Career Advice

Careers For Applicants With No College Degree!

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By: Guest Author
Apr 28, 2021 • 6 min read

Career options you can go after without a 4-year college degree.

We are living in the era of mass digitization boosted by technological progress. The circumstances created by COVID-19 and lockdowns caused businesses to go remote. Remote work is still ongoing one year after the pandemic started. It had a negative impact on the world economy in general, and many small businesses haven’t made it through. This has left former employees without the means to survive, and students have been impacted, too. This has made many become curious about possible careers one can pursue with no college degree.

Regardless of the reason, be it either recovery from the lost workplace or just a desire to try a different career, you may face the situation when you don’t have a degree at all. Or, your specialization does not correspond to your career pursues. Both of these factors may stop you from searching for a new job. 

Luckily, the Internet offers plenty of learning options for those who are eager to master a new profession. Many of those that are in high demand now do not require you to go to college, take out student loans, or dedicate 3-4 years to graduate and finally receive the desired diploma. Depending on your previous background and the new aims, it may only take a few weeks to master skills to land a new job.

So here we go with the top career options you can pursue if you have been laid off or are just entering the workforce. No college degree needed!

no college degree

Project manager 

A project manager is a person who is responsible for leading projects in different spheres from the initial stage of planning to the end, including the control of separate stages, communication between the stakeholders, and team members making sure that the final result corresponds to the initial business requirements. It also includes budget calculation and deadline monitoring. 

To become a project manager, you will need to undergo training for project management professionals (PMP) and learn the basics of the most common project methodologies like Waterfall or Agile (including the peculiarities of Scrum and Kanban that are most widely used in project management. 

Other hard skills include getting acquainted with the risk assessment and their mitigation, as well as properly calculating time and available resources to be able to manage the project scope and guarantee positive results. Among the soft skills, excellent communication skills, conflict management, decision making, and desire to take the responsibilities will lead you through the way. 

Software developer

While it’s beneficial to have an education in Computer science to pursue a career in software engineering, it’s hard to decide right away if it’s your path before you have some practical experience. Technologies will never stop developing. You will have to constantly improve your skills, and something that was valid several years ago will not be applicable in the future. As new programming languages and frameworks are constantly changing one another. That’s why the experience and desire to learn can replace formal education in many cases. 

The first step here is to decide on the direction. The most common specialties are frontend development, where you code the look and feel of the website. Backend where you will need to take care of the application logic and build APIs to make the front-end functional working as expected. Or, maybe full-stack that combines the responsibilities of front- and backend in one position.

Then goes the choice of a programming language depending on the chosen direction and continuing education. It includes attending different courses that are available both online and offline, boot camps, and pet projects before you can seek internships or trainee positions.

man writing on paper in front of DSLR

Designer – No college degree needed 

When it comes to web-design opportunities, you also have several options here: design web interfaces and user flows to ensure that it’s intuitive for a user to operate the application choosing the career of UX/UI designer. You can also develop characters for games by becoming a Game Designer. 

Another option is to put focus on making visuals for websites and brands as a brand illustrator. Depending on the specialization, you will need to master the working software like Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, or Blender, develop creativity and aesthetic vision, and last but not least, regularly update your designer portfolio because it will serve as your business card and reflect your professional style. 

The design is always subjective, so including your works will help you to find clients who share your views. When you start from scratch, it may take a while to find the first client and learn the skills, but if you are determined, success will eventually find you.   

If being fluent in the technologies is not about you or you don’t have any previous background, don’t worry. There are still plenty of other options you may consider:

Usability tester

If you have an eye for detail, and keeping all the flows and observations documented does not scare you, it’s possible to choose the career of a user acceptance tester and help developers assess the application from the user standpoint. Here you need to follow prescripted scenarios on a website or an application, record your screens and describe bugs, defects, and other difficulties you met on your way, as well as share your personal impressions on using the software. 

