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Ask HN: How to get a job in Tech industry without long education?
5 points by diggan 1748 days ago | hide | past | web | 12 comments | favorite
I'm currently trying to find startups or companys that are looking for young, creative and engaging people but without any education. I'm 20 years old, live in Barcelona and have no education related to IT what so ever but have been building websites and web apps since I was young. I've provided examples for jobs that I've applied to but every time, my lack of education seems to ruin it for me.

My question is as the title, how can I get the first stepping stone experience within the tech industry when all positions require long education?

I know how you feel, diggan. Go to my startup's About Us section on our website (which I develop! http://cyberialabs.coldstream.ca ) and read my bio (my IRL name is Kimberly Crawley). I have a mere CompTIA A+, but like you, I have a self-taught web development background (since 1995, age 11). I've done some consumer tech support (Windows, x86 hardware). But it was really tough for me to get my tech support job (it was before I got my A+, even!), where we weren't paid much and treated like crap. Now, my only real employment is in my co-founded IT security/data centre startup. We got our first client (few days ago) but our business has yet to have revenue (we're getting there pretty soon, first client). In addition to everything else, I'm a woman. One who looks even more feminine than average. I've got to fight tooth-and-nail to be taken seriously in this "boy's club" industry. At least my fiance and co-founder is a Computer Scientist (who, even with his amazing IT security career, including working for the military and international public transit systems, and contributing to data security laws here in Canada), finds it tough to make money these days, hence our startup. I'd gladly take you on, especially if you have some skills outside of web development, and you can remote into our work in Toronto, Canada and South Africa. We could pay you once we start making SOME money... I'd have to learn more about you though, honesty.

Thank you so much for your response Kimberly! I've sent a reply via email to you at your coldstream.ca address with some more information about myself and how I look at things.

Thanks once again for the opportunity!

"We could pay you once we start making SOME money" <- I could do this too.

I think your best shot, if you don't care about the money short term, would be in trying to get a traineeship job; here in Germany for instance most companies are always willing to take extremely cheap employees regardless the background, as long as you show you can do stuff, and a 6 months traineeship at a middle sized company would do wonders to your chances to find you a job afterwards, imho.

Other than that, either find a friend/relative who could recommend you to a company, or make money on your own, for example by building a small web SaaS and charging for usage, since you seem to have the tech skills for it, and what is not technical (e.g. how to charge customers, how to set up a business) is trivial to learn with a bit of research on the internets.

Sounds like you have a portfolio of work. If it's quality work you can use it to get a good job. Follow these steps - Find the right companies to target, locate the hiring manager (not HR) and develop your personal marketing campaign. People get hired to solve problems. Use your marketing campaign to show that you know the problems the hiring manager is facing and offer solutions. Done well, it leads to that all important interview, - As a veteran CEO, I developed this process to help people in your position get a job.

Stay the course!


Bob Prosen CEO -The Prosen Center

I make 6 figures as a software engineer with an English degree. I used my freelance portfolio and experience in a different field (test prep) to land a job at an educational tech startup. I then used that experience to apply for the next job, and so on. Try to find a company in a field where you have non tech experience and get them to hire you as a developer. A CS degree is not as useful as someone who gets the industry.

"Try to find a company in a field where you have non tech experience and get them to hire you as a developer."

How can I get a company to hire me as a developer without any real experience?

Feel free to shoot me an email (address in my profile); depending upon the languages you know, I may have some work for you.

I've sent away a email to you, explaining my current skills and what skills I'm trying to evolve.

one simple rule: be cheap.

don't ask for a salary that will make the graduate seem more appealing. after you gain experience, ask for a higher salary.

The salary isn't really the thing I'm after. I just want to build things that people use...

To gain the experience, I need a job which gives me experience. And to get this job so I can get some experience, I already need experience.

from my experience I can tell you, that employers can trade your lack of experience for a lower wage.

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