The demand for programmers is at an all-time high and is expected to increase.
However, most people think that having a college degree or having advanced coding education is a must for anyone who wants an IT job.
While a bachelor’s associate degree in programming expands your job opportunities, it doesn’t mean that high school graduates can’t get programming jobs.
The tuition costs for an IT degree average at $9,308 in a community college and $23,066 for a four-year university course.
This makes it quite expensive for students who can’t find additional funding. However, this shouldn’t dim their dream and aspirations of becoming programmers.
That said, below are tips that can help high-school graduates secure programming jobs.
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Which IT Jobs Don’t Require a Degree?
Before looking at the tips, below are some IT jobs that don’t necessarily need a computer science degree.
- Computer support specialist – while this occupation isn’t close to becoming a programmer, it is a great place to begin your coding journey if you have no prior computer experience.
- Information technology technicians – this occupation involves diagnosing computer problems, installing new software, and maintaining computer systems.
- Web developer/designer – you need a basic understanding of coding languages, such as HTML, to find a job as a web developer. Web developers handle the technical aspects of web development. Though a computer science degree isn’t required, you should keep learning new publishing and web development tools.
Tips for Getting a Programming Job Without a Degree
1. Get Some Experience
While many companies are looking for programmers and developers, not all are willing to slow their company activities to teach high-school graduates the skills required to get their work done.
This is what makes it difficult to secure employment right after high school.
As such, expect to be disadvantaged at first, as employers evaluate how long it takes before they start enjoying a return on their investment.
That said, you should find ways of gaining some programming experience after your high school education.
Below are some options to consider;
- Coding Bootcamps – you can enroll in a short coding Bootcamp before actively looking for a programming job. Bootcamps will equip you with the right knowledge and skills to start off your career.
- Volunteer – several businesses take in volunteers willing to work for small or no pay. While you won’t be making money, they are a good place to build your portfolio. By the end of this period, you will be knocking on doors as a high school graduate with some projects to show.
- Community colleges – you can enroll in programming courses in your local community college. Most of these programs are short courses lasting less than one year. A good alternative to physical classes is online courses offered by several institutions, such as the Coder School. They are a good starting place for anyone looking to master the basics of programming.
2. Make Your Codes Visible to Potential Employers
Unlike other professions, you should provide code samples to convince hiring managers of your proficiency in programming.
Therefore, ensure that you make your codes available to hiring managers by posting them on GitHub or Bitbucket.
Currently, most job applications request job seekers to provide links to their personal code repositories.
Making your codes available enables recruiters to review your codes and skills before inviting you for an interview.
Most high-school graduates have received job invitations and offers for their contributions on open-source platforms.
Therefore, take some time to learn and understand how to use these source control platforms.
3. Find a Recruiter
As mentioned, there are many open programming positions that need developers.
However, companies have a hard time finding the best candidate for these positions.
Therefore, technical recruiting companies have closed this gap by helping companies find the best talent in the market.
While these agencies also have entry requirements for various positions, don’t be afraid to contact a recruiter if no business has responded to your applications.
Submitting your application to the company directly reduces your chances of being hired.
In the normal hiring process, recruiters will evaluate your resume before deciding to schedule an interview.
Most recruiters will begin by looking at your college degree and prior experience.
Therefore, you can be guaranteed that your application will be rejected since you don’t have a college degree or programming experience.
However, most recruiting agencies jump straight into the interview.
They conduct a separate technical interview process, and those who pass get a spot in the hiring company’s final interview.
If you are good at technical interviews, using a recruiter can help you avoid document scrutiny.
Getting a programming job after high school isn’t easy.
Apart from the tips mentioned above, you should ensure that you network with relevant persons.
Friends can refer you to perfect opportunities for beginner programmers.
However, being straight out of high school, you may not have many networking avenues, but remember to network as you advance your skills.