Many students believe they must go the traditional route by attending a 4-year university before starting a career. However, that’s simply not true. In the IT field, there are many ways to have a successful and fulfilling career that don’t involve getting a 4-year degree.
Everyone’s situation is unique, so it’s important to find the right path for you. Whether you’re looking to become a cyber security professional or work as a data analyst, let’s explore the many options and alternatives available to you.
4-Year College Alternative: Cyber/IT Certifications & Associate Programs
If you don’t want to spend four years earning a degree, there are other educational options available to you for a Cyber/IT career. Online certification programs offer a ton of benefits when compared to 4-year degrees.
First, certifications can be completed in under a year. This means you’ll be able to enter the cyber/IT workforce much faster. Other benefits include:
- Focused study: The courses in a certification program are very concentrated. You’ll learn all the essentials to gain entry-level employment in the IT field successfully.
- Cost savings: Certification courses often cost less than a 4-year degree. Many are also offered online, so you won’t need to commute to class or pay for on-campus housing. Additionally, you may be able to purchase digital textbooks, which often cost less than physical textbooks.
- Flexibility: An online certification program allows you to learn anywhere you can take your laptop. Plus, you can learn at your own pace. For example, if you work during the day, you can choose to do your schoolwork at night.
If you want to take your education a step further, an Associate program enables you to get started in IT within two years. These programs help you build a solid foundation in IT while still requiring less time than a 4-year degree. Associate programs can be offered completely online, in-person or as a hybrid learning opportunity.
Explore Online IT Courses or Try Self-Study
If getting an official certificate or degree doesn’t appeal to you, you can try exploring free and paid online IT courses. Free courses are often introductory courses to give you a foundation of basic IT concepts and skills.
To further your knowledge, you can take paid courses. Many paid IT courses are available on learning platforms, such as Coursera and Google. They’re generally affordable and can be completed at your own pace. Some may charge a fee per course or offer a monthly subscription package.
It’s also possible to get started by teaching yourself. There are many online videos, forums and social groups that encourage self-learning. Besides sharing knowledge and tips, these platforms can also be a place to ask questions and receive help from others.
Explore Alternatives to a 4-Year IT Degree
If you’re interested in educational alternatives to jumpstart your IT career, Cambridge has options for you. Our focused certification and Associate programs can help you enter the IT workforce quickly. Reach out to us today by calling us at 877-206-4279 or send us a message.