Why You Don’t Need a College Degree for IT

IT skills are still in high demand with the new normal and Industry 4.0, with increasing interests in areas such as machine learning, cybersecurity and AI capabilities. While the workforce is becoming increasingly IT-savvy, these trends may not indicate a rising demand for a college education.

The digital landscape makes it possible for IT professionals to take relevant and certified training on the go. In addition, a growing number of alternative online platforms promote seamless learning and application in new ways.

However, the challenge lies in selecting a learning platform where trainers are industry certified to offer quality courses. IT continues to reform and evolve rapidly, and organizations should choose classes that keep pace with the latest developments.

Perhaps most importantly, professional learning platforms can provide practical skills in response to real-world problems through helpful toolkits and solutions to modern complexities.

High school diploma does not equal success

College graduates are known for their high tuition costs that come with a hefty student loan. Still, paying for these fees is not an easy job. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report showing a growing rise in unemployment among recent graduates and underemployment (with workers settling for roles below their experience and academic level).

Ultimately, the recruitment process varies by industry and trends are essential. Modern employers are looking for hands-on experiences and soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving when it comes to the IT sphere.

One problem with university degrees may lie in their misalignment with complex real-time developments. Academic course developers may not have the dynamic data and relevant professional experience to guide students through volatile job markets and the latest industry demands.

In other words, professional life isn’t packed in neat little boxes, easy to find and apply — and degree holders can wake up rough when they enter the workforce.

A survey titled Freelancing in America echoed the idea: 93 percent of freelancers with four-year degrees shared that skills training was more useful than their degree.

The unemployment situation could worsen in 2021 due to the new normal, as an uncertain economy looms in the distance. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the COVID pandemic has triggered one of the worst job crises since the Great Depression and unemployment will remain high until 2021.

Under such challenging conditions, modern learners need a training approach that provides a competitive advantage through work readiness and practical knowledge. The right learning platform can help promote lifelong learning among IT staff, regardless of career experience, by tailoring the curriculum to the skills required and individual capabilities.

Limit on details

While a college degree provides a comprehensive learning experience, it may lack the structure needed to master specific aspects (ie IT specializations). IT encompasses a wide variety of practices shaped by user behavior and organizational trends, each optimally conveyed through dedicated guidance from industry experts.

As such, employers should not seize the opportunity to hire recent graduates who do not possess the specific skills needed to perform in an IT role, or who are more likely to consider an internship before offering a full-time position. The sentiments seem clear with leading organizations such as Google, Apple and Facebook, which prioritize industry-related training and similar hands-on experiences.

Likewise, the federal government has placed an emphasis on hiring individuals with the necessary skills (i.e. IT), primarily on the basis of talent rather than arbitrary academic requirements.

Rather than achieving a general academic qualification, career-oriented IT learning programs can help students achieve clear career prospects with actionable goals from the outset by focusing on key IT areas.

That said, if you still believe going back to college is your only option, think again. Or if you’re young and new to the workforce and your parents tell you that studying is the only way to find success in IT, think again and do more research on other options. Two areas to look at, specializing in those that are very actively hired in 2021 and are more skills-oriented roles, are cybersecurity and network engineering.

Cybersecurity remains a top priority for IT as more and more organizations migrate to remote digital infrastructures in response to the new normal. IT experts specializing in cybersecurity must regularly familiarize themselves with industry regulations such as GDPR and California’s data privacy laws, while updating their skills to anticipate and deter the most sophisticated online threats.

Malicious parties have taken advantage of the pandemic crisis and prey on users’ vulnerabilities through extensive phishing scams and malware attacks. There is an urgent need for IT experts specializing in cybersecurity to protect the most valuable business and personal data in a widely connected world.

Digital network security is facing an increasing number of malicious attacks from new sources with the rise of cloud data storage and IoT. The modern network engineer must apply advanced automated tools and AI capabilities to monitor user activities around the clock while enabling legacy on-premise systems in the cloud.

Identity access management (IAM) and network engineering skills are in high demand as attackers exploit cloud access and privilege vulnerabilities through remote devices and applications from unknown locations.

An alternative to university degrees

If you’re looking for the right path to help you break through in IT, NexGenT is a veteran-owned, advanced learning platform specializing in career-oriented IT training. We provide online and in-person training for learners of all levels, regardless of experience. At NexGenT, we focus on preparing the most practical curriculum that equips students with the advanced knowledge and tools needed to thrive in the new normal and beyond.

While traditional student loans can lead to high interest rates and persistent debt, NexGenT prioritizes learning outcomes with Income Share Agreement (ISA) arrangements. Essentially, NexGenT covers all education costs through ISA, so students can train with confidence and improve their careers. You don’t start paying off your expenses until your career takes off – no frills and no interest.

Each NexGenT course undergoes regular quality reviews by experienced IT professionals with decades of experience. We adapt classes to meet the ever-changing moves of the changing markets through real-world skills and in-demand knowledge to boost your professional performance.

Join NexGenT today to fulfill your dream IT role with the relevant skills and without the financial hassles. We prepare you to take your work readiness to the next level.

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