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Highest Paying Jobs that Don’t Require Degrees


The number of students in college has grown from a little under six million in 1965 to just under 20 million now, but that hasn’t prevented a huge skills gap. In the United States, for instance, 75% of employers feel college graduates don’t have the necessary skills to get the job done.

As a result, many companies are looking outside the college ranks for their top talent, looking for people who can do the work even if they don’t have a degree.

Employers are realizing the best way to close the skills gap is through, well, skills. And they’re willing to invest in the right people. Keep reading to learn the highest paying jobs that don’t require degrees, their salaries, what the roles involve, and which courses you can take to land a great position — with or without a degree.

Full Stack Web Developer: $109,668

A Full-Stack Web Developer handles the design and deployment of web applications that companies use to serve their customers and improve their processes. As a Full-Stack Developer, you’d provide solutions involving both front-end and back-end development — designing everything a company needs to release its web app.

Full-Stack Developers have to know how to build the parts of the web and mobile applications that users interact with, as well as the components they don’t see. This requires working with both the design elements that create an effective, comfortable user experience and the technologies that support the app’s function. Some of these include:

  • Web servers and gateways
  • Virtual environments
  • Databases
  • Business logic that governs how the application produces outputs
  • Application programming interfaces (APIs)

All of these elements and more work together, and a Full-Stack Web Developer interweaves them to create a productive app. If you’re ready to start exploring the world of full-stack development, check out our Full-Stack Engineer Career Path.

Network Architect: $107,870

Just like a Commercial Architect designs usable solutions for people working and residing in buildings, a Network Architect designs solutions for the networks people use day-to-day.

A Network Architect is in charge of ensuring that a network is available to users, ready to support an organization’s processes, and secure. As a result, they often have to leverage:

  • Wide area networks (WANs)
  • Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN)
  • Public and private cloud network architectures
  • Hybrid networks
  • On-premises data centers
  • Hybrid data centers involving both on-premise and cloud processing
  • Unified communications systems involving texting, videoconferencing, email, and phone services
  • Network security vendors
  • Network security hardware appliances, such as firewalls

Essential to the performance of a Network Architect’s job is an understanding of the role coding plays in the various systems that make up a network. To get started with computer networking, you can use our Code Foundation’s Career Path.

Cybersecurity Analyst: $95,510

As a Cybersecurity Analyst, you’d use hardware and software to protect an organization’s network and the devices people use to connect to it. A Cybersecurity Analyst also has to ensure the people and devices that connect to the network are what they claim to be and have the right to access any given area of the network.

This requires the use of a wide range of tools, such as:

  • Firewalls
  • Web application firewalls (WAF)
  • Network monitoring solutions
  • Antivirus software
  • Penetration testing systems
  • Encryption tools
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs)

A great place to begin your career as a Cybersecurity Analyst is with our Introduction to Cybersecurity course.

Computer Systems Programmer: $86,550

A Computer Systems Programmer’s day-to-day work involves making sure operating systems are performing well for an organization’s users. Some of the common systems programmers work with include Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The applications and systems that computers run can only work if their operating systems are optimized for their performance. A Computer Systems Programmer adjusts settings and writes code that makes systems run better while reducing vulnerabilities that could threaten the cyber safety of the organization. This programmer may work with programming languages such as:

A knowledge of these languages helps you understand how computers and their software works, as well as discover ways of making them work better. Our full line of courses can prepare you for a lucrative career as a Systems Programmer. You can start with the following courses:

Hardware Engineer: $119,650

A Computer Hardware Engineer works with computer systems, designing, testing, and deploying them to the point where they’re powerful tools for an organization. As opposed to developers, who work more with software, a Hardware Engineer’s job involves the physical tools that make computers run better, faster, and more efficiently.

For example, a Hardware Engineer may be charged with deciding which processors and memory devices do the best job of helping employees perform a specific task. Computer Hardware Engineers also have to help optimize networks by choosing the best components and ensuring they’re configured correctly. As a Hardware Engineer, you may find yourself working with:

  • Circuit boards
  • Processors
  • Memory
  • Servers
  • Routers
  • Access points

Knowing how coding improves the function of hardware devices and the processes they serve is essential to being a successful Hardware Engineer. To start learning about the coding that supports computer systems, you can take our Code Foundations Career Path.

As many companies expand and change by digitizing their processes, results tend to carry more weight than diplomas, and you can definitely earn a high salary without a college degree.  With our courses, you can gain not only the knowledge needed to succeed in these high-paying jobs but also a strong portfolio of work you can bring to the interview to help you stand out — even without a college degree. Get started for free today.

August 17, 2021

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