8 Low-Stress Tech Jobs Without a Degree

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  • Employers are bypassing academic requirements due to the critical IT skills gap.
  • Data scientist roles may offer the highest pay for tech jobs without a degree.
  • Reasonable workloads and consistent expectations translate to low-stress tech jobs.

For many people, high-tech jobs are synonymous with stress. They envision the programmer rapidly coding with a cup of coffee or an energy drink within hand's reach.

Others get excited about the possibilities in the ever-changing world of technology but don't want to spend four years earning the required degree.

The good news is that not all IT jobs are stressful, and you can find good tech jobs that don't require a degree. You can even find high-paying tech jobs with little experience. Keep reading to find out how.

How to Get a Job in Tech Without a Degree

Today, technology has a foothold in almost every industry, driving change with continual advancements. This continued innovation creates a high demand for employees with tech skills.

According to Gartner, critical IT skills shortages are found across the global business community. One Gartner survey found that IT executives believe the talent shortage is the most significant barrier to adopting 64% of the emerging technologies.

To close this skills gap, organizations are turning to skills-based hiring and bypassing academic requirements. Instead of requiring candidates to hold a bachelor's degree, they look for skills acquired through nontraditional means, such as coding bootcamps and IT certificate programs.

Certificate programs tend to focus more on theory and less on practical application. Bootcamps offer intensive job-ready skills training where you learn by doing. In most bootcamps, you'll build a portfolio, which is an essential tool for demonstrating your learned skills to potential employers.

A few of the many tech companies that hire bootcamp grads include Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, and Adobe.

8 Low-Stress Tech Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

Getting that first job can lead to an exciting and lucrative career in tech. The following list offers low-stress, entry-level positions that don't require a degree. The average salary listed is for those early in their career, with just 1-4 years of experience, as reported by Payscale.

1. Junior Web Developer

Junior web developers may start out making simple changes to new websites and applications. They might work with senior developers, learning about more complex features.

Eventually, they create and maintain websites on their own. The average yearly salary for mid-career web developers with 5-9 years of experience is $67,850 as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $60,840

2. Computer Programmer

Computer programmers may begin their career by writing code and programs using languages like Java and C++. They may also update and expand existing programs.

Ultimately, they use their skills to write and test the code for new programs, learning more languages that expand their computer programming skills. Mid-career programmers earn an average wage of $70,900 per year as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $66,290

3. Junior Web Designer

Web designers are responsible for the front-end design, or the look and feel, of a website. They might use Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to create layouts and combine text with graphics, sounds, and video clips.

When starting, they may work with a senior designer. Mid-career designers earn an average wage of $58,020 per year as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $52,370

4. Data Scientist

Companies are bringing in more data than ever before and looking to use it to make informed decisions. Data scientists play a critical role in this goal, collecting, processing, and analyzing this data.

In entry-level jobs, they may start by cleaning and processing. Data scientists with 5-9 years of experience make an average annual salary of $110,850 as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $97,580

5. Technical Writer

A technical writer's daily tasks vary depending on the industry. For example, technical writers may create operating instruction booklets, manuals, or guides.

They may work with experienced writers or act as research assistants when starting out. Mid-career writers earn an average wage of $67,130 per year as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $62,000

6. Graphic Design

Graphic designers use computer software to develop the layout and design for brochures, magazines, advertisements, and other projects. They may use Photoshop and InVision and produce logos, banners, and interfaces.

In an agency, they may report to the senior graphic designer. After 5-9 years in the role, graphic designers earn an average annual wage of $50,670 as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $47,850

7. Digital Marketing

A digital marketer increases brand awareness and generates leads through multiple digital channels. These channels may include websites, social media platforms, email marketing, mobile apps like TikTok, and blogs.

They also measure the performance of digital marketing strategies through analytics. A mid-career digital marketing specialist earns an average yearly wage of $58,280 as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $51,060

8. Cybersecurity Analyst

Cybersecurity analysts monitor and protect a company's network, hardware, and software from cyberattacks. They also look for opportunities to enhance an organization's network security.

With experience, many in the field shift into a specialty like computer forensics or risk and compliance. Mid-career cybersecurity analysts earn an average annual salary of $89,270 as of July 2022.

Average Salary (July 2022): $77,470

What to Look For in a Low-Stress Job in Tech

Everyone defines a "low stress" job differently. For some, it's a flexible schedule and working in a low-key, relaxed environment. Others want their own office space and a sign that reads do not disturb.

Whatever your definition, it's important to find a position that motivates and energizes you instead of leaving you mentally and physically exhausted.

According to the American Psychology Association, a stressful work environment can result in headaches, problems sleeping, and difficulty concentrating. If chronic, it can lead to anxiety and a weakened immune system.

To live your best and most balanced life, look for these low-stress signs when job hunting.

  • Good Work-Life Balance: Look for a position that respects your time off.
  • Collaborative Culture: Avoid highly competitive cultures and consider a more supportive environment.
  • Clear Deadlines and Reasonable Workloads: A red flag is unattainable demands and tight time constraints.
  • Consistent Expectations: You'll feel much more in control with clear expectations and predictable responsibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tech Jobs Without a Degree

What skills do I need to work a job in tech without a degree?

You can learn the required technical knowledge in many ways, including coding bootcamps, online programs, books, and mentors. Many employers understand there's a learning curve for entry-level positions and expect it may take time before you're up to speed on tasks.

Because of this, employers look for transferable soft skills that give you an edge and can ensure your success. These include solid communication skills, the ability to collaborate, attention to detail, and a passion for technology.

Can I get a job in tech with a certificate?

Yes. The IT field is skill-based. Because of this, companies look for candidates that can demonstrate their knowledge. A certificate can show that you know fundamental IT concepts, which can help you land a tech job.

That said, certificates may apply to a particular area or a specific platform. Along with that, you'll need hands-on experience. Learn relevant skills and be open to entry-level positions, many of which offer decent wages.

Can I make money in tech without a degree?

Don't let not having a degree hold you back. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs never finished their college education. Yet, they all transformed our everyday lives through technological advancements. So, can you make money in tech without a degree? Absolutely.

As the number of open IT positions continues to climb, employers look to skilled candidates with or without degrees. Many tech positions only need proof that you can do the job. Put together a portfolio that showcases your talent or attend a bootcamp that teaches relevant tech skills.

Feature Image: Hinterhaus Productions / Stone / Getty Images