The technology and engineering sector is filled with job opportunities that promise an impressive paycheck, challenging projects, and upward career mobility. It’s understandable why so many people are clamoring for a spot within the field. Thankfully, many businesses within the industry are on the lookout fresh talent. However, since this is a very technical line of work, in order to succeed one must be proficient in programming languages, science, and mathematics. Most people believe that they can only break into this business with an undergraduate degree and specialization, but that’s not necessarily true.
While certain soft skills and relevant technical knowledge are still required, there other ways to acquire them that don’t involve a four-year undergraduate degree or master’s degree. Regardless of your educational and professional background, it’s possible to enter the tech and engineering industry. You may need to work twice as hard to get the necessary credentials and skills needed to be successful in the field, but a career in this field without a relevant degree definitely isn’t out of the question, despite what people say.
Here are some strategies to help you break into this field without an engineering or computer science degree.
Apply for jobs that don’t require a degree
There are certain positions in various fields that still utilize engineering or tech, but don’t require you to have a degree to apply for these jobs. You can leverage the experience and knowledge that you already acquired in your industry and look for tech and engineering-related jobs there. For example, if you’re in the field of business, you can look into buying a hydraulic hose franchise or if you’re a teacher, then perhaps you can implement the use of tablets in your classes. With a background in fashion, you can create wearable technology. There’s plenty of ways to enter the business without doing a complete 180-degree turn on your current profession.
Sign up for online certifications and boot camps
It’s possible to pick up virtually any skill under the sun through the internet. Online certification courses and coding boot camps are specifically designed to give you all the necessary resources and knowledge you need to succeed in this field. With so many classes at your disposal, you can even find a specialized job in something you might not have even realized existed within the industry.
Network with experienced professionals
Hop on LinkedIn and take note of all the people who have the ideal jobs that you want to have, then hit them up and offer to buy them a coffee in exchange for some career advice. They may even agree to be your mentor if they like you enough. You don’t even need to actually reach out to them to glean some inspiration for how you want to enter the industry. All you need to do is take a look at the paths these individuals took that led them to where they are now, then base your professional journey on that. Conventions and meet-ups are also great places to meet up with a variety of professionals from every corner of the engineering and tech industry.
Work on your interview skills
No matter how many skills you acquire and how much experience you build up in your desired industry, you won’t be securing those coveted job offers if you don’t ace the job interview first. Besides working on your technical skills, it’s important to improve your interview skills too. It’s especially important if you’re entering the field from a different industry since you’ll need to work harder to prove yourself worthy of the job compared to people who got a head start with their university degree.
Apply for internships and volunteering opportunities
Internships and volunteering opportunities are excellent ways to gain experience, showcase your skills, and build your network. They’re typically unpaid, but there are also paid jobs, you just need to be diligent about looking for them. Your employment history and educational background doesn’t matter when volunteering, although it may factor into an internship, but usually, recruiters are more forgiving if you come from a different industry and don’t have the proper training yet.
Take on a side hustle
In this current economic climate, it’s unwise to leave behind the safety and security of your regular job without having another one immediately lined up, especially if you’re entering an unfamiliar industry. The solution to this is taking on a side hustle that allows you to showcase your tech and engineering skills. Not only will you be able to build a portfolio that you can show off to prospective employers, but you’ll also get to earn extra money.
The tech and engineering industry might be a tough one to break into, but doing so isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. These strategies are sure to make the transition a lot easier.