In the past, a university degree was the gold standard for landing a job in information technology. As more and more people entered the tech field, companies realized that employees with lived experience and technical certificates could make for high-potential team members.
Thanks to the professional standards in the IT field, it is possible to break into the industry without a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.[toc]
Can you get into IT with just certifications?
According to data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-quarter of employees in the IT field did not hold a university degree. Google reports that there are 1.3 million jobs available across their certification specialties and that 82% of certification graduates report positive career impacts.
These statistics show a favorable turn towards hiring entry-level employees without a 4-year degree in the job market.
Not only are there plenty of job opportunities for certificate holders, but the average income levels are high enough to live comfortably. Google states that the average entry-level salary for certification fields is $63,600 per year for their recent graduates.
Types of Jobs You Can Get Even With Entry-Level Certification
Help desk technician
Help desk technicians are in high demand. Nearly every company providing online services requires some sort of customer support specialist. Help desk technicians help diagnose issues, install software updates, back up data, and help restore data. They often work at a data center.
There are two widely recognized paths to landing a career as a help desk technician. CompTIA’s A+ Core Series certification requires you to pass two exams for certification for $232 per exam. It prepares students for careers with companies using A+ software, including Dell, Intel, and HP.
They state that these certifications can help you get hired in the technology, finance, retail, and energy sectors. Google also maintains an employer consortium, linking potential employees with over 150 businesses that accept Google certifications.
IT technician certifications are well recognized by companies. Several certification programs will allow you to apply for IT technician roles.
The Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) program trains you to diagnose problems, maintain, repair, and service Cisco products.Cisco also offers the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) program.
This certification covers network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, network security, automation, and programmability. There is a required certification exam for $300.
Google leads in web development IT certifications. The UX Design Certification boasts an average salary of $58,600, and Google believes that there are currently more than 113,000 jobs available in this area.
The Associate Android Developer Certification is focused on app development for mobile devices. It provides a median salary of nearly $82,000 annually, and there are 35,900 jobs available in this field.
There is a certification exam, and you receive a badge that you can add to your resume. You are also listed in the official directory of Google Developers that work with mobile devices.
Operating systems administrator
There are many beneficial systems administrator certifications, and you don’t have to stick with just one. Having varied experiences across operating systems is valuable and will allow you to widen your job search.
The IT Systems Administrator Certificate provided by ICOHS College prepares students to develop the technical and professional skills needed to install, manage, and troubleshoot software in today’s market.
Another popular certification is by Red Hat (RHCE). They offer several certifications, but the most beneficial for entry-level applicants is the Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack.
Microsoft offers Azure certifications, so you can choose based on your level of experience and preferred career path. You can begin with the Azure Fundamentals program and then work your way up to the Architect certification.
Of course, Google leads in this area with the Google Cloud certification. They offer a learning path with various exams and certifications up to the many Google Cloud Professional designations.
When it comes to systems analyst certifications, CompTIA remains the more favorable choice. While not necessarily required, employers tend to prefer applications with these certifications. The accreditation prepares recipients for several opportunities in this field.
You can begin with their CompTIA A+ certificate and CompTIA Security+ certifications and then move into CompTIA CySA+ and CASP+.
Systems analyst positions tend to rely heavily on personal experience rather than one specific certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Systems Analysts make upwards of $93,000 per year.
There are two general paths to getting hired for a database administrator job. While there are several certifications available, two of the most recognized come from Oracle and Microsoft.
Oracle offers everything right from a fundamentals certification to a path to becoming an Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional. They also offer certificates in MySQL Database Administration and MySQL Database Developer.
Microsoft also offers the Microsoft Certified Azure Database Administrator Associate certification. They provide courses that prepare you to write the DP-300 Administering Relational Databases on the Microsoft Azure exam. The exam fee is $165.
Site reliability engineer
There are several options for certification to become a site reliability engineer. One of the most popular is the Cloud DevOps Engineer learning path through Google.
The training consists of four courses: Google Cloud Fundamentals, Developing a Google SRE Culture, Architecting With Google Cloud, and Logging, Monitoring, and Observability in Google Cloud.
You also need to complete three skills badges: Perform Foundational Infrastructure Tasks in Google Cloud, Implement DevOps in Google Cloud, and Monitor and Log with Google Cloud Operations Suite. These classes and skills badges involve completing 13 labs. After completing these tasks, there is an exam fee of $200.
