Top Job Skills You Can Learn Without a College Degree

Top Job Skills Without College

As the economy diversifies, so do the choices you face when you're preparing to enter the workforce. A four-year degree is no longer a must for many lucrative positions, nor is it an automatic ticket to career success. And with the cost of a traditional college education continuing to rise, student loans are becoming more of a burden, as well.

In short, it pays to look around at the growing number of alternatives that can jump-start you on a career path. Specialized professions in the culinary arts, sewing, carpentry, and money management (everything from credit to budgeting to investing) offer a wealth of opportunities through affordable certificate programs and apprenticeships.

But nowhere are the opportunities greater than in the IT field, which is good news because you can pursue training and certification in much of this space online. This has become even more crucial during the pandemic, as distance learning has become the norm in many places.

And if you're trying to save money (and who isn't?), here's some good news: There are numerous free online courses to explore, and plenty of places to get started.

Follow these steps to gain real-world expertise without a college degree:

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Top 10 IT Skills In-Demand for 2021

ITCareerFinder breaks down the latest employment and wage data and speaks with technology executives to identify the hottest skill sets of 2021 (and beyond).

Top Technology Skills 2021

Possessing the right combination of technical expertise, soft skills and practical experience can help you impress potential employers and land a high-paying job in one of the fastest growing fields in information technology.

In fact, according to PayScale’s data team, knowledge of high-demand technologies and key fundamentals boosts compensation by 14% to 26%.

If you’re looking to advance your career by acquiring new skills or certifications, here are ten of the hottest areas of technology you may want to consider and the best skills to learn in each:

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Highest Paying IT Degrees

Highest Paying IT Degrees

While money isn’t everything when choosing a career, with the average total cost for a 4-year college degree reaching approximately $122,000, you certainly want to invest in a program that will increase your chances of landing a high-paying job after graduation and foster long-term success.

For many, a degree in information technology is probably your best bet. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, bachelor’s degrees in computer science and engineering lead to the highest salaries. Mathematics and business rank among the top paying fields, too.

Computer and mathematical occupations are expected to grow 12.1 percent between 2019 and 2029 (much faster than the 3.7% growth rate for all occupations) according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And many companies are still hiring for entry-level roles in IT and computer tech, despite the pandemic.

Whether you are already working toward a degree or shopping around for colleges, read on to learn more about the top paying degrees you need to land your dream job in IT.

(Note: Unless otherwise stated, all salaries cited in this post were taken from sites that collect data anonymously from employees.)

Here are the top paying bachelor's degrees in information technology:

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Jobs You Can Get with a Computer Science Degree

ITCareerFinder breaks down the most sought-after information technology jobs you can get with a degree in computer science. Delve into each role for marketable courses and electives, salaries, recommended degree programs and insider tips.

computer science degree jobs

There’s never been a better time than now to pursue a career in IT. The proliferation of emerging technologies in mobile and cloud computing, soaring demand for data science, programming and cyber security skills, and the increased automation (for better or worse) of legacy roles in retail and manufacturing, are just some of the factors driving a golden age for tech employment. There are infinite paths to the IT job of your dreams, but whichever road you choose there’s a good chance that earning a degree in computer science (CS) will be your first step.

CS curricula and the jobs you can land with a computer science degree vary widely, but there are some core subjects shared by most undergraduate computer science programs. The core curriculum in a CS associate or bachelor’s degree typically includes programming and software development, data structures and algorithms, operating systems, and applied mathematics. There are many CS specializations that dive deeper into one or more of these core areas, and plenty of computer science majors designed to prepare you for a specific IT career path. Your personal passions, resources like time and money, and the job you’re shooting for will dictate the computer science program that’s right for you.

The curriculum in a graduate computer science program builds on the undergrad coursework above. Generally, a computer science master’s degree dives deeper into the technical skills you learned as an undergrad, with a greater focus on a specific career track and potential management roles. MBAs in computer science concentrate on the business side of things; here you will learn to use computing skills to set and achieve organizational goals. Doctoral and PhD degrees in computer science tend to focus on research and scientific advancement; these programs are geared toward jobs like computer research scientist and CS professor.

This article will lay out some of the best jobs you can achieve with a computer science diploma (“best” in this case means top-tier salaries, an aggressive hiring forecast, and a high rate of upward mobility). We'll also highlight the courses and electives you should pursue to maximize your job prospects in each role, recommended degree levels, and earnings.

Here are the best jobs you can get with computer science degree:

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How to Future-Proof Your Career in the Digital Age

Future Proof Your Career

The proliferation of IoT technology, artificial intelligence, robotics and the increased automation of routine tasks in the business world is slated to change the professional landscape dramatically in the coming decade and beyond. If you believe your industry or current job role may be left in the dust, you might be wondering how you can future-proof your career for the digital age. There are impactful things you can start doing now to position yourself as a top earner and valuable asset to employers in the years to come, whether you decide to pick up new skills to stay relevant in your current field or change your career into a field like IT, where your growth potential will remain stable for the long haul.

Here are some tips to help you beat the business world to the punch and future-proof your career:

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5 Security Skills Every Cloud App Developer Should Have

Talented cloud application developers are in high demand, but to build secure applications that protect their employer (and job), they need these vital expertise in cloud and server security.

Security Skills for Cloud Developers

The cloud brings enterprise-grade infrastructure within reach of every application developer. High-quality databases, frameworks, and tooling are freely available, making it easier than ever before to build powerful, custom applications. But building an app and securing it are not the same thing. Developers must also have a solid understanding of the security issues their app is likely to face.

Here are 5 skill sets developers need to build secure, cloud-based applications:

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Top 5 Cyber Security Skills Needed in 2018

Hot Cyber Security Skills 2018

As the frequency and severity of cyber attacks continues to rise, organizations are coming face to face with the looming danger of a data breach. However, boosting security budgets is not nearly enough to protect against today's increasingly sophisticated attacks. To truly combat the myriad threats in cyberspace, organizations must hire, train and retain cyber security professionals with the skills needed to stay ahead of the hackers.

Here are five skill sets that information security hiring managers are looking for in 2018, and beyond:

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Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs

Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs

Data breaches happen so often that it’s easy to gloss over the headlines, but the fallout is much harder for companies to ignore: hacks are not just embarrassing, but can lead to serious financial and reputational damage. So, it’s not surprising that there’s high demand for cyber security professionals, and that those who are up to the task are generously compensated. In fact, Computerworld reported that cyber security was the third most highly sought-after skill (right behind app development and tech support), according to managers who planned to expand their IT staff in 2017. In the same report, John Reed, the senior executive director of IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology, pointed out that many companies regularly have vacancies due to their inability to find suitable candidates.

Not only are cyber security skills in peak demand, but according to Computerworld’s 2017 IT Salary Survey Results, security is the third highest-paying IT specialty (after cloud computing and ERP) . But not all cyber-sec jobs pay the same. A handful of positions stand above the rest, at least in terms of compensation.

Here are some of the highest paying cyber security jobs:

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