What do you think of when you picture a technology professional? You probably envision someone working in seclusion, pounding away at a keyboard for hours at a time, composing countless lines of confusing code. It’s true that some tech pros do that, but not all jobs in technology revolve around programming.
Above-average earning potential and increasing job opportunities make the tech field an enticing industry for job-seekers. But it can seem intimidating to an outsider looking in. You’ll be happy to hear that the fact that you’re not keen on coding doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you in the tech world.
Technology is like any other field in that there are a variety of opportunities for people with all kinds of skill sets—not just hardcore programmers. We connected with some tech professionals to get a closer look at four jobs in technology that are perfect for non-programmers. *
1. Information technology (IT) project manager
These project managers are masters at making sure IT projects stay on time and on budget. This position would require you to plan projects, guide technical staff and help bridge the gap between the business side of the company and the technical side.
Keeping everyone on task is the main goal – if the project falls behind, the IT project manager will have to answer a lot of questions from an unhappy boss.
It’s critical that project managers actually understand what the project needs, as opposed to what the written requirements of the project are, according to Rob Fitzgerald of The Lorenzi Group.
He says this can be a challenging task because they’re not always the same
“Too much information gets lost in undefined terms and acronyms,” Fitzgerald says. “It is the [project manager’s] job to provide all stakeholders accurate information in an ongoing, timely manner.”
It’s likely that everyone you’ll be working with will have an abundance of tech skills, but you won’t have to. Some skills you will need include time management, coordination, critical thinking and management skills, according to O*Net Online.
2. Quality assurance (QA) analyst
QA analysts are responsible for finding bugs in software, reporting those issues and following up to ensure any errors have been corrected. This means you’ll spend a lot of time testing and using programs like Bugzilla or JIRA to log the problems you encounter, but you won’t be the one actually fixing the problems.
“As a manual QA analyst I will be the first to admit I am not a programmer,” says Zach Ribbe, QA Specialist at Collegis Education.** “Programming is still a foreign concept to me at times.”
Some specific skills QA analysts need, according to O*Net Online, include: active listening, complex problem solving, critical thinking and systems evaluation. Interacting with others is a large part of the job, so it’s important to have superior interpersonal skills.
Ribbe says that QA analysts don’t have to type any code but that some knowledge of code is helpful because it makes your reporting more effective. “Your main duty is to find and report the issues, and see that they are fixed by the development team,” he says.
3. User experience (UX) designer
UX design was dubbed one of the best jobs in America by CNN due to its low stress and appealing job flexibility. A UX designer focuses on making websites, programs or applications more intuitive for the user. This means people with a background in design or psychology already have skills applicable to this career, according to Jessica Greenwalt of Pixelkeet.
“Most of the UX work I do involves researching how current and desired users of a product are behaving and planning the product around this behavior,” Greenwalt explains. “For websites, the planning process involves creating site maps, user flows, wireframes, and eventually mockups.”
Successful UX designers tend to be quick learners who are extremely detail-oriented and very receptive to feedback from others, according to a post by UX designer Jessica Ivins. She also stresses the importance of having a curiosity about people and technology. She says it’s a basic understanding of coding is helpful, but you don’t need to be a programming master to excel in this position.
4. Computer systems analyst
You may not currently be familiar with this job but it won’t stay under the radar for much longer. Computer systems analyst ranks number two in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Technology Jobs” and “The Best 100 Jobs” lists.
Computer systems analysts make sure a company’s hardware, software and networks are working together properly. Specific job duties include researching new technology, working with managers to understand how IT is used within the company, testing new systems and training employees. A computer systems analyst must also be a team player, understand how various technologies interact and be adept at problem solving.
These professionals need a variety of hard and soft skills to be top-notch in the profession. Important skills for computer systems analysts include critical thinking, systems analysis, complex problem solving and sound decision making. Much like our other featured jobs, programming knowledge can come in handy but is not a major component of this career.
Find your place in the tech world
First impressions are important but they’re not always correct, as proven by the stereotypes of working in technology. Now you know there are career options for all sorts of individuals in the tech industry.
So there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of the exciting career potential in this field. Just remember that jobs in technology aren’t just for coders. The tech world needs people like you, too! The key is finding the opportunity that best suits your skills and interests.
*Job descriptions and skills needed came from the U.S. Department of Labor (onetonline.org)
**Collegis Education is the marketing vendor for Rasmussen College.