How To Build A Successful Tech Career Without A Computer Science Degree
Updated: Aug 15
If you've been fascinated by the tech industry and its rapid growth, however, you are hesitant to pursue a career in tech because you need a computer science degree. You can still build a successful career in tech without one.
That's right - in this article, we will explore how to build a successful tech career without a computer science degree. We'll cover everything from the changing landscape of the tech industry to the skills you need to succeed and how to gain those skills. We'll also provide tips on how to break into the tech industry without a degree and highlight some success stories of people who have made it in tech without one.
Why is this topic important for people who want to work in the tech industry? The tech industry is constantly evolving, and there's a growing demand for talent with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. You don't need to have a computer science degree to contribute to the tech world - in fact, having a non-traditional background can make you stand out from other candidates. This article will show you that it's possible to pursue a career in tech without a computer science degree and give you the tools you need to succeed.
So, this article is for you, whether you're a marketer, a graphic designer, a journalist, or someone from another field entirely. With the right mindset, skills, and opportunities, you, too, can build a successful career in the exciting and dynamic world of tech.
Why You Don't Need a Computer Science Degree to Work in Tech
You might think a computer science degree is required to work in the tech industry. However, that's not true anymore. In fact, according to a report by LinkedIn, only 32% of software engineers still need a computer science degree.
So, why don't you need a computer science degree to work in tech? The tech industry is rapidly evolving, and as a result, many new roles and opportunities have emerged. Companies are looking for diverse perspectives and unique skill sets, and you can offer that even without a computer science degree. A Hired survey found that employers increasingly value skills like communication, creativity, and problem-solving over technical skills.
For example, consider the rise of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. UX/UI designers are crucial to the success of tech products, and they often come from non-technical backgrounds. According to a report by Indeed, UX/UI design is one of the fastest-growing tech roles, with a 33% increase in job postings from 2015 to 2018. Product management is another role that has seen a rise in demand. Product managers work closely with developers to bring products to market and often come from backgrounds like marketing, journalism, or business.
Many successful people in tech need to have computer science degrees. Take Jack Dorsey, for example. He's the co-founder and CEO of Twitter and majored in anthropology in college. Another example is Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Slack, who studied philosophy in college. These successful tech leaders prove you don't need a computer science degree to make it in the industry.
Furthermore, transferable skills from other industries can be highly valuable in tech. For example, communication skills are crucial for tech roles collaborating with cross-functional teams. Creativity can be valuable for UX/UI design and content creation. And problem-solving skills can be valuable for troubleshooting and solving technical issues. A report by Burning Glass found that more than half of the most in-demand tech skills are non-technical skills, such as project management and communication.
You don't need a computer science degree to work in tech. The industry is changing rapidly, and many new roles and opportunities are available to people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Many successful people in tech don't have computer science degrees, and transferable skills from other industries can be highly valuable. So don't let the lack of a computer science degree hold you back from pursuing a career in tech.
What skills do you need to succeed in tech without a computer science degree?
To succeed in tech without a computer science degree, there are several skills that you need to have. Firstly, having a growth mindset and being willing to learn is important. The tech industry is constantly evolving, and you need to be open to learning new skills and adapting to change. In fact, according to a report by Udacity, 60% of tech professionals say that they need to learn new skills to stay relevant in their roles continuously.
Another important skill is problem-solving. In tech, you'll face complex problems requiring creative solutions. Employers value candidates who can think critically and approach problems with a solutions-oriented mindset. According to a survey by LinkedIn, problem-solving is one of the top skills employers look for in candidates.
In addition to problem-solving, many other valuable skills can help you succeed in tech. Creativity is crucial for roles like UX/UI design and content creation. According to a survey by Adobe, 74% of employers say creativity is important when hiring for entry-level positions. Communication is also important, as tech roles often involve collaborating with cross-functional teams. A survey by Burning Glass found that communication is one of the top skills demanded by employers across all industries.
Collaboration is another important skill, as tech projects often involve working with teams of developers, designers, and other stakeholders. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, collaboration is one of the top 10 skills that will be in demand by 2025.
To succeed in tech without a computer science degree, you must have a growth mindset and be willing to learn new skills continuously. Strong problem-solving skills and other valuable skills like creativity, communication, and collaboration are also important. Employers highly value these skills and can help you stand out in a competitive job market.
How to gain the skills you need to succeed in tech
If you're interested in working in tech without a computer science degree, you can gain the skills you need in several ways. One option is to take online courses, which can be a convenient and affordable way to learn about different tech aspects. Many reputable platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Codecademy offer courses on everything from web development to data analytics. According to a report by eLearning Industry, the global e-learning market is projected to reach $325 billion by 2025, highlighting the growing popularity of online learning.
Another option is to attend a coding bootcamp, a more immersive and structured way to learn about tech. Coding bootcamps typically offer intensive programs that teach you the skills you need to land a job in tech. According to a survey by Course Report, 80% of coding bootcamp graduates found employment in the tech industry within six months of graduating.
