Breaking into any professional industry has its challenges, and the tech industry is no exception. It’s a popular belief that attending a four-year institution and receiving a college degree will be the steppingstone many individuals need to launch their careers. But sometimes, that’s not the truth.
While getting a degree is commendable, and sets you ahead of the competition, there are still other alternatives that can either help in addition to – or instead of – completing a four-year degree. Let’s dive a bit deeper, shall we?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 26 percent of IT workers in the United States do not have a college degree.
Additionally, if you search job titles, like cybersecurity or software development, on popular career sites, like Indeed or Glassdoor, you’ll notice that many companies only require a high school diploma. That’s because, in 2022, employers aren’t weeding individuals out because they don’t have a 4-year degree. They want individuals that can do the job and do the job well.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that how you gain your skillset is flexible if it’s in alignment with industry standards. Here are three alternatives to higher education that align with industry standards and can help you launch a successful career in information technology (IT).
Coding Bootcamps are a Go-To Alternative
If you’ve thought about breaking into the tech industry, then coding bootcamps have certainly crossed your mind. So, what are they? Coding Bootcamps are a go-to alternative for many individuals hoping to get their foot in the door. Coding bootcamps offer training in common computer science disciplines like cybersecurity, software engineering, UX Design, and more.
These programs are a great alternative because they provide individuals with hands-on training. Training that ultimately helps students solidify skills and build portfolios to quickly enter the IT workforce. On a positive note, coding boot camps can be completed faster and are cheaper than most colleges and universities. As far as career assistance goes, boot camps also offer career services that facilitate meet-and-greets with employers. But it’s still mostly hands-off.
While bootcamps are great alternatives, keep in mind that it’s still up to you to create your own connections and get hired, and usually after attending coding boot camps, the job search takes 6 months on average. Therefore, if you have the time then a coding Bootcamp may be the right path for you.
Certifications are Great Additions to Degrees
If you have a degree already, then congratulations! Now you can build on top of that. Past studies have shown that 23% of IT professionals received salary increases of up to 20% after getting certified.
But what are certifications and how can you obtain one? Certifications are designated credentials earned by an individual to verify legitimacy and competence to complete a job. In comparison with universities and coding bootcamps, certifications are less intensive in training and completion time which for some individuals is a plus.
To obtain an IT certification, you must first decide on which one is right for you. Consider questions like: “What type of jobs am I interested in?” “What will allow me to build on my current skill set?”
After deciding which certification is right for you, you must pass the exam associated with said certification. Once you pass the exam, the certification is yours to add to your resume. However, you’re on your own to learn the information provided by your certification program. Therefore, it’s important to take it seriously and retain all the information provided.
Ultimately, certifications help professionals expand their knowledge, and earning potential, as well as put individuals at a competitive advantage. So, if you’re someone looking for a boost in your career then getting an IT certification may be right for you.
A Solution With The Best of Both Worlds
A growing number of programs out there merge the benefits of a tech bootcamp and obtaining a credible certification. One such program is GenSpark, which is a program that has garnered increasing attention over the years. GenSpark serves as a happy medium between a recruiting company and a bootcamp. The way it works is they train individuals in the latest technologies like Java or .NET programming, and help you find jobs at Fortune 500 companies so that you can put those skills to real-world use! But they do more than that.
In addition, GenSpark provides candidates with soft-skills development (so you can ace the interview), job placement assistance (they set up interviews for you), and throughout the entire process they pay you a weekly stipend to help with living costs. There is no out-of-pocket cost to candidates who qualify for the program. GenSpark is also very mission-minded.
Their goal is to close the talent gap by upskilling a diverse pool of candidates. GenSpark is focused on increasing women, minorities, and other under-represented groups in the field of tech, so if you fall into those categories, it’s good to know a company out there has your back. Recently, GenSpark and its parent company Pyramid Consulting was awarded the Finalist Award for the Microsoft Inclusion Changemaker Award, which celebrates companies that come up with creative solutions to narrow the gender and diversity gap in our society. It’s good to know there are companies out there championing those without a voice! Here are some highlights of GenSpark’s program:
• Once accepted into the program, GenSparkers undergo 6-to-12 weeks of paid technical and soft skill training in 1 of 20+ career pathways (see some of those career pathways here).
• After training, GenSparkers are placed on “bench,” where they become full-time employees of GenSpark. This is the transition period where GenSparkers go from trainee to full-time client placements. (Until placed with a client, GenSparkers receive hourly pay as well as medical, dental, and vision benefits.)
• Once placed with a client, candidates begin their assignment, thus starting their new career in the industry!
For more details about GenSpark and its most popular courses, read more about them on their Career Pathways page. With the tech workforce growing more and more competitive, it’s good to know there are programs out there that help candidates find their dream jobs in the tech field. Do your research, and you just might find the ideal fit to help you fulfill your career aspirations.
Alexia is the author at Research Snipers covering all technology news including Google, Apple, Android, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung News, and More.