How to go far in Tech without going back to school

There are numerous possibilities to upskill in tech without going back to school. (StockSnap)

To improve your skills and knowledge without wasting time in a classroom, you can try any of these CV-boosting tricks to excel in the tech industry.

The tech industry is exploding, and opportunities in tech are growing faster than in any other job market. For people who are already in the tech field, now is an excellent time to move up the career ladder. But for some, that might mean going back to school, and few can stand to devote years to gain an advanced degree, especially if they aren’t looking to jump ship on their current career path.

Fortunately, tech is one of those rare fields where formal education isn’t always necessary. In fact, some of the biggest movers and shakers in tech - Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few - never even graduated with a bachelor’s degree. To improve your skills and knowledge without wasting time in a classroom, you can try any of these CV-boosting tricks to excel in the tech industry.

Choose the Correct Career Path

It is true that tech offers more opportunities for the informally educated than most fields, but that doesn’t mean every tech job will accommodate a self-starter. While a large percentage of careers within tech are accessible without a degree, a handful definitely requires specific training programs and certifications. Therefore, it is important that you understand which career paths will accept that you aren’t going back to school.

Typically, you will be safe applying for any job that contains the words “specialist” or “analyst.” Though these terms might seem impressive, they are more often closer to entry-level positions. For example, cybersecurity analysts (who make upwards of R178 500 per year in salary) essentially manage day-to-day security tasks, like monitoring network settings and reviewing logs.

Conversely, jobs you should avoid until you have more experience in the field tend to sound more technical. Any position that boasts the words “developer,” “engineer,” or “scientist” is best filled by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in tech or years of relevant experience. Though these positions tend to pay substantially more, you won’t be prepared for the skills and responsibility they require until you earn more tech cred.

Stay Updated on Tech News Try Online Courses

Though it’s true to some extent in every industry, it is particularly true in tech, where new developments come fast and frequently: You need to read the news. Fortunately, plenty of highly respected tech news sources are online and free. While you are finding your feet in tech and throughout your career, you should regularly check in with these reliable sources for tech stories:

·         TechCrunch

·         CNET

·         Fin24 Tech

Try Online Courses

There is an important distinction between online classes and online degree programs. In the latter, you are committing to several hours of study every week for years; in the former, you watch a few videos to learn about a particular topic and perhaps earn certifications that can help in your career.

Learn new tech skills in just a few weeks with Udemy

Sources for online courses vary from universities to specialised sites to YouTube, and their topics vary as well. If you have almost no tech experience, you might want to start off with free YouTube video courses covering tech support basics. Meanwhile, if you have some tech knowledge, want to keep learning or want to start working on valuable, relevant certifications, you can dive into the deep end and consult sites like Udemy, Educate24 or you can get a relevant certification, like CCNP by taking a Cisco switch course. You can learn almost anything about tech from informational videos as long as you pay attention.

Play Games

It’s nearly impossible to understand tech concepts without practice, and fortunately, there are a number of fun and educational ways to engage with tech. Some of the most promising practice tools are games, and though it might feel foolish to play them, many education experts proclaim that play is one of the best ways to learn. To that end, you might devote a few hours to the following tech games:

·         Code Combat

·         Codemancer

·         Hack n Slash

Assume More High-Tech Responsibilities

While you are bolstering your knowledge of tech, you can also work to include tech-related accomplishments on your resume by asking for tech responsibilities at your current job. Every workplace relies on some type of tech, and interacting with that tech in any way will establish a familiarity that is vital in tech fields. For example, you might ask to take over the social media or blogging duties for your current employer, or you can offer your hand whenever a co-worker requires tech support. Then, when you apply for tech positions, you can draw on real experiences handling tech.