Labor market experts estimate that tech industry jobs will continue to grow through 2022, and those who can keep up with the rapidly changing demands for tech skills may command the highest salaries. But George Anders at Forbes reports that many tech companies are now competing for talents with non-tech skills, such as sales and marketing, who can connect their technology with what customers actually need and want.
The more things become automated the greater the need for companies to restore human contact to reach their end users. This is why even tech juggernauts like Facebook and Uber have hundreds of job openings for marketing, sales, brand ambassadors, support, and business development, exceeding openings for software developers by more than 20%. Tech companies need people who can talk to customers, design user-friendly interfaces, improve user experience, show people how to use technology, and understand business operations.
So even if you’re not a coding whiz kid, you can still build a career in the tech industry. We took some examples from tech entrepreneur Jason Shen’s and aftercollege.com‘s lists of jobs that non-tech people can have in a tech company. Naturally, these jobs will require you to learn tech skills ideally before you take the plunge. But having skills in the following non-tech job areas can help get your foot in the door.
- MARKETING – According to Shen, this covers all sorts of channel such as email, social media, blogging/copy-writing, events, community management, and public relations to name a few. As you may notice, many of these also involve tech but largely for social purposes. If you have creative, marketing or people skills, you may be able to find opportunities in this area, especially in B2C tech companies that need to build large communities of users.
- SALES – If you have skills in sales, you may be able to find a sales career in B2B tech companies who are always in need of good sales people. The job is almost the same as in any other industry, except that you should be able to understand how your own technology works so you can show customers what it can do and how to use it.
- SUPPORT – For both B2C and B2B tech companies, an exceptional support team is usually what sets them apart from competition. If you’re the type who would go all the way to assist users/customers, this is a great place to start your career in tech. Like in sales, you need to know your own product so you can help resolve user issues.
- BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT – Some people use “business development” interchangeably with sales, but we’re going to take serial technologist Andrew Dumont’s explanation on the difference: The function of sales is to sell directly to the end customers, but business development employs sales tactics to build partnerships and work through these partners to reach new markets while also providing value to the partners. Your sales skills will come in handy if you want a career in business development, but you also need good people skills so you can build, manage, and leverage relationships not only with customers but also with your partners.
- RECRUITING – According to Shen, this role is typically filled by someone who already has a lot of contacts with tech people and experience in evaluating talents in the tech industry. But if you have neither, you can probably start with a recruitment assistant role and learn on-the-job. But a basic understanding of processes, technical jargon and the latest technologies in the market, as well as hierarchical structures within the tech industry, job market demands, salary ranges, etc. will help.
- CONTENT STRATEGY – This falls under the marketing umbrella, but with its increasing significance for businesses in general, many companies, especially in tech, are focusing a large portion of their marketing initiatives in content so it’s worth highlighting this career opportunity. The function of content strategy is to share useful information to customers or users while making sure that the brand or company’s message is consistent across different platforms. This also involves creating content such as blog posts, infographics, videos, etc., so if you have creative skills like writing, design, and media creation, this is place to start if you’re looking to enter the tech industry.