There has been a shift in the hiring world lately. Now more than ever, employers are valuing skills over experience. This is great news for everyone looking for their big break.
But the tech industry is one of the most competitive there is. To win out over candidates with STEM degrees, you’re going to need to really prove your worth. But thankfully, it isn’t impossible.
1 – Get specific with it
Now before we go any further, what job do you want exactly? Job opportunities in tech are diverse, but you need to hone your efforts – and your CV – if you’re going to succeed.
Are you interested in design and user experience? How about data and analytics? Or maybe website building is more your forte?
Pick one tech area and stick to it. If this means that you need to spend some time trying out different pieces of technology and seeing what works for you, do it! This will save you time in the long run.
When you really hone your applications, you can focus your energy and become the ideal candidate.
I would recommend scouting out the opportunities and going from there!
2 – Hone your skills
Tech is all about innovation. There’s always new software coming out, and you need to be on top of it. More than that, you need to like being up to date!
And how do you prove that you have this kind of dedication to innovation? You learn.
There are loads of free courses out there. Keep in mind that you’re competing for jobs with people that have gone to university to get their dream job in tech – you should probably dedicate just as much time as them to learning.
When you take free courses, you prove to employers that you’re motivated, passionate and dedicated to a career in tech.
Keep in mind that you already have the skills to succeed. Tech employers are looking for problem solvers, team players and resilient learners.
You’ve been working on these skills your whole life (I hope!) Focus your energy on learning the technologies you need for your dream job and you should be golden.
3 – Build your portfolio
The most convincing way to prove your skills is to show what you can do. Creating an impressive portfolio is essential for securing your first job.
I would recommend being active on GitHub, contributing to open source projects and doing some freelance work. After you’ve got a few proud projects under your belt, create a website to showcase your skills. Send this along with your CV in every job application and you should see a big difference.
If you’re looking for advice on how to break into the tech freelance world, we have an article for that.
I recommend testing your skills with a small project every time you complete a course. This way, you can build up your portfolio while testing your learning.
4 – Ask for help
Job hunting can be exhausting, relentless and draining. Never hearing back from job applications can have a serious effect on your mental health.
This is where tech can actually help!
Plucking up the courage to reach out to someone for support can be stressful, but it is sometimes necessary. I really recommend using LinkedIn to grow your network. If you come across someone with your dream job and no official university degree, reach out and ask them how they got there.
Leaning on others for support will make your applications stronger, so ask them to walk you through a great CV, cover letter and interview (only after already beginning a professional relationship, though!)
You really can get a job in tech without a STEM degree, but you do have to put in the work and prove your skills first.