Around one in four young Australians drop out of high school before they finish year 12, according to the Mitchell Institute's Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015 report. The study also estimated that 81,000 young people have not been adequately supported by the education system.
If this is you, don't despair - you're not alone, and no qualifications doesn't necessarily mean no job. Volunteering, identifying your soft skills, learning how to bring new ideas to the table and being able to teach yourself certain aspects of tech are four avenues that will help you to get a career in tech even without qualifications.
So that tech job you've always wanted is either asking for a degree or 2-3 years experience in the industry. You have neither. Don't worry - volunteer! A lot of technology businesses can't afford to have fancy internships but could still do with a bit of extra help. Try emailing local companies in the area asking for volunteering opportunities, and follow it up with a call a few days after to show how committed you are.
Don't just look at tech and digital businesses - there are a lot of companies in need of technology overhauls or improvements. If you have a few tech skills already, or think you can teach yourself some, you could be just the person these sorts of organisations are looking for. This is especially the case for not-for-profits, who might not be able to afford to hire paid staff for tech improvements.
2) Identify your soft skills
Over half of respondents to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation survey said GPA was unimportant in potential candidates. This means around one in two recruiters won't be bothered by your lack of qualifications. Instead, you can use soft skills (such as communication and interpersonal skills) to get that job. In fact, 56 per cent of recruiters surveyed by Jobvite said that professional and social networking was important in the hiring process.
Making the right connections (especially during your volunteering time) and showing you have the full range of necessary skills to succeed in the workplace can definitely work to your advantage in the job hunt.
3) Bring new ideas to the table
In a recent interview with Talent Account Manager Jon McCahon, we found out that candidates who can bring new ideas to the table at interviews really impress recruiters. So, spend some time researching different technology trends, and thinking of new solutions or ways of doing things. Consider writing them up and sharing them on your LinkedIn profile and other social media platforms.
If you came up with an innovative idea during your volunteering experience, it's a good idea to prepare a document or PowerPoint that shows exactly what you did and how you managed it. This is something you can attach to job application emails and even bring to interviews.
When applying at an organisation, look at their current services or technology capabilities. Think about what they could do differently and tell them directly. This will show you're already able to add value to the company before you've even started the job.
4) Teach yourself
Take a look at the available job opportunities in tech and see whether you can teach yourself any or all of the skills required for them. For instance, there's plenty of online learning platforms that can help you get ahead with web analytics, coding and app and software development. It might not be possible to learn everything there is to know about these complex fields, but even giving yourself the basic background knowledge and showing recruiters what you know will help you get your foot in the door.
If you've followed these steps, see what jobs we have available here.