Mentorship can also be a valuable way to gain skills and knowledge in tech. Finding a mentor with experience in your desired field can provide valuable insights and guidance on navigating the industry. According to a Deloitte report, employees with mentors are more likely to feel satisfied with their careers and stay with their employers for longer.
Building a strong network is also important in tech. Attending industry events, joining online communities, and participating in hackathons can help you connect with other professionals in the industry and learn about new opportunities. Practicing your skills by working on personal projects or contributing to open-source projects can also help you showcase your abilities and build your portfolio.
Speaking of portfolios, having a strong portfolio is crucial in the tech industry. Your portfolio should showcase your skills and highlight your best work. Seeking feedback from mentors, peers, and hiring managers can help you improve your work and make your portfolio stand out. According to a survey by Indeed, 63% of employers expect candidates to have a portfolio of their work when applying for a job in tech.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in product design, you may find our previous article on 'How To Create a Product Design Portfolio That Stands Out: Tips and Examples' valuable. It provides insights, tips, and examples to help you craft a compelling portfolio that grabs attention. By combining the skills you learn with a well-curated portfolio, you can truly stand out in the competitive tech industry.
Gaining the skills you need to succeed in tech without a computer science degree is possible. Online courses, coding bootcamps, and mentorship can help you learn about tech while building a strong network and portfolio can help you showcase your skills and stand out to potential employers. Remember to stay curious and open to learning as the tech industry evolves.
How to break into the tech industry without a computer science degree
Breaking into the tech industry without a computer science degree can seem daunting, but many entry points are available. One option is to pursue internships or apprenticeships, which can provide valuable hands-on experience and allow you to learn from professionals in the industry. Many tech companies offer internships and apprenticeships, so it's important to research and apply for these opportunities early. According to a survey by NACE, 61.9% of interns are offered full-time positions, making internships a valuable stepping stone to a career in tech.
A person networking or participating in a mentorship program
Entry-level positions can also be a great way to get your foot in the door of the tech industry. These positions may not require a computer science degree but instead may focus on other skills such as customer support, marketing, or project management. Starting an entry-level position can allow you to learn about the industry and develop new skills while working alongside experienced professionals.
Networking is also important when breaking into the tech industry. Attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and connecting with others on LinkedIn can help you build relationships with professionals in the industry. These connections can provide valuable insights and opportunities, such as job openings and referrals. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.
It's also important to be persistent and continue learning and growing. The tech industry is constantly evolving, so staying current on new technologies and trends is important. Taking courses, attending conferences, and participating in online communities can help you stay informed and continue to develop your skills. Employers are often looking for candidates who are passionate about learning and growing, so demonstrating a willingness to learn can set you apart from other applicants.
Breaking into the tech industry without a computer science degree is possible with persistence, networking, and a willingness to learn. Pursuing internships or apprenticeships, starting in entry-level positions, and networking with professionals in the industry can all help you get your foot in the door. Remember to stay curious and continue to develop your skills, as the tech industry is constantly changing.
Success stories of people who built a tech career without a computer science degree
Erica Baker: Erica started her career in the tech industry as a receptionist, but with her strong problem-solving skills and passion for technology, she worked her way up to become an engineering manager at Microsoft. Erica attributes her success to her ability to learn quickly and her willingness to take on new challenges. She also believes that her customer service and support background helped her develop empathy for users and a user-centered approach to problem-solving.
Adeo Ressi: Adeo Ressi started his career as an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry but eventually transitioned into the tech industry by co-founding TheFunded.com, a website that provided resources and information for entrepreneurs. Adeo's entrepreneurial experience gave him valuable insights into startup challenges and helped him develop a strong network of contacts in the tech industry. He founded the Founder Institute, a global startup accelerator, and has been involved in the launch of over 3,500 companies.
Shaan Puri: Shaan Puri started his journalism career but eventually transitioned into the tech industry by co-founding Bebo, a social networking site. Despite not having a computer science degree, Shaan built a successful tech career by leveraging his storytelling and user experience design skills. He later sold Bebo for $850 million and went on to found multiple other startups, including Monkey Inferno, a product studio that creates and launches new companies.
These success stories show that it's possible to build a successful career in tech without a computer science degree. By leveraging their unique backgrounds and skills, these individuals were able to succeed in the tech industry and make a significant impact. Many transferable skills can be valuable in the tech industry, whether it's problem-solving skills, entrepreneurship experience, or storytelling abilities.
As the famous inventor Thomas Edison once said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Keep going if you're passionate about working in tech but don't have a computer science degree. The industry is constantly evolving, and there are more opportunities than ever before for individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets to succeed.
Whether you're just starting or looking to pivot your career, there are plenty of ways to gain the skills and experience you need to enter the tech industry. From online courses and coding bootcamps to mentorship and networking, countless resources are available to help you succeed.
Suppose you're looking for a structured, supportive way to build your skills and break into the tech industry. Consider joining the YouCreate Africa bootcamp. This program offers mindset reskilling, fully funded enrolment, tutoring and mentorship by industry giants, and career opportunities post-camp. You can build a successful tech career without a computer science degree with determination and the right resources.