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How to start in IT without a degree as a freelancer?

Thread title: How to start in IT without a degree as a freelancer?
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04-16-2012, 04:19 PM
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judywoody is offline judywoody
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  Old  How to start in IT without a degree as a freelancer?

My husband needs to think about a career change. He's been self-employed most of his life, doing physical jobs. He is now almost 40 but due to an illness his bones are getting weaker and at one point he needs to think about desk job. He is not really employable as he has no office experience whatsoever but he has worked from home in the past for a telemarketing company.
He is quite IT savvy but more on a hobby level. We were looking into things he could start learning now (he is still in his job) - he is into Linux and loves fixing other peoples computers (data recovery etc)..He was looking into SEO and although the internet has quite a few positive things to say about going into SEO as a freelancer I spoke to a few people from that background who said that most companies would go for agencies and couple it with website developement etc.. It's hard to get into the market now especially in Britain and you need to be really experienced - it's not as easy as it sounds. Also, my hubby says he hasn't got enough confidence. Is there anything he could start looking into which might be needed in the future? (a friend of mine is a freelance SEO only and he is doing well but he started when SEO was first introduced)...Anything that doesn't require a degree? All his other talents are more for physical jobs so we really need to find a solution for the long term.

04-17-2012, 12:34 PM
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  Old

Judy

Offhand, I would say you should not assume that anything posted on the internet about work possibilities is accurate and up-to-date--unless you can verify the source.

It sounds to me as if your husband would benefit from some very personalized career counseling, a program that would assess his aptitudes and determine a working path for the next 40 years or so. ;^) He probably should consult with someone who has the ability to analyze labor statistics and forecasts in your region as well as the ability to understand his skills. If this is job retraining owing to health consultations may be covered by insurance.

Is there a reason your husband can't go back to school to obtain appropriate credentials? As you note, people who enter a field in its early days can grow with it in ways that aren't open to later entrants. A certificate or degree might provide your husband (and potential employers) with the confidence he now lacks* and contacts that might lead to jobs. 20+ years ago when I worked on a degree in England people were always asking me if I was accompanying my children at Uni because mature students were very unusual, but my understanding is that it is now commonplace.



*why isn't he asking these questions, by the way?

04-17-2012, 03:20 PM
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  Old

A degree isn't a pre-requisite. If you ask freelancers on the web, I reckon more than half of them will say that it is actually better to get straight into the business without mucking around with a degree. As technology changes so quickly it might be easier to keep up to date with things without being stuck to a syllabus. I freelance (although not full time) and I am (hopefully) getting a degree this summer - but in Biochemistry NOT anything IT related. I even hope to get a PhD in biochem - does that make me any less applicable for an IT job? No.

Confidence wise that is very much a personal thing which is hard to "teach". But I think that if your husband was to either do a degree or just jump right in he would gain confidence. It would be gradual – which is to be expected, but it he will get there if he really tries.

04-17-2012, 05:26 PM
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  Old

Most web based freelancing does not require a degree. There is no accredited web development degree at this time, a lot of lower tier schools offer "degrees" in web development or web design but that are not accredited at any significant level. Stuff like SEO, web design and web development are entirely experience based. I have a friend who has worked for a number of major companies (Allstate, BCBS and CTCA to name a few) in web development without any sort of a degree. In the end experience is what they want but a degree can only help.

IT areas that have to do with fixing computers do not require a degree at all. Fields like these include IT helpdesk, network administration and server administration. They are certification based, A+ for instance is a common one for helpdesk stuff and is very easy to get. Your experience will be directly proportional to your pay.

There are some areas that do require degrees. Most government jobs require a degree of some sort, for technical stuff first pick will go to those with a CS or CE degree. A lot of non-web software positions would strongly prefer a degree, most engineering or science fields that use programming require one as well.

To start out in IT can be hard, especially if you have expenses and such. Entry level IT positions are going to pay poorly just like any other entry level positions. The certifications can go a long way in getting your foot in the door.

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