After years of working various jobs to keep your family afloat, you’ve finally reached the point where you’re craving something more. You don’t want a job—you want a career. You don’t want to cringe every time your alarm clock sounds … it’d be nice to actually enjoy going to work for once.
That said, what are you going to do? Quit your job in a dramatic fashion, call up the employer of your dreams and demand a high-profile position and live happily ever after?
If only it were that easy!
Instead, your mind is flooded with questions:
- Do I need a degree?
- How long will it take?
- How will I pay for school?
- Will my salary be enough to provide for my family?
- Will there even be a job for me when I graduate?
Before your head explodes, take a deep breath and take comfort in the following information: there are entry-level tech job openings out there and you could land one without a four-year degree!
Prepare yourself for success
It’s true that certain tech jobs don’t require a degree at all and many skills can be self-taught. But the fact is, technology job opportunities and salaries increase based on education level.
Not only will your prospects improve with a degree, but a classroom setting can provide you with the structure and discipline necessary to build a foundation of skills and knowledge. A formal education will also provide you the chance to learn from experienced faculty and interact with other students in your shoes.
Below, you’ll find five of the most prevalent entry-level technology positions that require an Associate’s degree.* All five careers are escalating in job openings, have above-average annual salaries and, best of all, they could be yours in just two short years!
The following chart illustrates the number of jobs posted for each position in the past year.
Explore your opportunities
Now that you’re aware of the opportunities available, take a closer look at each field and learn about job duties, career outlooks, median annual salaries and the degrees needed for each.** As you read, picture yourself taking the next step towards pursuing one of these exciting new careers.
- Job Outlook: 28% growth (2010-2020)
- Median Annual Salary: $89,280
- Corresponding Degree: Software Application Development Associate’s Degree
You will be responsible for creating and modifying specialized utility programs or general computer applications software. You may be developing new software solutions and customizing programs to help optimize operational efficiency. This may be done individually or as part of a team.
- Job Outlook: 12% growth (2010-2020)
- Median Annual Salary: $71,380
- Corresponding Degree: Web Programming Associate’s Degree
You will create, modify and test the code that allows computer applications to function properly. This includes testing, reviewing and rewriting programs to meet client demands. You may also work alongside software developers in analyzing user needs and developing solutions.
- Job Outlook: 17% growth (2010-2020)
- Median Annual Salary: $47,660
- Corresponding Degree: Computer Information Technology Associate's Degree
You will resolve technical issues for computer users. You may assist clients in person or via telephone or email, but customer interaction is habitual. Issues may include hardware or software concerns, as well as problems with printing, program installation, email or other operating systems.
- Job Outlook: 22% growth (2010-2020)
- Median Annual Salary: $78,770
- Corresponding Degree: Computer Science Associate’s Degree
You will examine data processing issues in an effort to implement and improve computer systems. You may be analyzing user requirements and procedures to improve computer system capabilities. This may also include testing and recommending commercially available software.
- Job Outlook: 28% growth (2010-2020)
- Median Annual Salary: $70,970
- Corresponding Degree: Network Administration Associate’s Degree
You will install and support an organization’s local area network (LAN, wide area network (WAN) or a segment of a network system. By monitoring and maintaining the network, you would be ensuring availability to all system users. You may also test web site performance to ensure it operates properly and without interruption.
Be confident in your decision
It’s a big decision to go back to school. It’s equally distressing to change careers given the current state of the economy. But after seeing the optimistic projected growth of these entry-level tech jobs for two-year degree holders, hopefully you’re a bit more confident.
All that’s missing is the decision. So if you’re ready to leave behind the job you’ve been tolerating in order to obtain the career you’ve been dreaming of, take some time to further investigate your options for earning a degree in technology.
Just imagine, two years from now you could be preparing for the first day of your new career!
Download our FREE Technology Career Outlook for more information on careers in the tech industry!
*Source: BurningGlass.com (Analysis of 23,943 tech jobs which require an Associate’s degree and less than one year of experience, 04/10/2012 – 04/09/2013).