The question: How do I advance if I don't have a degree?
I work as a product manager for a niche software firm. I do not have formal higher education, but I have attended several vocational courses and my work has given me a wide range of experience and skills. I would like to find a new role as head of product or software development. Will the fact that I do not have a degree hinder my chances of getting this kind of role? Or should I focus on vocational training and qualifications to back up my experience?
The solution : Pursue further vocational training
The answer depends on which companies you apply to work for, but in most cases the lack of a degree would not necessarily hinder you, as most job descriptions include the phrase "relevant degree or similar experience required"".
However, there are firms that put enormous weight on candidates who have a relevant degree, passed with a good grade, and some even look at A-level results.
It is not an uncommon rule that the more corporate the environment you apply to, the more need for a degree. But I would highly recommend investigating relevant vocational qualifications to back up your experience. A lot of employers view candidates who have pursued vocational qualifications off their own back in a very good light. It shows initiative and willingness to succeed in your career.
If applying for roles where you are unsure about the weighting of a degree, you should talk with the recruitment consultant so they can put more emphasis on your experience than your education.
I would not worry too much about the lack of a degree; pursue vocational training and spend time with a recruitment consultant who can help you get the most out of your application.
Solution by Robert Nunn, senior recruitment account manager, Plan-Net Services
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
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