Choose, and get up to 6 quotes at the same time!

How to Get a Well Paying Job Without an Education

How to Get a Well Paying Job Without an Education

Article · By Jarkko Oksanen on March 24, 2017


If you don't like technology, or really doing things, this one is not for you. Go away, shush!

Don't have an official degree, but want a high paid job? Or are thinking of changing into something that suits you better? No experience? Doesn't really matter.

A lot of people are struggling to find a well paid position. This post is just about trying to provide a clear way how to get those skills and credibility. I see there is a big issue with not having enough of these professionals in the workplace, when the skills are really easy to learn.

I hear from a lot of people "How can I get this experience when people don't let me work for them to get experience". There is an answer in this article.

The article is for anyone anyone who knows how to scroll up and down on Facebook, open programs on your computer and has basic mathematical and communication skills.

I am a self-learned senior web-developer turned entrepreneur and have led development teams of up to 9 people working on the similar project. For the best jobs, I've charged up to 175€/h. I have also written a book on working remotely on Currently I am the co-founder of Inventshift and a Senior Developer at Yes, I can do both at the same time while living abroad.

I've broken this down into 5 simple steps. You might already be down at step 3 or further, and can still apply what I've stated here.

1. Choose what you want to do
2. Learn your new craft
3. Build your profile
4. Create something real
5. Apply for a position or start your career

The process should take you 3 months up to 12 months, but unless you are really bad, like really really bad, I promise that you will get job or freelancing work.

Step one: Choose what you want to be

This method can be applied to any career, but these are the ones I know about, so thats why I've chosen these. They also have unquestionable demand in the market and you can learn them on your own, and jobs generally don't require an education include;

1. Graphic Designer - If you want to be working with design, that means designing something that people will use, and what a developer codes for you. As a developer myself I know that without proper graphic design, and from a person that understand something, its very difficult to give a great results. That makes Graphic Designers very valuable. Their skills could also be use for traditional on print advertising material, business cards, and all other branding.

Tools to learn: Photoshop & Illustrator
Time to learn basics: 3-6 months
Middle level income in the US: $41,656 

After years of experience career paths to become Co-creative leads or developers could boost that up to $60,000-85,000

2. Web Developer - A lot of people think that there are so many web developers out there that there is no space. This thought is entirely wrong. There is a huge number of developers, but the best ones are very expensive and then there is a long list of developers available through upwork and such tools, but to get someone in the team in the area of a business, its still the web developers game to choose his company to work from.

Tools to learn: 

Front-end: CSS (must have), Javascript (must have), jQuery or another framework (React.js, Angular 2)
Backend (Pick one): PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python

Time to learn basics: 3-6 months

Middle level income in US$71,000

Freelancing per hour: 15-120$/h

As a web developer myself I have seen how it opens doors for you in all areas of development. I could jump into Android, Games, iOS or any other platform. Also it allows you if you have an entreprenurial heart to try your ideas out in very quick periods.

3. App Developer - As an app developer you'd be specificially creating apps for mobile phones, but this would also give you the tools to do everything for other platforms, as you will learn the basic coding through your time.

Tools to learn: 

Front-end: CSS (must have), Javascript (must have), jQuery or another framework (React.js, Angular 2)
Backend (Pick one): PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python

Time to learn basics: 4-7 months

Middle level income in US: $84,981

After years of experience career paths to become Co-creative leads or developers could boost that up to £60,000

4. Game Developer - As an app developer you'd be specificially creating apps for mobile phones, but this would also give you the tools to do everything for other platforms, as you will learn the basic coding through your time.

Tools to learn: 

Backend (Pick a few): C#, C++, UnityScript

How to learn: Install Unity 3D, develop a simple game, post it online, and use that in your CV
Time to learn basics: 3-6 months
Middle level income in UK: $62,844

After years of experience career paths to become Co-creative leads or developers could boost that up to £60,000

5. Online marketer - The craft of online marketing is full of people who do not know. It's just fascinating how many people sell services to businesses that dont know better. I am not saying that you can easily be one of them, but you could easily be one of the ones who know.

Tools to learn: 
Content Marketing
Basics of SEO
AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat

Someone to learn from:
Time to learn basics: 6-9 months
Middle level income in US: $60,619 per year.

The salary gap as a marketer doesn't exist. A company will pay you as much as you ask, as long as you provide them more value per dollar than they pay you. Simple as that.

Step two: Learn your new craft

Now that you have decided what to do, its time to learn it.

Lets start with a PHP shorthand. || means or.

So yes, you have a lot to learn to actually be in a paid position. First thing you should do is to learn some basics of your new craft. Everything is on the web, youtube is full of guides and just by googling you are bombarded with options. 

And don't stop the first day. The first two weeks you wont remember a thing. But after that you will, and then you make money. Most people do'nt go through this period of uncertainty. Just push through it, and it will actually be fun. Or not, and then it's back to the choosing board for you.

Here are some simple websites to get you started on your path. Don't spend too much time on these, as they are mostly for familiarising yourself with code or design.

