High-paying STEM jobs are becoming more attainable for those without a degree

Careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics often command higher salaries, but do not necessarily require higher education.

That’s growing demand, with the rise of alternative training programs (such as online education and crash courses) creating more opportunities for Canadians without formal or relevant post-secondary education to enter the field.

According to a recent to analyze Led by IBM Canada, less than 10 percent of Canadian students, job seekers and career changers currently work in STEM, although roughly half of each group is interested in a career in that sector. Additionally, 66 percent do not feel they have enough formal education to make the transition.

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“You used to have to have specific accreditation from a college for specific roles, and that still exists, but we’re posting a variety of roles where you don’t need a traditional college or university degree,” Frank Attaie said. Chief Technology Officer, IBM Canada. “With a skills shortage in the market, I’m seeing more and more employers looking for skills, not secondary.”

This skills gap eventually led him to develop IBM Building skills, an online training platform offering 1,000 courses in 19 languages ​​on topics ranging from highly technical to human skills. The free and flexible online learning program allows anyone to earn “digital credentials” and is offered in partnership with 90 global institutions, including five in Canada. IBM aims to train 30 million people on the platform by 2030.

“The aim is not to compete with post-secondary institutions,” Mr Attaie said. “There’s a lot of people who might be mid-career or late-career and there’s not one who won’t do a three- or four-year degree.”

Today, many roles in Canada’s tech industry do not list higher education as a required requirement. According to an analysis of 1,000 Canadian job openings posted on LinkedIn by online learning platform ELVTR, 98 percent of virtual reality and augmented reality designer roles, 97 percent of game designer roles, 91 percent of user experience and user interface designer roles, and 80 percent of mobile developer roles do not. they need a degree. Additionally, the lowest average base salary for these roles is over $66,000, with some averaging over $85,000.

“Having a college degree is not the only golden ticket to a high-paying job,” said ELVTR CEO Roman Peskin. “This does not mean that education is not important – education is more essential than ever – but the ways in which people educate themselves have changed dramatically.”

Mr. Peskin added that the tech industry has largely moved away from traditional credentials when evaluating candidates, thanks to the ongoing skills shortage. At the same time, he warns that many employers will not consider candidates without these traditional accreditations, especially in more traditional industries or roles where higher education is the only path to employment, such as medicine and law.

For others, he says, the main hurdle is landing that first major job in a new field. “Once you do that, you’re good to go,” she said, adding that freelance and contract positions can provide a stepping stone to getting those initial work experiences.

Another significant obstacle, he says, is internal, because taking on a new profession can be overwhelming. “It’s never too late,” advises Mr. Peskin, who has switched industries throughout his career. “Don’t get discouraged, be curious and keep trying.”

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That psychological barrier remains one of the biggest hurdles for incoming students at Lighthouse Labs, a Vancouver-based education program that offers 12-week crash courses and more flexible 30-week technical education programs remotely across Canada.

“The biggest competitor for us is not the college or university; it’s just that people don’t think they can do it,” said CEO Jeremy Shaki. “Thinking you’re not good enough for technology is the biggest misconception.”

Mr. Shaki says the company’s main customers are Canadians between the ages of 23 and 35 who work in unrelated fields without formal higher education or post-secondary degrees. He explains that while many people think prior experience is irrelevant, it often makes them more valuable candidates.

“It’s imperative that the technology team works with business units, revenue teams, front-line employees to understand how to solve problems,” he said, adding that prior experience in retail, customer service or the service industry can be an asset. “The soft skills you get in dealing with difficult customers and working through their issues without being rude, how you deal with shift work, how you deal with managers, that’s what companies look for, especially in entry-level people.”

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2022 according to a Lighthouse Labs to analyze of its graduates, more than half earn six-figure incomes within four years of completing the program.

“If you’re 18 it makes a lot of sense to go to university,” Mr Shaki said. “College is much more than getting a job; it’s a privilege, it’s a network, it’s gaining dominance, it’s a variety of courses, it’s an opportunity to discover what you like.”

“You don’t need most of these things at 25 or 26,” he added. “You have to focus on the subject and enter the market to start working.”

the team ELVTRan online learning platform, analyzed 1,000 Canadian job vacancies on LinkedIn and found the top STEM jobs that don’t require a college or university degree:

1. VR&AR Designer

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  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 98%
  • Remote vacancies: 44%
  • Requirements: portfolio, knowledge of design software, passion for VR and desire to push the boundaries of what is possible in the medium.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $66,430

2. Game designer

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 97%
  • Remote vacancies: 10%
  • Requirements: Creativity, monetization understanding and extensive knowledge of gaming trends, project experience and storytelling skills.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $67,237

3. UX/UI designer

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 91%
  • Remote vacancies: 24%
  • Requirements: Experience with design projects, knowledge of wireframe tools, up-to-date knowledge of design software, team spirit and good time management skills. A high school diploma is essential for candidates with relevant experience.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $84,416

4. Mobile developer

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 80%
  • Remote vacancies: 23%
  • Requirements: Experience working in mobile application development, using automated tools for a publicly available application, knowledge of Agile development methodology and in-depth knowledge of coding standards and practices, experience working in SDK/library development.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $85,764

5. QA tester

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 69%
  • Remote vacancies: 44%
  • Requirements: Analytical skills, attention to detail, experience in QA methodology, proficiency in test management software and knowledge of programming languages.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $41,316

6. Data Analyst

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  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 65%
  • Remote vacancies: 17%
  • Requirements: Pragmatic approach, experience in data modeling and knowledge of project and performance management systems.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $69,809

7. DevOps

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 63%
  • Remote vacancies: 14%
  • Requirements: Experience with traditional DevOps tools such as Azure and AWS Cloud Services, integration and API, analytical mindset and problem solving.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $94,452

8. Product manager

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 58%
  • Remote vacancies: 11%
  • Requirements: Strong effectiveness in managing cross-functional teams, delivering refined product marketing strategies, strong presentation and public speaking skills. Prior software and web development experience would be an advantage.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $103,320

9. UX Manager/Service Designer

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 52%
  • Remote vacancies: 15%
  • Requirements: agile working, communication between technical and non-technical, community collaboration, digital vision, prototyping.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $87,169

10. Web developer

  • Vacancies that do not require a degree: 47%
  • Remote vacancies: 23%
  • Requirements: full stack web application development, using C#, JavaScript, TypeScript, knowledge of Responsive best practices and 3rd party libraries, knowledge of databases, ability of software development best practices and design patterns, ability to work closely with a team.
  • Average base salary, Glassdoor: $67,052

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