You’ve probably been told all of your life that if you want to make it big in the world, you need a college degree.
While that’s true most of the time, it turns out that some of the most high-paying jobs actually don’t require a degree, and this is especially true for jobs in the technology industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those in the technology field can make anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 a year at an average of $118,000 a year. Though it’s not millionaire status, that kind of income makes for a pretty comfortable lifestyle. Perhaps that’s why when you think of jobs in the tech industry, you likely think of Ivy League grads that seemed born to work hard and make it big.
However, that’s not always the case, and the number of those who don’t have a college degree and land a job, though rare, is rising all the time.
Here are several high-tech, well-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.
1. Internet Marketing
As a largely needed career in today’s marketing world, internet marketers are known for making great money, even without a bachelor’s degree. In this field, a degree can provide an excellent boost in understanding the needs and wants of an audience, but those skills can also be learned elsewhere, particularly for those looking to capitalize on SEO techniques.
By gaining a reputable clientele and showing consistent results through skills gained from life experiences, anyone with a knack for web development and marketing can make an average of $115,000 a year.
2. Computer Software Engineer
Anyone you talk to in a formal setting will most likely tell you that you need a bachelor’s degree to make $100,000 a year as a computer programmer, but the truth is, many jobs only require an associate’s degree or a certificate from a technical training school.
With a growth rate of 22%, these jobs are often unfilled, and employers will often wave your educational qualifications if you know what you’re doing.
3. Computer System Analyst
To put it simply, a computer system analyst studies data and computer systems to help them operate more efficiently. Though it can certainly help to have completed a four-year program, a degree in computer system analysis isn’t always required. The annual wage is about $80,000 a year and you can jump right in with little to no work experience.
Anyone with a thorough understanding of how computer systems operate has a chance of getting this high profile position, just like Edward Snowden, a former CIA and NSA analyst did with just a GED.
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4. Entertainment Manager
Producers, directors, and entertainment managers average a salary of $70,000 a year, with a small percentage making nearly $200,000 a year. You can get a degree before entering this occupation of sound and visual production, but many of the most successful people have never received any formal education higher than high school.
For example, Michael Palance, actor and producer of the talent show My Hollywood, began his professional career as a teen actor in New York. Without any formal education, he has risen to become a very successful entertainment manager.
5. Web Development
If you have a knack for coding and recognizing what kinds of websites audiences like, you could easily land a job in web development. According to EMSI, a career building company, just about half of all web developers do not hold a degree. This market is so hungry for new, energetic workers that it can’t fill all of the positions with web development graduates.
Instead, they often offer short certification courses and on-the-job training for those who show a high proficiency in computer programming and graphic design. Web developers today make an average of $62,500 a year.
Though it’s not the highest paying job, you could still live a comfortable life as a telecommunication equipment installer and repairer, and it’s one of the highest paying jobs for anyone without a college degree. At a median salary of $54,000 a year, many could skip the college debt experience and jump straight to leading an established lifestyle.
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7. Computer Support Specialist
With no need for formal education, those with a knack for computer software and equipment can find themselves making $50,000 a year. With a 17 percent growth rate, which is particularly high for the communication and electronics industry, the need and demand for computer support specialists is rising all the time. It’s a pretty comfortable job as well. Many specialists can work from home and choose their own hours.
The tech industry is an incredibly lucrative market, no matter the level of your education. Though these examples show that you don’t always need a college degree to make your way in the world, it’s important to recognize that these are the exceptions to the rule. In reality, a college education is the surest way to a comfortable life, even with the excess debt and the poor economy.