications

I don't want to trivialize what it takes to get a certification, but it is possible to become certified with hard work and a lot of study, but not much experience. Certification can be held up to a lot of organizations as a reasonable substitute for a degree, especially in an entry level position.

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Yes and No

by ashwin3213 In reply to Getting into I.T WITHOUT ...

Without a degree, the only way to really get a really good job in IT sector would be a few years of experience and some good recommendations. There are lots of people in the industry who have the degree so you will be in bad shape to compete against them. Its just my personal opinion.

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