Media Industry Jobs You Can Get without a Degree

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Jobs in media often require a bachelor's degree at minimum, but many employers are more concerned with practical experience. A search of job listings for Apple, for example, shows that degrees are not commonly listed among the minimum requirements. Google's parent company, Alphabet, similarly avoids listing a four-year degree as a hard requirement for many openings, instead using the phrase, "or equivalent practical experience."

Proven skills are a higher priority for both tech giants. In a field as broad as media, this means it sometimes is possible to get your foot in the door in positions that require specific skills as long as you can show that you have those skills. Technology-based positions and advertising sales are common examples, and media companies need employees with those skills and others.

Information Technology

Whether it is news and information, entertainment, or some other form of media, technology plays a vital role. News organizations in particular rely on computers and networks to distribute content digitally and to stay connected with coworkers, sources, and more. IT specialists play a vital role in this aspect of the business.

  • Network technician: With changing technology and changing content on media websites, technicians are needed to regularly perform maintenance and troubleshoot problems.
  • Support specialist: Users and employees alike sometimes need assistance, and support specialists provide that help. For example, a reporter having trouble uploading content may need help, just as one of the subscribers to a site might be having difficulty. Either situation requires someone who can walk the person through the troubleshooting process and solve the issue.
  • Network operations analyst: This type of IT specialist evaluates a computer system or network to make sure it is functioning efficiently and properly. Tightening or testing network security may play a role.
  • Web developer: The web design skills needed for this position can be developed through experience, trade programs, or two-year degrees. Media companies need websites that can be updated easily and quickly and allow for interaction with users.

Sales & Marketing

Anyone with proven sales skills can find a job without a college degree, and the same goes for those who have a knack for generating buzz or getting people excited about a product or service. News organizations and other media outlets need people who can sell advertising across multiple platforms—print, radio, television, online, and more. Like advertising, marketing is a skill evolving rapidly with the explosion of social media, and proven skills in that area are more important than a degree.

  • Social media coordinator: Managing the social media accounts for a business requires a combination of expertise with social media platforms and traditional marketing skills that involve strategies for reaching customers and potential customers.
  • Marketing representative: Knowing how to build a media brand can be learned on the job and developed through experience. Public and media relations skills need to be combined with customer outreach across both traditional platforms and those involving new media.
  • Advertising sales representative: Sales are about revenue, and if you can generate revenue, you'll always be able to find a job in sales. If you're really good at it, you should be able to earn a high income through sales commissions.
  • Digital content coordinator: This is about more than just posting content online. Through knowledge of web analytics, viral content, and search engine optimization (SEO), content needs to be provided in a way that keeps customers coming back or directs them to related media properties online. People in this position work closely with social media coordinators.

Audio & Visual

Television stations, radio stations, recording studios, and other similar businesses need professionals who can operate the necessary equipment. Most skills can be acquired through trade programs or with two-year degrees.

  • Camera operator: If you can spot a good shot when holding a camera in your hand or tell a story through your pictures or compelling video, work behind the camera can be found. This can be in a news environment where you are shooting live video where stories are happening, or it might be in a studio, filming commercials or similar productions.
  • Broadcast engineer: Not all engineers have degrees. Broadcast engineers cover several key positions, and at some radio and TV stations, they also cover IT departments. You may be repairing the station's transmitter in the morning and installing new firewalls on computers in the afternoon. Requirements for the job usually include knowledge of both old and new technology.
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