For the purpose of this resource, we are defining the technology “tech” sector to be an industry centered on the creation and distribution of goods and services that are based on technology. These goods and services can be anything from software (e.g., Microsoft Word) and hardware (e.g., a desktop monitor), to information technology like the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what shows up on your news feed. It is important to note that the technology sector extends much further beyond household names like Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple. While these are the most prominent companies, there are thousands of small and mid-sized companies that don’t make the headlines but are excellent places to work.
While coding or computer programming is a key role in the tech sector, it is only one of many potential avenues to enter into tech. You don’t need to be a software developer and you don’t even need a technical background to break into tech. In fact, you’d be surprised to know how many things you DON’T need to enter the tech industry. You can find some of them below.
You don’t need to be good at math or computer science. Contrary to popular belief, working in technology is not limited to being a software developer and writing code. You don’t need a computer science degree, or a degree in a technical field like math or science at all. Like any other company, tech companies require all different types of skill sets and occupations to run effectively. For example, while a company like Apple requires hardware engineers and software engineers to create the iPhone and all its functionalities, they also need designers to think through the end user’s experience and marketing experts to hash out how to reach target consumers and cultivate a leading edge with competitors. Additionally, like any other company, Apple requires human resources personnel to support its ever-evolving staff, accountants to perform financial management, and communications experts to set the company’s public relations strategy. For any company in the tech sector, there are many roles and occupations that sustain it – and each role is a potential foot-in-the-door to breaking into tech. See below for some examples of common, in-demand, and non-technical occupations that could land you a job in technology.
Popular non-technical jobs in tech (see here for more)
- Sales manager
- Human resources
- Product manager
- Social media manager
- Digital strategist
- Search engine optimization manager
- Web content master
You don’t always need a degree. Whether or not you possess a college degree, dialing in on the right set of skills is crucial to landing your dream tech job. With all the free and low-cost learning resources available today, obtaining a college degree is not always necessary to gain the right skills. Completing specialized programs such as bootcamps or earning a certification can help you get those skills.
You don’t need to live in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is often thought of as the global epicenter of technology, but cities like Austin, Atlanta, Portland, Boston, and New York are also established, bustling tech hubs. Due in part to the COVID pandemic, tech companies are now leading the way in offering fully remote employment. This is great news for people who live in rural or suburban areas, where technology companies may not be as present. As technology companies decentralize, job roles that can be performed from anywhere are becoming more common.