So you’re looking into careers in tech. When I first started to entertain the thought of transitioning into tech, my first impulse was to look at some job vacancies to see what was needed. I soon wished I hadn’t, as I found this exercise particularly daunting and confusing. It seemed to me that similar jobs bore different titles – and sometimes even vice-versa: very different jobs that came under a same position title. That seemed c-r-a-z-y! It also felt terribly intimidating as, for someone resolutely non-tech, words like engineer and architect or technician seemed to be well beyond my reach.
Yes; when considering switching to a new career, this is, in theory, not the first thing you’re supposed to do. The first conversation you’d need to have with yourself is more along the lines of inventorying the assets you bring to the table – your skills, your experience, your personality, your aptitudes, your passions. However, I kind of feel like writing this post now, and to paraphrase an old song, ‘it’s my blog, and I write what I want to…’ :). Just make sure you come back to read my post on self assessment. Soon-ish.
In this post, I’ll share with you the way I’ve structured the info as I tried to make sense of the world of tech in my mind. I’ll do this on a big picture kind of level; later, I’ll come back with a series of posts in which I’ll go into detail for every type of position. For now, I suggest you disregard the terminology – either way, frequently terms are used interchangeably. Developer – programmer, specialist – analyst – technician; coordinator – lead/er – manager – director; administrator – architecht – engineer…. forget these for the moment. Rather, focus on finding a match for your experience so far, your ambitions for the future and your interests learning-wise. Picture yourself in these positions and see which are the areas that might put a smile on your face.
Hopefully, when all is said and done, you’ll have a clearer picture of where you’re heading, what competences you have already under your belt, and what you will need to work towards. Without further ado, here’s a list of tech careers for you:
First, there’s the ‘serious’, ‘hard’ programming (coding)
Software developer and, as a separate flavour, app developer. Also, closely related to them – are positions such as Tester and Quality assurance specialist. Highly sought after but requiring extensive and very technical training and experience. Require logical and structured thinking, a good attention to details, and lots of math (bit of a show-stopper for me :)) In principle require a formal degree but employers increasingly look at portfolios and skills rather than at paperwork.
Next, there are the web-related jobs
These seemed to me slightly more accessible for the non-tech person with not so much time on their hands and eager to be ‘operational’ sonner. They include:
- Web designer – the creative and artsy person working on everything the user sees – the images, the animations, the colors, the fonts, the layouts
- Web developer – the technical person who builds the backbone of the site and uses specific web languages, basically bringing the design to life, ensuring its functionality
- Web page builder – creating websites using Content Management Systems (such as WordPress) – basically just configuring a pre-existing tool to create a website without using hard programming
- and the Webmaster – the person maintaining the site when it’s already live – keeping it up and running effectively.
If you are a people-person (understand / love people, have a good sense of communication and empathy)
You might want to look into the following:
- UX / UI designer – two sides of the same coin – the first focused more on the overall feel of the product, on the logical sequence of the steps needed to use a product. On the other hand, the UI designers is mostly concerned with how the product is laid out; their job is to put into practice the path specified by the UX designer while maintaining consistency
- Enterprise software sales – this is rather self explanatory; the tech side of it means you’d have to understand the product, master the relevant terminology and occasionally communicate feedback to developers
- Tech support specialist – provide advice and assistance to consumer who encounter technical (software or hardware-related) problems
- Tech recruiter – identifies candidates for IT positions, reviews applications and presents information to hiring managers
- Program / project manager – different roles but similar tools and techniques; in a nutshell, the program manager is the person with the big picture, working more of a strategic level. On the other hand, the project manager works at a ‘deeper’ level, making things happen; in both cases tasks include managing teams, resources etc to get the work done. The difference between the two will make more sense later, when we look at them in more detail.
And, speaking of managers, there’s also the Product manager – whose responsibilities covers the entire life cycle of the product from concept to design – testing – production – promotion – support etc
A path slightly lighter on the tech side
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist – working to harness the power of search engines to drive traffic to a site
- Technical writer – writing manuals, technical specifications etc. A separate flavour might include creating other types of supports such as video-tutorials etc.
- Analytics manager – works to create effective strategies to collect / analyse data, conduct research – basically transforming raw data into business insights
If you’re into information management and data bases
- Knowledge manager – that knowledge is an asset is undisputed today; the knowledge manager works to collect, organise and manage organisational knowledge across the organisation to better serve the business purpose
- DB administrator – plans and develops databases, troubleshoots, monitors the performance, integrity and security of the databases
If you are more the hands-on kind or like to be helpful
- Systems admin – installs, configures software, hardware and networks, monitors their performance while ensuring security and efficiency
- Computer support specialist / Helpdesk – troubleshoots computer-related problems over the phone or electronically; analyses problems before solving them to prevent them from recurring.
If you’re a child at heart 🙂
- Game designer – works on the game concept – characters, setting, story, levels, animations – in brief, is responsible for the overall creative vision of the game
- Game developer – has the technical skills needed to turn the vision of the game designer into reality, by converting the sketches and storyline into a playable product
- Game tester – the most fun job of them all – working to test the games thoroughly to uncover potential bugs before they are released to the public
And finally, if you’re into all the cool new trends, you might consider
- Artificial intelligence
- Machine learning
- Internet of things – web connected products
- Assistants (such as Siri, Alexa, Google home etc.)
- Security / risk manager
- Data scientist / data mining
Of course, there are SO many other tech careers, but I thinks this is a good start. Somewhere among these, or close by, might be your new career. Back soon with detailed information on each of these career paths.