General Coding:


Web Developers:

Drupal (web developers):
Wordpress (web developers):

Game Developers:

Unity3D (game developers):
Unity3D (game developers, paid):

Graphic Designers:


Online Marketing:

Google (boring but good):
Content Marketing:
Social Media:

Sorry for the lynda links, but they do give great content.

Depending on your financial situation, can you take a few months off, or are you struggling to make your ends meet, you need to gain the basic skills to get a paid position.

This step is just about getting to know the craft, and in step 4 you will be putting it into test.

Step three: Build your profile

Even more important that learning, yes, even more important, is building your online profile.

First of all.. CV's are a thing of the past. Yes, you need one, but no one will look at it. I have personally seen hundreds of CV's but never actually looked at one. Everyone writes everything in a CV. "I know how to handle horses". Really? Okay..

What I look at is what of you is visible online, and what have you done before. Do you have a personal website, are you visible on the community of which job you're trying to apply to, have you been to conferences about the thing you like. Don't worry about experience at this point, you'll create something to use as experience in step 4.

To have an adequate profile, do the following three things:

1. Create a LinkedIn profile. Cheat from mine, or someone who's even better. Just make sure you give a nice description of yourself and get a professional headshot. "Professional headshot" can be taken by anyone with a good smartphone, with professional, I mean, dress nice and take a photograph where you look approachable.

2. Create your own website or blog. Especially if you are a developer or a designer. It's so easy to show out your stuff when you have a website. To create one, google 'how to set up my website with Wordpress and GoDaddy'. And just follow that. Shouldn't take you more than one day, and maybe 30$. Adding a few thoughtful blogposts there is never bad.

3. Join the community of your craft. For example, if you're doing code, you most definitely should have a Github profile. If you're doing Unity3D, you should have a unity profile. If you're doing Wordpress or Drupal, you need to have a profile in those communities.

4. If you can afford it, attend a conference on your craft. Adding this in your profile and CV will allow you to show that you've put some effort into learning.

Now that I see your work online, and see that you have at least an relatively OK LinkedIn profile, I think you might be okay.

Step four: Create something real

This doesn't have to be anything major. With this I mean that you need to have a piece of work online that represents your skills.

When I had my first real job interview, I had 5 bad websites I could show. They were not the best, but they were something. I showed that I can do things, and follow up.

If you're a graphic designer, help a company for free with their designs.

If you're a web developer, help someone in your family set up a nice Wordpress site.

If you're an app developer, help a business to build a simple app.

If you're a game developer, build a simple game, and put it up on google store.

If you're an online marketer, build social media profiles with 1000+ followers accross different channels.

Having something real to show, this is the ultimate CV.

Step five: Apply, and officially start your new career

Now you have three things; 1. Credibility through your profile, 2. Skills (at least some) through what you have learnt online, and 3. Something real to show. These three things will put you past 95% of the competition out there. Most people show up with nothing. So now to the next important part. How to actually nail the position you want.

So first of all you need to decide what sort of a position you want. A freelancer, part-time or a full time job. Or do you want to start your own business. I recommend the last one, having a company is fun. But yeah, go with the full time example.

Find out what you should be paid. This is easier than it sounds. You must know someone in your are who works in your craft. Just ask them, they will be happy to tell you. I made a big mistake here in a few of my first applications. I asked for 1600€/month in a position that minimum pay for is 2800€/month. If you don't have any friends or family to ask, ask the "interwebs", it usually knows.

Getting an interview

Go to, Monster, or any other job searching tool, and find 10-50 of interesting places to apply for. Then go to LinkedIn and find the person who is responsible for recruiting. He could be a senior developer, marketing manager, lead developer or the CTO. Then approach them via a simple email or a LinkedIn message.

Hey John,

I would love to get an internship at your company, as I believe I could help you with your development after a few months of internship. I am not looking for an immediate paid position, but a chance to show that I can be of value to your business.

I believe my motivation, attitude and skills can be of great use to you.

Not to go too deep on that as so much content already exists, for example:

If you think you are good enough, you can leave the non-paid part out of it, and just go for a regular position. To be honest it should be enough, but if you want to really learn and provide value, and you can afford it, a 1-3 month unpaid internship might be just the thing you need to make sure your career picks off. I'd rather go back and intern for free in a great company, than go work with a starter salary in a bad one.

Thats it. If you keep applying to 10-20 per day for two weeks, and again, you don't suck, I'm sure you will get an interview or ten. If you're struggling with getting an interview position or have done self learning, shoot us a tweet at @inventshift_ and we'll sort you out.

Nailing the interview

There is a million things written on this so I'll just share two pointers. Google if more if you must, but the three things we've already established will go a long way. Anyways, two more things.

1. Learn about the company you're going to apply to
Know the company, and quote their goals back to them to show that you care, and want the position.

2. Show how you could help them
If you're an app developer, or a web developer, look at their products, note down some bugs, and then tell in the interview that you'd love to fix this and this and this. Impressive, right?

3. Send a thank you email

Last step! If this helped you out, leave a comment here, or shoot us a tweet on social media, I would love to hear your story!

Also, if you are interested in helping Inventshift scale to the world, get in touch!

Article by:

Jarkko Oksanen
on March 24, 2017