For software development positions, it is a good idea to follow CompTIA’s education path. They offer a CompTIA ITF+ certificate covering IT fundamentals, software development, database, and security fundamentals.
They recommend that you continue with Google Cloud certification, Red Hat (Administrator (RHCSA), Engineer (RHCE), or Architect (RHCA)), and Microsoft Fundamental, Associate, or Expert certificates.
Information security analyst
Cybersecurity and access management is a rapidly growing industry, and there are ongoing education programs available. Information security programs are varied, so you can choose which one serves your needs the best.
CompTIA once again comes out on top with their Security + certification. They provide comprehensive training materials to prepare you to write the SY0-501 and SYo-601 exams, both compliant with ISO 17024 standards. The certificate requires an exam with a $370 exam fee.
ISACA also has a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification that is a fantastic option. They state that they have certified over 46,000 people and that the average income is $118,000 a year.
They provide comprehensive training materials in security operations, including an online training platform and live prep classes with an instructor for the exam.
Why IT certifications can get you a job without a degree
IT certifications are becoming more and more popular every year. As people realize that they can earn a decent living without accumulating a mountain of debt, the appeal of certifications continues to grow. Many employers are hiring people with entry-level certification from a community college or technical school.
IT has a universal standard
Luckily, IT has a universal standard, so the skills learned across certifications and degrees are often similar. Due to being highly skill-based, hiring managers welcome employees who have the hands-on experience to successfully complete the job.
IT is skill-based
Companies are beginning to recognize that hiring skilled employees passionate about their jobs is more beneficial than a recent graduate who spent four years learning theory. The vast amount of networking opportunities are also helpful in entering a new career.
IT is highly specialized and often requires upgrading your education to remain certified. Students who completed their exams several years ago must remain proactive in developing their skills. In this particular field, there is high demand for professional certification.
Tips for getting into IT with zero experience
If you are worried about jumping into the industry without much experience, know that you are not alone. There are plenty of crossover skills that you can apply to a resume that will make you desirable in this competitive industry.
Apply your past experience
It is essential to re-examine and apply your experience to the industry. These are all important skills to highlight if you have experience with project management, risk identification, incident response, or risk management.
Data analytics, operational procedures, windows server administration, or accounting certifications can help give you the skills needed for IT career options.
Networking is vital in the IT industry, and many people are hired for entry-level jobs due to word-of-mouth recommendations. Once you get your foot in the door, you can consider the right program and complete a specialized credential.
Teach yourself relevant skills
Always be willing to teach yourself relevant tech skills. Any proof of self-taught knowledge will show hiring managers that you are a self-starter and serious about progressing in your field.
Be willing to start at the bottom
Of course, always be willing to start at the bottom. Luckily, in the tech industry, even entry-level jobs provide decent wages.
People also tend to climb the ladder quickly as they develop the knowledge and skills necessary for high-paying positions. You can always earn another certificate to continue your career advancement.
Are Google certifications valuable?
As people explore options beyond a bachelor’s degree, one of the first certifications they come across is Google professional certificates.
While these certificates are new on the market, Google offers some of the top certifications, and they sometimes meet the requirements of a professional organization.
These programs generally require a high school diploma and then provide the hands-on experience you need.
For example, Google’s professional certificate in Project Management meets the project management education requirements for the Project Management Institute. This allows you to write the CAPM exam, a highly regarded credential for project management careers.
Which certification course is best for an IT job?
This all depends on your interests and experience. There are so many programs available to begin your career in IT, so any certificate you earn can help advance your career. You usually have to prove your knowledge in a certification exam, so there are many paths to the same career.
What certification pays the most?
The Google-Certified Professional Cloud Architect ranks highest in income. Glassdoor states that this career path can earn around $137,265 per year. Cloud computing is in high demand, although this certification takes a bit longer than some others.
What are the quickest certifications?
Many of the certifications talked about in this article can be earned in 3-4 months. Many CompTIA programs allow for quick certification, as do AWS and Microsoft.
Whether you have a high school diploma or associate’s degree, you can continue your education in the IT world by completing a certificate and writing an exam.
Becoming certified is easier than ever, and many of these certifications give you the knowledge to advance your career rapidly.
ICOHS College offers a range of certificate programs and Bootcamps including:
Scholarships and title IV funding are also available to help students cover tuition costs. Speak to one of our representatives at (858) 581-9460 for more information on financial assistance or reach out over email.