getting a degree
This is one that, as you might expect, comes up a lot around here! Degrees are often listed as a requirement for jobs as a filter to make dealing with loads and loads of applicants easier, even when a hiring manager in question would in fact be perfectly fine with hiring someone without a degree for that position. You can sometimes even think of it as outsourcing part of the vetting process - a degree means that A) a college admissions team selected that person B) that person worked hard and smart enough to pass a series of tests. A "better" college or higher degree shows this person passed some stricter vetting and worked longer/smarter. So, if you see a job that says "CS or other programming-focused degree required or some such… keep in mind that this doesn't mean that you must have that degree to get the job – it's often more of a shortcut for a hiring manager or HR team to slim down their applicant pool rather than a quote-unquote "real" requirement. This isn't to say degrees aren't valuable, or that all job openings that "require degrees" don't actually require degrees (you can't be a doctor without a MD!) but if you think about what a degree represents, are there other ways to show that you have something similar?
The problem then is in A) getting someone to take a serious look at your application without a degree B) competing with other people who may have a degree. That being said, it's always a task to get your application looked at, and it's always a task to get a job vs. other people who have arguably "more qualifications" than you. For those, things like having a warm intro from a mutual connection helps with the former, and your interviewing skills + portfolio + other unique qualities about you help with the latter.
Oh and Jane take a look at this article too. Salient point there:
"…People who weren’t applying believed they needed the qualifications not to do the job well, but to be hired in the first place. They thought that the required qualifications were…well, required qualifications. They didn’t see the hiring process as one where advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications. What held them back from applying was not a mistaken perception about themselves, but a mistaken perception about the hiring process."
"When it comes to applying for jobs… of course, it can’t hurt to believe more in ourselves. But in this case, it’s more important that we believe less in what appear to be the rules."
When you see a job description and you think you can do that job (and do it well), apply for it!