How To Break Into Tech From An Unrelated Degree

So you’ve been watching videos on social media and YouTube about breaking into a tech career and you envy these people who can work from home, have a great work-life balance and even travel the world while working. You start wishing you studied a different degree at university, thinking that you’ll never manage to get into tech with an English or Psychology degree. Fortunately for you, you don’t necessarily need to have a STEM degree to work in tech. Here we’re going to discuss the reality of working in tech and see how you can start a career in tech from a non-technical field.

Choose what area of tech you want to work in

Technology is a very broad field and finding your ideal role heavily depends on what you enjoy doing and the kind of person you are. Thus, you should spend some time doing research and see what area of technology interests you the most. The best way to educate yourself is online, many content creators on YouTube talk about the pros and cons of their careers. You’ll also find that there are many social media communities and groups dedicated to specific industries so make sure to check out sites such as Discord, Reddit, or even Twitter. By joining these groups, not only will you learn a lot about the industries you’re interested in but you’ll get the opportunity to ask questions and connect with other individuals.

Start learning

Now that you’ve identified the field you want to work in, it’s time to acquire the skills needed to break into the industry. Ideally, you want to start by enrolling in a beginner-friendly online course such as Coursera, Udemy, or Brilliant. Remember that learning takes patience and effort, you’ll have to dedicate a significant amount of time to practise your skills and ensure that you master the fundamentals. Bear in mind that what you’ll be learning depends on the type of job you want to get and that you shouldn’t try to learn everything; if you aspire to become a web developer you should focus on the fundamentals of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, while if you’re more interested in data science, you’ll need to brush up on statistics and Python scripting.

Build your portfolio

Once you’ve got some training under your belt, you should start to add some personal projects to your portfolio. Bear in mind that one great project is always better than a few mediocre ones copied from YouTube tutorials, thus you should try to make something unique and functional in order to step out of your comfort zone and stand out. Most importantly try to use new technologies and expand your knowledge when you’re building new projects.

Build your online presence

While you’re working on your projects, you should connect with other developers in the industry or potential recruiters on social media. The best way to do so is to document your progress and work online and to react to posts and share them. Not only will this give you more visibility and increase your opportunities, but by connecting with people in the industry and sharing your work you’ll get constructive feedback and progress faster. The best social media platforms in my opinion to get into tech are LinkedIn, GitHub is a must for developers, and Twitter.  Remember not to post anything stupid but to document your progress and try to contribute to other people’s projects too.

Breaking into tech is hard

The hard truth is that breaking into tech can be extremely difficult. It takes a lot of time and effort and you’ll feel like giving up from time to time. The key is consistency and perseverance! You’ll have to find the motivation to put in extra work and you’ll have to cancel plans with friends occasionally. However, no matter how hard it gets, keep pushing forward and building up your skills. Ideally, you want to apply to roughly 10 jobs per week, frequently interact on social media, reach out to professionals for networking, and push commits to your GitHub.

Content creators romanticise working in tech

You might see videos on social media of tech workers working from fancy offices, getting free food, or traveling 24/7, but you need to realise that this is not the reality of working in tech for most people. Many content creators work for big tech companies and choose to only show one side of the industry to make their content more appealing. The hard truth is that just like at any other job, you’ll come across obstacles or will find it hard to get to work in the morning! Moreover you’ll most likely be staring at a computer screen most of the time with no free food or fancy hotels and if you work for a start-up you might even be asked to work during non-working hours.

Conclusion

Nowadays more and more companies value hard work and motivation over a degree, so the good news is that you don’t need a STEM degree to start a career in tech. On the other hand, you’ll have to demonstrate hard work and go the extra mile to stand out in such a competitive market. If you’re looking for YouTube channels that discuss this topic further, I highly recommend Bukola and Fireship‘s channels. As well as discussing interview tips and programming concepts, they also interview other developers who got into tech without a degree.

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