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Do you currently have openning in software project/product management? If so can a person with experience in those roles get in without a college degree?

Veteran

James Halstead Grand Rapids, MI

I have several years of experience but keep hearing that without a degree I will not make it in. Is there something I could do in lieu of a degree that would have a similar effect?

19 October 2020 4 replies Career Advancement

Answers

Advisor

Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!

Advisor

Julia Scott Spring, TX

Hello, & thanks for doing the fighting for us!

Some IT groups look to licenses with software packages (MS Project & the like) and may consider a person who has experience with the same type/ scope of project management who can talk to a successful project launch or two under their belt. At every company I worked for, they all hired a lot of contractors to be a part of projects. The good ones got scooped up at some point, and put to work in IT somewhere.

A bigger company may have a requirement for a 4 year degree in order to be hired or to advance to management levels. I came into my last full time job as a Robert Half Accountemp with no degree, but all of the job skills required and then some (experience with SAP, Oracle, D&B). After a year they hired me, and I worked there for 13 years- retiring at 56.

Robert Half has an IT group as well here: https://www.roberthalf.com/employers/technology

Best of luck to you!

Julia

Advisor

Mary M. Burns Chicago, IL

Good morning Private Halstead,
Thank you for your thoughtful question and for your service!

As a Career Coach working with many who express interest in the Product Management career path (for a wide range of tech firms of all sizes), my guidance is that the PM role will require an important degree -- most firms today will look for the MBA and express it in their job specs/postings as a "desired qualification". Many tech firms recruit from business schools because of this.

At the same time, there is possibility to break into a software project management (and a tech-related career path) or earlier roles without a computer science degree. I've seen some take a four month program through Fullstack Academy (there are many programs like this nationwide) and land worthwhile roles within tech for large companies and small ones. Even have seen some make a major career change to tech through a program like Fullstack. This might be a more expedient path and option for you if a formal degree isn't at this time.

In addition to the above, if you are not familiar with Builtin.com, I highly recommend it as a worthwhile resource for professionals interested in tech. You'll find a portal that includes tech hubs around the country, companies that offer remote work (for you in GR) and many resources that can help you with a search.

Please be in touch with any questions or if I can be of further help to you. My work email is: mary@adviseu.net. Have a good week and stay well!
-Mary

Advisor

Samuel Rueben Hoboken, NJ

Hi James,

The short answer is absolutely, you can transition into software and product management without a degree. The most important part of this process is to make sure you have a solid portfolio or detailed examples of works you have created. For example, if you are applying to a position that requires you to manage software using Python, having 2-3 projects that you used Python to refer to (and can share with your interviewer) would help demonstrate your experience and expertise. Especially for roles like a software manager or other technical roles, hiring managers focus much more on experience than schooling.

Good luck and if you have any questions about this or want to discuss what a related project would look like please feel free to reach out to me.

Best,

Sam Rueben

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