So you love tech but don’t want a job coding every day.
Or worse, you don’t have the skills for programming or the time to develop them.
Are there options out there for you?
Here’s how to find them:
- Look for the signs you’re not a programmer or a traditional IT type.
- Find your transferable skills.
- Pick one of the non-programming tech career paths below.
This post will help make that transition easier in a few steps. Use this as career advice for you as a tech lover to understand how your IT skills transfer to other job markets. I’ve compiled a great list of potential career changes for you.
Signs a Traditional IT Role Is Not for You
Sure, anyone can learn how to program. But should you make it your career? Traditional IT roles aren’t for everyone. There are tell-tale signs that point out you’re cut from a different cloth. Let’s see if you fit the mold by looking at a few of them.
- You work spontaneously. Developers and engineers take the time to brainstorm, develop, and implement a plan for a larger project—then stick to it. Development projects require a large team of people who collaborate and have specific roles to plan throughout a project. If you’re someone who doesn’t like sticking to such plans given to them by team leaders, reassess if a programming gig is for you.
- You don’t like to self-teach. Programmers should have the skills and expertise to finish a job from day one. Team leaders will assign tasks, but they won’t hold your hand. This requires a lot of self-teaching. If you shy away from independent learning, then you’ll be one step behind in comparison to other programmers.
- You don’t like learning new languages. Programming is all about learning languages. There are logic and structure to them. There is a methodology to follow. It’s similar to learning a foreign language. So, if you dreaded taking a second language course in high school, it’s a tell-tale sign you won’t enjoy coding on a daily basis.
Take it from the experts—programmers, I mean. Most of them love coding but hate the industry. They’re passionate about side projects but don’t feel attached to projects at work.
I asked my friends in IT what are the tell-tale signs someone would love an IT job. I narrowed it down to three qualities: curiosity, ability to filter information, and being a team player.
Seems basic, right?
If you’re a lone wolf who works spontaneously and dislikes a game plan, then you won’t work well on a development team. Each person has their role and specific tasks, and if this structure doesn’t sit well with you, you’ll be the odd one out, labeled the non-team player.
Then there is curiosity. You should love solving problems. Programmers fix—they don’t just create. But to fix, you have to find the problem first. The errors are often logic-based faults. It necessitates filtering out information not applicable to solving the problem. So, if you find riddles and logic puzzles dreadful, that’s a fundamental sign you won’t like programming.
Imagine you have to sit at your desk for eight hours. You apply logic-based tests to find the problem. Does this sound like a nightmare? For those who love coding, it’s a blast. They get lost in the puzzling process.
But it also means you’d better be self-driven. Your boss won’t tell you the solution. There’s no way around being self-driven if you want to be a programmer.
You have to love what you do. This applies even more so for the coding and programming world. If you’re results-driven, then sure, having a finished product is a great feeling. You write the code for the project and see the end result. But that’s not really how coding jobs are. You should have the motivation for this work in the first place. The act itself should be enjoyable, not just the final product.
If you’re not the kind of tech developer who lives for tackling problems through logic-based solutions, then a career change might be in order. And no, you don’t have to ditch tech altogether.
Transferable Skills: What Employers Are Looking For
You love tech. That’s what matters. It’s your passion. You’ve become an expert at it, since you’ve worked in the industry for some time. You want a programming job that combines your tech knowledge with other responsibilities.
Before we get into job roles that might fit, let’s highlight some of your great skills that any company would love in an employee.
Let’s start with the basics.
Hard skills target specific jobs: coding, writing, and so on.
Soft skills reflect behavior and attitudes. They can be cultivated. And they’re often what makes employers understand whether you’re a good fit for the company culture.
While these skills don’t go hand-in-hand, some positions need an employee who has both.
You know your hard skills. But what soft skills do tech-savvy employees have?
- Resourcefulness: You want to know how something’s done and find ways to do it better.
- Problem-solving: You write programs to solve particular problems. But you want to approach the solutions indirectly and creatively as well.
- Communication: You can find ways to convey your message to those who aren’t tech-savvy.
- Learning concepts: You can follow rules, learn concepts, and apply them to other problems.
- Collaboration: You can work with others in a constructive manner.
Highlight these soft skills in both your resume and the interview process. Show potential employers you can sift through mountains of information and use it to your advantage. Show them you have given feedback to your peers and received it from them. Employers want these personality traits on their teams.
Tech-Savvy, Nontraditional Careers
You know you want to make the change. You know the skills you have to offer.
Let’s see what positions you could consider applying to ranked by lowest to highest estimated yearly salary.
Technical Recruiter ($45,064)
Because you know people and you know IT, you know who’d fit best on an IT team. Why not apply those skills in your next job? You won’t deal with coding or technology hands-on, but your skills will help you pick the best employees for these highly specialized roles.
Data Analyst ($52,981)
The strength of this job is in the title—you can put your analytical skills to the test. The ability to sift through and assess large data sets makes you a good match for this position.
Software Quality Tester ($53,646)
With this job, you’re the first line of defense before the public launch of software products. You’ll be in the customer’s seat here. It’ll be fun trying to “break” the software to find the problems, rather than write the code and fix the problem yourself.
Web Analytics Specialist ($62,464)
Ever wonder how a website’s performance metrics are trending? You’ll use your analysis skills to create forecasts and models based on operational and statistical tools. You’ll also make recommendations for process improvements.
Enterprise Software Sales ($72,325)
Here’s where you can make the big bucks on commission by using your communication skills. You’ll take a highly technical concept and convey key points and risks to nontechnical leads. That’s a skill many salespeople are severely lacking. With your background, you’ll blow away your potential employer.
User Experience Designer ($72,780)
You look at a product and think, wow, this is a terrible user interface. I could have done this better. Well, now you can. Your primary goal in this position is to increase user satisfaction. Much of your focus will be on research. You’ll try to figure out the most effective ways to structure content on a site or an app.
Growth Hacker ($74,369)
As a growth hacker, you won’t be in the IT department or marketing department. You’ll have a cross-functional role where you work closely with marketing, sales, engineering, and the product management team. You’ll find traditional and creative ideas to focus your company’s key performance indicators.
Making the U-Turn to a Different Career Path
So, you had an inkling programming wasn’t for you. You read this piece and were able to see the vital signs as to why you’re not the traditional IT, programming type. You don’t live for solving logic-based problems, and you dread tasks related to hours of coding.
But it’s okay—you don’t have to ditch the tech industry altogether. You can still have a job in the industry. And you know what transferable skills to market yourself by.
Give the career change a go. Talk to others who have positions listed above. See what their day-to-day tasks are. Pounce on the right opportunities when they come your way. Don’t be wary of such a change, but embrace it, and you’ll enjoy the path on which your career is taking you!