There are many online services like usercrowd.com that allow you to start testing right away after the registration. With time and experience, you may want to pursue the career of a quality assurance specialist with developing the use-case scenario flows, handling bug reports, and later consider a career in automation to write scripts that will be testing flows without human intervention, if it clicks with you.

no college degree 

Customer support agent

This is one of the most popular jobs on the market. Almost any online business requires customer support representatives! To get a job in this sphere, you need to have empathy, a desire to help, great communication skills, and basic PC understanding to know how to work with the support systems. 

All other business-specific responsibilities are usually taught during the onboarding period. Every company has its own peculiarities, scripts, and policies that are internal. That’s why it’s not possible to learn them in advance. 

Support agents can provide assistance via chat, phone, or email, sometimes combine these methods. The main responsibilities include processing support requests from existing and potential clients, assistance with troubleshooting issues that may occur in the process of using the service, and processing complaints trying to save the customer. 

It’s more than possible to grow in this position, too! You can get promoted to a supervisor, shift leader, coach, and even department manager.

Blogger

There are no limitations in starting a blog and turning this hobby into a thriving business. It’s possible to start a blog regardless of your age, profession, or interests. The first thing to consider is choosing a niche. Lifestyle, beauty, and fitness blogs are some of the most popular options. 

Then, you will need to learn marketing and decide on the platform. It’s also advisable to research the peculiarities of a platform you choose for blogging by observing the trends and the leaders. This will help you find the patterns in their posting! See what you can borrow for your blog to attract more traffic so you can start making money on it. There are several strategies in blog monetization, including paid sponsorship, ads integration in videos, and referral program bonuses. 

There may be some drawbacks to becoming a popular blogger. You must be prepared to get excessive attention and the occasional comments from haters. However, the benefits like boosting your self-esteem and getting to be creative significantly outweigh the negative aspects. 

no college degree

Social media manager

If sharing the details of your personal life or expert opinions is not for you, you still can make money on social media producing the content for others. Social media managers are responsible for handling communication on behalf of a brand or a blogger. Responsibilities include creating a content plan, discussing partnership conditions, publishing, writing posts, and responding to comments or inquiries. If you are managing the commercial page, the main efforts should be put on increasing brand awareness and attracting sales. So, marketing skills are a must for this position. 

Copywriter

If you are the master of letters, you can monetize this skill by becoming a copywriter. With the shift to online many businesses are building their online presence and require content. That’s why copywriting services are in demand. 

The range of copywriting activities is versatile. You might create marketing newsletters, blog posts, product descriptions, or reviews. You don’t have to worry about being bored in this job! 

The main skills required to become a copywriter are perfect language command, the ability to make quality research and dive deep into a new sphere you need to write about, as well as storytelling, a bit of marketing, and for sure time-management to submit works before the deadline. 

Virtual assistant

Another job that does not require a degree is a virtual assistant. Responsibilities include scheduling appointments, taking meeting minutes, booking tickets, and doing other routine tasks. This is one of the most collaborative careers that require no college degree! 

To be able to perform the duties of a virtual assistant, you have to be super organized. Keeping a calendar can help to remind your boss to send birthday greetings to their partners, friends, and relatives.

It will be a plus to know how to work with the most commonly used Google apps. This includes Spreadsheets, Docs, and Slides. These tools can significantly simplify your everyday duties! 

no college degree

No college degree? No problem.

Almost all of the abovementioned professions are available full-time or as a freelance opportunity. So, if you want something new, you can start with one-time projects and quit the current job when you are ready. It does not mean that if the job does not require a degree, you will have fewer opportunities for personal development or have to accept lower wages. It’s quite the contrary, as some of the professions are much better paid. This is especially true when it comes to web development. Entry jobs salaries start from $58K per year and grow to $111K per year for senior positions on average, according to Glassdoor.

There are good earnings in the blogging sphere where just one big contract or ad integration can exceed the amount that equals several months of income. The job market is undergoing drastic changes these days. Technologies make some positions obsolete or automated. At the same time, new opportunities are created, and traditional education сannot always keep this pace to prepare specialists in the new fields. We predict the list of the most popular professions that do not require a degree will definitely grow! As a result, you will have more career flexibility and room for exploration. 

What are some of your favorite positions that require no college degree? Let us know in the comments down below!

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