10 Jobs Requiring Little Formal Education

10 Jobs Requiring Little Formal Education

The technology industry offers many lucrative career paths without requiring years of higher education. While degrees and certifications can help advance your career over time, they are not strictly necessary in the early stages for several tech roles.

Here are 10 beginner-friendly tech jobs you can land with just a high school diploma, associate’s degree, vocational certificate, or even no college if you have the right experience.

Web Designer

Web designers create aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly websites for companies, organizations, and individuals. They utilize knowledge of graphic design principles, interface psychology, and web development coding languages to build responsive, functional websites tailored to client’s needs and brand identities.

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While many web designers complete bachelor’s degree programs in web design, graphic design, or communications, you can enter this career with just an associate’s degree or certificate from a vocational web design program.

Exceptional self-taught designers with strong portfolios of work can also qualify without higher education credentials.

Knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, and other common web design tools is essential regardless of your educational background.

As a web designer, you’ll collaborate with clients to understand project goals, map out site architecture, create visual elements like graphics and page layouts, write and edit copy, and continuously test and improve site functionality before launch. The national median salary for web designers is $50,607 per year.

Computer Support Specialist / Help Desk Technician

Also referred to as technical support specialists, computer support specialists assist computer users experiencing hardware, software, or other tech-related issues.

Responsibilities include diagnosing problems, walking users through solutions, installing and upgrading software, building and fixing laptops and computers, offering tech tips and recommendations, and managing service requests.

While some employers prefer candidates with associate’s degrees in information technology (IT) or computer science, it’s possible to get entry-level computer support jobs with just a high school diploma and outstanding customer service orientation. Strong reasoning, critical thinking, and communication skills are vital.

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Familiarity with troubleshooting common OS, network, and computer issues is also key. The median pay for computer support specialists is $61,009 per year.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write and test code to construct software programs, applications, databases, and websites. They utilize programming languages like C++, Java, Python, SQL, JavaScript, and more to create operating instructions that allow computer systems to generate specific outputs and perform desired functions.

Entry-level programmers can land jobs with associate’s degrees, but exceptional programmers may qualify for roles with just a high school diploma and outstanding coding work samples.

In addition to advanced expertise in multiple programming languages, computer programmers need strong math, analytical, troubleshooting, and communication abilities.

They must be able to understand client requirements and specifications, develop logic to meet objectives, test programs thoroughly to identify needed fixes, and interpret data output. The average salary for computer programmers is $61,835 annually.

Multimedia Artist

Multimedia artists utilize technology and artistic abilities to create animations, video games, movies, TV productions, digital advertisements, website content, augmented and virtual reality experiences, and more.

They often sketch initial concepts by hand and bring them to life through 3D modeling, 2D and 3D animation, visual effects, compositing, illustration, photography, and other digital art techniques.

While multimedia artists commonly complete bachelor’s degrees in animation, game art, visual effects, or graphic design, exceptional self-taught artists can find work with just high school diplomas and exceptional portfolios.

Associate’s degrees or certificates in relevant areas like multimedia production, graphic design, or animation can also help artists qualify for entry-level jobs and build foundational skills. Expertise with Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk Maya, Blender, Unity, Unreal Engine, and similar programs is vital. The median salary is $58,690 per year.

IT Technician / Field Technician

IT technicians install and repair computer systems, hardware components like servers and routers, peripherals like printers and scanners, networking equipment, and other tech within office environments.

They also troubleshoot problems with computer equipment and provide technical support to organizations as needed.

While some advanced IT tech roles require bachelor’s degrees in information technology (IT) or computer science, entry-level IT technicians can get by with just associate’s degrees or certificate programs in relevant areas like computer repair, system administration, and networking.

However, technician jobs also regularly go to those with exceptional computer skills developed outside higher education. Strong mechanical aptitude, communication abilities, and customer service skills also help. The average IT technician salary is $69,605 per year.

Web Content Manager / Digital Content Creator

Web content managers, also called online content creators or digital content strategists, write, edit, and publish website copy, blog posts, social captions, digital newsletters, and other online content.

They craft engaging text tailored to brands’ identities and target audiences across platforms. Web content managers additionally collaborate with teams to ideate content ideas, outline editorial calendars and production workflows, track analytics to guide strategy, and set publication policies and standards.

Relevant associate’s degrees in communications, journalism, or marketing can help content creators qualify for work, but exceptional writing skills take precedence in hiring. Standout candidates demonstrate these abilities through writing samples published on blogs, websites, or social media accounts. Strong communication talents are also vital. The average salary for web content managers is $67,075 annually.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist

SEO specialists improve websites’ visibility and search engine rankings through technical efforts like cleaning up code, adjusting site architecture, and incorporating relevant metadata and keywords.

They also create optimized text and graphic content to attract visitors from search engines like Google organically. While knowledge of website development, internet marketing, and analytics helps, you can break into SEO without a marketing or tech degree.

Ideal candidates have sharp analytical minds, research skills, communication abilities, and intrinsic motivation to stay on top of constant algorithm changes. Certificates in areas like Search Engine Optimization, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and HubSpot help demonstrate core competencies as well. The average salary for SEO specialists is $60,132 per year.

Data Entry Clerk

Data entry clerks input large volumes of information into databases and spreadsheets quickly and accurately. The data they enter might include numbers, records, transactions, survey responses, etc.

Data entry roles rarely require formal education beyond a high school diploma or GED. However, experience with administrative software, database programs, bookkeeping applications, and MS Excel helps qualify candidates.

Above all, data entry clerks need extraordinary focus, perseverance, and commitment to quality in their work. Meticulous attention to detail and comfort in performing repetitive tasks for prolonged periods is vital. The average annual pay for data entry clerks is $35,569 per year.

Customer Service Representative

Customer service representatives (CSRs) address client and customer questions, concerns, complaints, and requests across phone, email, chat, and social media.

They provide product recommendations and technical support, process orders and payments, rectify issues to improve experiences, and foster loyalty and trust through positive interactions.

While some employers want candidates with college coursework or vocational certificates, exceptional CSRs can get jobs with just high school diplomas and outstanding communication talents. Knowledge of associated products, services, tools, and systems is preferred. Median pay averages $39,677 annually.

Computer Hardware Technician

Computer hardware techs install, configure, repair, upgrade, and maintain computers, servers, peripherals like printers and scanners, networking equipment like routers and switches, and other hardware. They perform physical troubleshooting to diagnose issues, replace broken components, and ensure optimal performance.

Exceptional hardware technicians can find work with just a high school education. However, many employers prefer associate’s degrees or certificates in computer repair, electronics, system administration, networking, or IT.

Manual dexterity skills, physical stamina, mechanical aptitude, problem-solving, and communication abilities are also important. Their average salary is $55,220 per year.

With drive and perseverance, you can break into numerous tech roles without years of college through exceptional skills, vocational credentials, entry-level work, and self-teaching. These jobs can establish careers and provide pathways for advancement.

Conclusion

Getting started in the tech industry does not necessarily require extensive formal education right away. While degrees and certifications often help professionals advance later, quite a few beginner-level tech jobs are attainable for dedicated high school graduates.

These roles allow passionate individuals to gain practical abilities on the job, establish their competencies, get introduced to workplace cultures, and start developing specialties, leading to more advanced positions.

With exceptional effort and the right credentials—whether from vocational programs, self-study, or hands-on experience—it’s possible to break into careers like web design, IT support, computer programming, digital content creation, and more.

Once in the door at entry level, tech professionals can better chart paths toward higher-paying leadership roles aligned with their interests over time.

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