Building a Tech Career Without a Tech Degree 🚀🎓
Actionable strategies and real-world examples of top executives from Slack, Apple, Canva, and More 🌟
Tech careers can be daunting without a degree, but fear not! In the future of tech employment, degrees won't hold you back – skills will be your superpower.
Whether you are starting fresh without a degree or switching fields, this newsletter provides proven strategies, real-life examples, and actionable tips to help you embark on a successful tech career.
Is it Possible to Build a Tech Career without a Tech Degree?
Yes, you can build a tech career without a tech degree. Entering the tech industry without a tech degree is not impossible; in fact, it is now easier than ever before.
Here are 6 proven strategies with real-life examples that can help you land a tech role without a degree:
1. Gain Practical Experience in Non-Technical Roles
Getting practical experience in non-technical roles is crucial as it allows you to familiarize yourself with the industry's inner workings, build valuable soft skills, and create potential pathways to transition into technical roles within the tech world.
Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, initially joined Google in 1999 as the company's first marketing manager. She later transitioned into leadership roles, eventually becoming one of the key figures behind YouTube's success, all without a tech degree.
Seek out cross-functional projects during your non-tech role to demonstrate your adaptability and initiative.
Offer to shadow technical teams during your non-tech role to observe their workflows and learn firsthand about tech processes.
Get feedback from colleagues and supervisors to continuously improve and showcase your commitment to transitioning into tech roles.
2. Work Backwards from Your Dream Job
Working backward from your dream job allows you to identify the specific skills, experiences, and qualifications required for success. It helps you chart a focused and targeted path to achieve your tech career goals with clarity and purpose.
Kim Gebbia, coming from a media and news background, skillfully transitioned into product marketing. She is currently the VP of Marketing & Comms at Bobbie.
Analyze job postings for your dream tech role to understand the skills and qualifications employers seek.
Break down the skills required for your target role and create a personalized learning plan.
Subscribe to blogs, podcasts, and newsletters in your field.
3. Apply for Internships and Experiential Learning Opportunities to Hone Your Tech Skills
Internships and experiential learning opportunities are vital as they offer hands-on, real-world experiences that allow you to apply theoretical knowledge, gain practical skills, and build a strong foundation in the tech industry.
Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder and CEO of Slack, has emphasized the significance of gaining practical experience in the tech industry. He often speaks about the value of internships and other experiential learning opportunities, especially for individuals without a formal technical background.
With a degree in Philosophy, he has used his own unconventional academic path as an advantage in problem-solving within the tech world.
Look for internships or volunteer opportunities with tech companies, startups, or non-profit organizations to gain valuable experience.
Make sure you diversify your experience by applying to various tech domains to explore different aspects of the industry.
Tailor your internship applications to each company and role you apply for. Highlight relevant skills and experiences, even if they were acquired outside of formal tech education.
4. Enhance Your Social Profiles
Being active on social media platforms, especially on LinkedIn, is crucial in the tech industry as it helps you build a professional online presence, showcase your skills and accomplishments, and attract potential employers.
In 2015, Nina Mufleh desired to work for Airbnb but struggled to stand out through conventional applications. To catch their attention, she created a unique report detailing why Airbnb should invest in the Middle East and uploaded it to her LinkedIn profile. The report went viral, resulting in interview offers from Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Uber. While she ultimately joined Upwork, this illustrates how LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to gain visibility and seize tech opportunities.
Share insightful posts, articles, and updates related to the tech industry on your LinkedIn profile.
Actively engage and give valuable insights and feedback on posts from people in your industry. This is an effective way to gradually build meaningful relationships with key professionals.
Create a complete Qureos profile to get matched with potential jobs.
5. Engage in Projects, Bootcamps, and Courses
Taking part in projects, bootcamps, and courses is crucial in the tech field as it allows you to gain hands-on experience, master cutting-edge technologies, and continuously improve your skills.
Angela Ahrendts, the former Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, embraced the importance of continuous learning in the tech field. She completed a leadership development course at Harvard Business School while already holding executive positions at Burberry and later Apple. Her commitment to personal growth and education exemplifies how engaging in courses and self-improvement can lead to success in the tech industry.
Determine the specific tech skills or domains you want to focus on, such as web development or data science.
Participate in hands-on projects offered by Qureos to strengthen your tech skills and knowledge.
6. Expand Your Network
Networking is crucial in tech as it helps you build connections, get expert insights, and lead to collaborations, job offers, and exciting projects that propel your tech career forward.
Melanie Perkins, non-technical co-founder and CEO of Canva, met investor Bill Tai at a networking event. Her persistence and Tai's interest led to an invitation to San Francisco to pitch to other investors. This eventually led her to meet her co-founders, Cameron Adams and Cliff Obrecht. Through continued networking, Melanie connected with Guy Kawasaki, who later became Canva's brand ambassador.
Attend tech conferences, meetups, and events to interact with industry experts and potential collaborators.
Actively participate in online tech communities and social media platforms to stay updated on industry trends and job opportunities.
Schedule coffee chats with people who inspire you. We can underestimate how much people are willing to give if we ask respectfully.
In a nutshell, the tech world welcomes you with open arms, degree or not! Follow these strategies to master the skills required for a tech role.
If you found this valuable, check out our other blogs:
We would also love to hear from you about your inspiring stories about building a career in tech without a tech degree!
Remember folks, the future of tech and hiring is all about skills, not degrees.