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by sumIT

Degree - is it worth it?

Does the IT world still follow old rules?

Alright, the never-ending question: Do I need the degree?

We will break down the pros and cons of having a degree and if you still need one today.

What kind of a degree do you need?

First and foremost, you need to understand that there are many different IT branches, and each one of them requires a different skill set. Of course, all of them - share some similar requirements, but each overwhelms them with specific and oriented needs. Such specific needs must be taken care of with a suit measurement of skill set. For example, computer and information research scientists generally need a graduate degree. However, some employers hire candidates with only a high school diploma or associate degree. Technology jobs often emphasize skills-based training over college experience, which means professionals with any level of education can secure positions in the field.

Computers and technology education requirements also vary by position. Individuals with various educational backgrounds can pursue jobs: including computer network architects, programmers, web developers, personal computer technicians, and demonstrators and product promoters. Computers and technology job requirements differ by position.

Experience and education often lead to increased earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer support specialists(, who do not need a college degree, earn a median salary of $54,760 per year. The BLS reports that computer programmers(, who generally have a bachelor’s degree, earn a median salary of $86,550.

Consistent growth in the technology field can lead to job opportunities. The BLS projects employment for computer support specialists to increase 10% from 2018 to 2028. College Choice provides detailed information about degree options in the computer and technology( fields.

Traditionally, going for a bachelor's degree in computing is the first step towards obtaining an IT job.

But, there’s another thing, a bold and amazing move from Google: Google offers a 6-month program that renders traditional degrees mute. It consists of an intense and cheap alternative that makes you ready for work immediately. Where on other hand, traditional degrees make you overwhelmed with broad knowledge with no specific use. In conclusion, a valuable and accredited diploma/certificate is what you need.

Which IT careers need a degree the most?

Luckily, the IT world has been smart enough to value actual skill more often, rather than the certificate, but some jobs in this world would require or at least want their candidates to own a degree.

According to the 2021 State of the CIO survey(, these are the jobs with the highest pain points when it comes to finding qualified candidates to match demand:

1. AI/machine learning: 20%

2. IT technician

3. Cloud services/ integration: 11%

4. Robotic process automation (RPA): 9%

5. Internet of things/edge computing (cone ted devices, sensors): 8%

6. App dev: 8%

7. Software engineering: 8%

8. Enterprise architecture: 7%

9. Cloud architecture: 7%

10. Enterprise software (ERP, CRM, etc.): 6%

11. Multicloud management: 6%

These would be jobs that ask for the degree the most. Of course, we’re sure that with the right approach - any job can be obtained without a degree. The same way you can get an honorary doctorate because you are recognized for your knowledge and contribution, the same thing rules or should rule through the IT world. These jobs may not essentially need a degree but are considered as one of the hardest jobs you can have in IT, making them ask for as much as accreditation possible.

Which IT careers don't require a degree at all?

There are great and essential jobs that do not require a certain degree - only skill, that is all.

Those would be:

1. Computer support specialist

2. Software architect

3. Help desk analyst

4. Computer programmer

5. Web developer

6. IT manager

7. Computer software engineer

Do companies value degrees over demonstrated skill?

According to a recent survey of 500 U.S. recruiters and hiring managers across ten industry sectors, the answer is a resounding yes. One hundred percent of recruiters believe that candidates with a college degree have more skills than those without a degree. And although employers report that on average only 35 percent of entry-level, salaried jobs require a degree, recruiters look for them.

That would be a general answer to such a general question. But, we’re here for the IT sector and, the situation in IT is a bit different: IT branches, as mentioned, require a specific set of skills for fulfilling their needs, therefore - it is a common practice among employers to emphasize skills, rather than to be stuck over candidates diploma. Our WordPress developer Igor has spared a few minutes to answer this and some of the following questions. When asked about degrees or demonstrated skills,

he answered:

In my opinion: No. Companies need people that can start working immediately on projects that are already sold or are getting sold to their respective clients. If you can start the job immediately, it's a greater plus than having a degree.

Do IT companies pay more if you have a degree?

The evidence that a college degree significantly improves one’s earning potential is overwhelming. Bachelor’s degree holders are half as likely to be unemployed as their peers who only have a high school degree and, they make $1 million in additional earnings on average over their lifetime.

Although this may not always be the case, we’re sure that over time and with positive results, salary will be reciprocal to shown knowledge and skill.

In conclusion, yes. Yes, they pay more but over time that changes as you progress and show your skills.

How to get a job without a degree?

When writing this blog, I thought this question would be the one having me writing endlessly.

Luckily, I have an amazing colleague who answered this with resonating simplicity:

Bring value.

Those were the words of our WordPress developer and, I think that simple sentence speaks a lot of volume. Do you want a job? Bring value.

Are degrees a safe bet?

Degrees are not a safe bet, they improve your chances tremendously, but nobody ever guarantees you anything. If we take ‘’being safe’’ at least 80% success rate for finding a job, IT degrees would be a somewhat safe bet, as the sector is highly in demand.

As writing this, I’ve concluded that this blog shouldn't offer a definitive answer: It should offer space to think through and get the reader question what they can do, what is their exact position, and to understand that IT is a scenario with so many variations that only when they bring their variables into the code, is the time where they can get a definitive answer.

Thank you very much for reading. Let us know what you think.

Degrees or skills?

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