With the changing world of work, it’s a good time to get into tech. However, we’ve come to realize that some people aren’t sure how to get into tech or where to begin.
Those who don’t have a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical) background don’t understand how they fit in, are too scared to get in, or don’t know the right way to move into the industry.
In this article, we will clarify this with the aim of keeping you better informed. If you are interested in the tech space but don’t know how to code, if you are open to becoming technical or if you want to learn how to code, this is an article to read. Read: These Are The Locations Where You Can Find Tech Jobs In Canada
Understanding the tech business
When most people think about landing a role in tech, they automatically think they need to become a software engineer, artificial intelligence expert, etc. This is not always true.
A tech company is like any other traditional business and just like any other business, as much as they need to create their software or product, they equally need to be profitable to stay in business.
What does this mean?
It means that even though there will be very technical roles within a tech company, you can equally look towards the business functions that support the company and helps it stay profitable. So if you don’t want to code this is something you can explore.
For our case study, we’ll look at Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries, and more.
On visiting Netflix’s career site, you’ll notice that there are majorly 4 divisions: Product, Corporate Functions, Marketing & Publicity, and Content. Within each division, there are a number of job positions that break it down into smaller units.
The core engineering team for example houses a number of the ‘tech’ roles that are commonly known like software engineer, database solutions engineer, Full-stack engineer, etc.
See the screenshot below.
Every company has a problem they seek to solve and this applies to Tech companies. Netflix, for example, has sought to provide on-demand entertainment services which means that they will need people dedicated to creating and managing content.
What does this mean for a person who is not technical?
You can decide to grow your career around the business side of things for these tech companies without necessarily becoming a software engineer. You can review the required skills for each role, and see where you fit or whether you have transferrable skills that can be applied to the company.
Many roles that exist today didn’t exist a few years ago and this is because as technology improved and tech companies increased, it gave rise to a number of new functions within companies.
Understandably, most people don’t know some of these new roles and that’s why if you are serious about working in the tech industry, you should make the extra effort to find out these roles and how you can be better prepared to work in such functions.
a. Improve your skills and identify transferable skills
Before applying for a role, look at the qualifications section of the job description and recognize any area you may be lacking. If you are short of some qualifications, take courses, and feel free to bring this up during the interview. It shows self-improvement.
Also, identify your transferable skills and highlight them on your resume. If you have previous experience in a different industry, you’ll have picked up non-technical skills that will serve you well. These include problem-solving, data analysis, communication skills, project management, etc.
You should use this to your strongest advantage as it will come in helpful.
Read: Step-By-Step Guide: Resume Format For The US & Canadian Job Market
What if you want to become technical but can’t currently code?
a. Consider landing a non-technical role
One option is to land a job in a tech company in any of the roles which aren’t technical and don’t require you to code.
Often times, being in an environment that motivates you inspires you to learn more. Landing this job will give you the opportunity to understand how the company operates, what the product is built on or how the infrastructure works and with this, you can learn how to code part-time with the intention of changing departments in the future or changing companies to a more technical role in the future.
b. Set your self apart from the competition
If you can show a basic grasp of common coding languages, plus a keen interest in furthering your skills, it will take you really far and help set you apart from the competition
There are a number of courses that you can take online via edX, Udemy, Pluralsight, etc. and they offer technical affordable courses written by professionals. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions from other students and get feedback from the instructors in many cases.
Also, book time with a mentor in the field that interests you to give you an understanding of what you can expect and what to prepare for.
c. Have a story
If you don’t know how to code and applying for a role, it can become competitive and you need to set yourself apart. It’s advisable to understand the business of the specific company and how the role you are applying for helps the underlying business.
Why should they hire you? Think of a story that ties you to the company.
For example, with the Netflix scenario, if you were applying for a Content Designer role, your story may be:
I have always enjoyed storytelling from childhood and wrote my first storybook when I was 4. Of course, it was somewhat poorly written (insert casual laughter) but I still have a copy of the book and the funny colorings to date.
When I first learned of Netflix a few years ago, I remember creating an account, watching a couple of movies, and knowing that I wanted to be a part of something great. I like the comfort of staying at home but yet watching quality movies because I have some form of introversion to my personality. This is one of the reasons why I want to work for Netflix coupled with my educational background in content writing and strategy and my passion for storytelling….
If you want a role in tech and have had no previous technical experience a start-up is always a good place to begin your career. Small companies have changing priorities so you’ll have the opportunity to work on a number of things while building experience and gaining more skills.
Be open to taking on an entry-level role
If you are currently in a high-level job and looking to pivot to tech, you may have to apply for junior positions when establishing yourself in a tech field. This might mean that you have to take a pay cut but it could turn out to your advantage. This is where the culture of the company could turn out important.
If it’s a company that rewards hard work and you are able to improve your skills over a couple of months, you may have career advancement.
Read: Interview Preparation 101: How To Excel As An Immigrant
- Do a quick search on Google for “Tech Companies in [Insert City]“
- Pick at least 5 companies that show up and visit their Career page to understand the roles that exist for each company
- Choose a maximum of 3 roles that attract you and you have transferable skills in
- Prepare 3 resumes for each respective role taking note of the required skills and keywords
- Apply for the roles on the company website and visit job boards to search for the roles using the job title
- Begin your job search for these roles you have identified
This seems like so much work to do but it’s basically some form of career mapping. By identifying these roles, you’ll identify high demand roles in the tech industry that actually interests you.
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