Here is how I've landed jobs and contracts that required a degree, with NO degree.
My high school guidance counselor forced me into taking Building Trades when I was a sophomore. I wanted to take the Business curriculum, but he literally said I wasn't smart enough. Back then, if he said I wasn't good enough for the Business curriculum, I couldn't take it.
He forced me into taking Masonry the first year and then Woodworking the second year. Honestly, it was the worst two years of my life. I was forced to do something I didn't want to do. Let me tell you, I couldn't build a level brick wall if my life depended on it. When I graduated high school the cabinet that I was supposed to build was uneven, unfinished, and honestly pretty hard to look at.
Being forced into this, I nearly failed high school. I was unhappy and miserable doing something that I had no desire for. This made it even worse. Because I had bad grades, I was labeled. I was labeled and written off as someone who probably wouldn't contribute to society. They had me convinced I was pretty much a failure, so right out of high school I took a factory job and had given up my dreams. Now I was even unhappier than before. I had pretty much accepted the fact that I was a failure. No dreams, no drive, no future.
Years later I found IT. I took a Desktop Support job knowing nothing at all, but I read answers out of a book when users called in with problems. Slowly I started realizing how much I liked computers and IT in general.
I quickly moved to network admin, systems admin, consultant, and then landed my first job in a SOC on an FAA contract. From there, I found a passion for penetration testing and pursued it. Fast forward a few years and I was a certified QSA for the PCI Counsil and was doing security auditing for companies processing millions of credit cards a year. Five to eight years after that I took my first contract as a vCISO.
I want to get across two points:
1. Don't ever, and I mean EVER let someone tell you that you aren't smart enough to do something. That is not their decision to make.
2. Nearly every job I landed through my IT career required a degree. If you recall, I didn't have one and still don't. I can tell you that it is a fact that many job descriptions are wish lists. If they say you need a degree and you don't have one, apply anyhow. As long as you have the skillset, you can still be an asset.
I promise that you have ZERO chance of getting any job that you don't apply for. I am one of many who have pushed through to beat the odds.
I later served as the VP of the School Board for that same school. Only you get to decide your future. Not a guidance counselor, HR department, gatekeeper, or even your boss.
If you need help, reach out to me!