Despite the highly-publicized mass layoffs in the tech sector over the past year, unemployment among tech workers remains remarkably low. Opportunities for IT professionals are abundant, partly because of the trend toward digital technologies in all sectors of the economy. Virtually every business now relies on technology to some extent. And experts predict that the demand for skilled tech workers will only continue to grow.
Traditionally, people needed strong math, science, and coding skills to enter the tech field. Other hard and soft skills were of secondary concern. However, as technology becomes ever-more ubiquitous, new tech roles are being developed that don’t require coding expertise, including those in the areas of:
- Business analysis;
- Systems administration;
- Digital marketing;
- User experience design;
- Content management and journalism;
- Graphic design;
- Technical recruiting;
- Technical writing;
- Sales; and,
- Cyber security.
If you’ve been considering a career change, there may be a perfect opportunity within the tech sector even if you don’t have a background in technology. As a piece at CompTIA points out, “The key ingredients to success in IT are excitement and willingness to learn. The technical skills you need can all be taught, but without the right soft skills, you may not rise to the top in tech.”
Your Skills and Interests
One of the most critical skills for those in the tech industry is the ability to pivot as needed. Tech moves very quickly, and to be successful, those in the field must be keen to learn and excited to try new things.
Beyond the ability to adroitly manage continuous change, several other soft skills are easily transferable and highly valued in the tech sector.
One of the best ways to become adept at handling change is to embrace continuous learning. Because of the rapid changes within the tech industry, those who seek out learning will stay on top of new trends, tools, and languages. That knowledge allows tech workers to stay relevant and also increases their confidence in their ability to learn new concepts and pivot as required.
If you are considering a move into the tech sector, the best thing you can do is find opportunities to increase your overall knowledge of tech. Read online articles, enroll in a certification course or boot camp, or seek out friends and mentors who already work in the field.
Even if you are planning to start in a tech-adjacent role (such as a business analyst or digital marketer) and not work directly with technology, some IT knowledge will serve you well in your new role, enhancing your understanding of the work you do and your ability to communicate about tech issues with your team.
If you have a natural curiosity and enjoy learning, the tech field will welcome you.
Having a flair for communicating is critical in tech. Regardless of your role in the field, collaboration – and hence, communication – is almost always necessary, as IT professionals will need to talk about ideas, projects, and issues with teammates, clients, vendors, and senior management.
However, if communication is one of your key skills, you can capitalize on it in the tech sector by considering jobs such as PR specialist, copywriter, social media manager, and sales representative.
Multitasking and Organization
The ability to multitask and stay organized are important skills in most tech-based jobs. However, these skills are especially critical for IT project managers. While it’s helpful for IT project managers to have a background in technology, so that they fully understand the projects they are coordinating, it’s possible to come to the role through business administration or another career track. IT project managers establish plans, prioritize projects, problem-solve on the fly, and provide leadership for their teams so that projects can be completed on time and within budget.
If you rock at multitasking and organizing, project management may be a terrific career path for you to follow within the tech field.
It goes without saying that IT professionals need to have strong analytical abilities. In many tech roles, you need to be able to diagnose technology issues and find logical solutions to problems. This frequently means things like figuring out why data isn’t rendering appropriately or why a server is down.
However, strong analytical abilities can be very useful in non-tech roles within the tech field as well. For example, business analysts often migrate from a non-technical role to a more technical one over time. As part of their natural career progression, many business analysts take on more IT-related projects and, as a result, they develop the necessary skills to move towards a technical business analyst role.
Problem Solving And Resourcefulness
Two key skills for tech workers are problem solving and resourcefulness. The ability to approach a problem with curiosity and resourcefulness in order to find a solution serves IT professionals well. It also serves those looking to enter the field.
If you don’t have a technical background but are keen to perform hands-on work with tech, you can pick up a lot of technical skills just by tinkering with tech and trying different things through trial and error. And resourcefulness helps not just with finding solutions to tech issues but with figuring out how to find a career niche in the tech field that will welcome you and your skills.
At their base, all great tech innovators are creative, developing innovative and even revolutionary products and solutions. Without a tech background, creativity can still be put to good use in the tech field, in roles such as graphic designer, visual designer, marketing specialist, and content creator.
Desire To Make The World A Better Place
When you think of the stereotypical IT professional, working alone, hunched over a computer, writing code, the desire to help people or to make the world a better place doesn’t seem to fit in that picture. But, actually, as pointed out in the piece at CompTIA, “Information technology jobs are some of the best careers for people who love to help others.”
After all, most tech roles ultimately assist others in some way, whether your work involves creating new technology that will make their lives easier or solving tech problems for them. If you don’t have a tech background, you can still combine a career in tech with changing the world for the better. You could work with a charity or nonprofit as a visual designer or content creator; or, alternately you could work directly with people in a role like ultrasound technician or other diagnostic medical sonographer.
If you are currently employed in a different field but are considering a move to the tech sector, it can be difficult to figure out what you have to offer the tech industry and which niche you may be able to move into. While many of the open roles do require a solid understanding of IT concepts, gained through learning and work experiences, many others require only minimal tech knowledge.
By leveraging your existing skills and interests, you should be able to find many opportunities within the tech field even if you don’t have a strong tech background. The current high demand for tech workers is expected to continue to grow, and with the astonishingly low unemployment rate for IT professionals, many employers will be offering lucrative salaries, benefits packages, and perks, in an attempt to fill their open roles. Despite all the news cycling about mass layoffs in tech, it’s a terrific time to consider moving into the field.