3 Ways To Land a Cybersecurity Job Without a Degree

Are you dreaming of building a career in cybersecurity? Not having a degree holding you back? Look no further! In this guide, we explain 3 easy steps you can follow to land a cybersecurity job without a degree.

Get a cybersecurity job without a degree

Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to get into cybersecurity without a degree. Here’s one big reason why: there are not enough cybersecurity professionals in the industry.

ITCareerFinder ranks “IT security specialist” as the job with the most growth potential on its top 10 list of Best Computer Jobs for the Future, with 32% growth and 35,500 jobs by 2028. “Year after year, IT executives report actively seeking professionals with information security skills, but finding it difficult to locate good talent,” the site notes. “This indicates an incredible opportunity for technology professionals to advance their cybersecurity skills and certifications.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees with these figures, predicting that the number of information security analyst jobs is projected to grow 31% by 2029, adding 40,900 jobs. 

That’s true not just for the future, but for today as well. There’s a huge backlog in cybersecurity hiring. According to Cyberseek, an industry joint initiative looking at the cybersecurity job market, there are more than a half-million cybersecurity job openings right now.

College Degrees Can't Keep Up With Cybersecurity Job Demand

Someone who can demonstrate at least some capability in cybersecurity has a good shot in getting a job—perhaps even more with a specialized cybersecurity certificate than with a more general degree or through graduating from a cybersecurity bootcamp. That’s particularly true if you have some experience as well. Cyberseek adds that many cybersecurity job openings request particular cybersecurity certifications. 

Moreover, companies increasingly consider applicants without college degrees but with relevant certificates. Major companies such as Tesla, Apple, Google, and Netflix no longer require prospective employees to have four-year degrees, according to Business Insider. (Keep in mind that many computer visionaries, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, didn’t have college degrees.)

CompTIA handles this question head-on. “A large portion of jobs in IT don’t require a four-year degree or even a two-year degree, and many IT job listings prove this,” the company notes on its site. “If not having a degree has held you back from pursuing a career in technology, you should know that most tech positions simply require proof that you can do the job, through certifications and prior experience. Hiring managers don’t weed out potential job candidates because they don’t have undergraduate degrees.”

The company goes on to point out that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-quarter (26%) of IT workers in the United States do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

That’s particularly true for cybersecurity, a field so new and so fast-paced that college degrees can’t keep up and for which there aren’t that many standards, writes cybersecurity professional Matt Day on the StartACyberCareer.com website.

“Cybersecurity is a field that by nature doesn’t have a regulating body or structure,” Day points out. “Consider, for example, that in the field of medicine you must have a medical degree. This, of course, is not the case with technical fields like cybersecurity. Employers are free to hire whomever they want, including those without a degree.”

So yes, you can get an entry-level job in cybersecurity without a degree. The question comes up all the time on Reddit and Quora, and there’s always plenty of people who can testify that they have a successful cybersecurity career without a college degree. 

So, How Do You Get a Cybersecurity Job Without a Degree?

Follow these three steps to land a job in cybersecurity without a degree.

  1. Get certified. While you don’t need a degree to start a career in cybersecurity, relevant certifications, such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker will help. These show you’re interested enough in cybersecurity to have made the investment in time and money, and that you have some basic knowledge.
  2. Look for ways to demonstrate your competence. I know, I know—how do you get a job without any experience? There are ways. Volunteer, develop your own projects, and take part in competitions. 
  3. Be prepared to start at the bottom. Even with certifications, accept that your first cybersecurity position will be an entry-level job and you might have to work nights or weekends. Entry-level jobs include IT technician, network engineer, information security analyst, junior penetration tester, or systems administrator.

Once you’ve gained some experience, your cybersecurity career will be on its way, and you can start looking for your next job in this lucrative field. If you need help in this process, look no further than Springboard’s cybersecurity bootcamp with a job guarantee. 

Is cybersecurity the right career for you?

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cybersecurity industry is expected to have 3.5 million high-paying, unfilled jobs this year. With Springboard’s comprehensive Cyber Security Career Track, you’ll work 1:1 with an industry-mentor to learn key aspects of information technology, security software, security auditing, and finding and fixing malicious code. Learning units include subject-expert approved resources, application-based mini-projects, hands-on labs, and career-search related coursework.

The course will culminate in a multi-part capstone project that you can highlight on your resume for prospective employers or use to demonstrate your technical knowledge in your job interview. The learning materials will also help prepare you to pass the globally-recognized CompTIA Security+  certification so you stand out when applying for cybersecurity roles.

Learn more about Springboard’s Cyber Security Career Track here.

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