How to Break into the Tech Industry

Nov 18, 2021

7 Min Read

Technology has had an extremely significant influence on modern humans. In turn, we idolized tech icons – Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and others. Kids grow up with a dream to work in the tech industry. Some people realize later in life that they want to have a well-paid job in tech. Contrary to popular belief, one doesn’t need a technical degree or coding skills to break into the industry.

When searching for a job in the tech industry, you’ll find that a STEM degree goes a long way. However, many tech companies hire people without technical degrees as well. Startups aren’t just composed of programmers – they also have finance, sales, and marketing departments. A candidate can use their experience in these fields to get their foot in the door.

I am a prime example of an outsider who started off her career in tech. That’s why I decided to become a career coach and help others start their careers in tech. When it comes to launching your career in this field, starting without experience is the hardest part. 

Here are fairly easy entry-level jobs in tech that you can use to get your career started:

Customer Success Manager – Median Salary ~$70,000

Individuals in this role must ensure that the product sold to the customers (usually software or another tech) is always accessible and works consistently. Customer Success Managers team up with sales managers and participate in making a sale. Their role further increases once the sale is made. Customer Success Managers are usually the intermediaries between the customers and the corporate team.

According to industry insiders, the role of CSM is to prevent the problems and if there are any, resolve the issues before customers notice them. In addition, individuals in this role maintain constant communication with the customers to ensure their satisfaction. 

Since communication is their primary task, it is advantageous for CSM to have strong presentation skills and experience in dealing with customers. Most colleges have a curriculum that develops these skills as well. This position offers many possibilities for growth. A customer success manager can get promoted to leading positions and even become a vice president of customer experience. The exposure to technical details also allows you to branch out into product management or marketing strategy roles.     

Help Desk Support Technician – Median Salary ~$42,000

Companies often hire support staff to assist customers in resolving product-related issues. Support technicians are only responsible for responding to customers’ inquiries. To be helpful, individuals in this role must have a good grasp of the product’s hardware, software, and inner workings. In some cases, they may be asked to note their actions.

Individuals who work in this position must be aware of customers’ emotions when interacting with them in person or from a distance. Their actions must assure the customer that they are taken care of. After a successful stint in this role, an individual can be promoted to various IT and customer service roles.

Technical Consultant – Median Salary ~$76,500

Due to their expertise in a narrow field, technical consultants are highly valued employees. Most consultant positions require some experience, but companies sometimes offer 24-month programs where graduates with technical degrees have the opportunity to learn on the job. These roles usually involve working with users to assist with technical problems.

Due to the nature of the job, the individuals working in this field must adapt to changing environments and be willing to learn on the job. Technical consultants can continue rising through the ranks as a consultant or pivoting to similar product development roles.

Social Media Strategist – Median Salary ~53,500

Individuals in this role are tasked with maintaining the employer’s social media presence. Since the growth of social media platforms, companies realized they needed a dedicated person responsible for keeping their presence on these platforms, driving engagement, and, most importantly, delivering helpful content. In addition, every media platform is different in one way or another and needs a specifically tailored strategy.

This role requires a lot of creativity. Sometimes, social media strategists also analyze data, write content, and even design advertisements. However, the primary purpose of their activities is to observe social media trends to produce engaging content. Individuals in this position can become social media managers or have a more prominent role as digital marketing professionals.

Web developer – Median Salary ~$60,200

Web developers’ primary responsibility is developing and maintaining company websites. There are three distinct types of developers: front end, back end, and full-stack developers. Front-end developers develop the user interfaces and shape the overall look of the website. Back-end developers work on algorithms and inner mechanisms of the application. Full Stack developers are capable of doing both jobs. To get a job as a web developer, you must know at least a few of the many programming languages.

Having a portfolio of personal or professional projects will help you land your first web developer job. In the best-case scenario, every project should contain explanations behind your decisions and a list of programming languages used to accomplish the task. You should also lay out your intentions and goals. Web developers can be promoted to more senior positions.

Talent acquisition coordinator – Median Salary – $49,370

Companies hire talent acquisition coordinators to aid in the talent recruitment process, which involves finding promising candidates and convincing the talent to join. Talent acquisition coordinators are often responsible for arranging the interviews and establishing communications with the candidates. Tech startups take the hiring process very seriously because those with the best teams usually have a big advantage over their competitors.

To succeed as a talent acquisition coordinator, a candidate must have excellent communication skills. Communication with hiring managers and others within the company will be an integral part of their everyday tasks. Knowledge of hiring tools like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed are important, but not necessary. 

Outstanding individuals who fill this role can empathize with prospective employers. A great coordinator will remember the details of every prospective employee’s perspective and act following their needs. Potential hires shouldn’t feel ignored by the company. 

Thanks to their everyday tasks, talent acquisition coordinators develop a wide variety of skills, which they can use to move their careers forward. They can move up the career ladder into the HR department or focus on more technical fields.

Software Developer – Median Salary $72,620

Companies need software developers to build their codebase and develop highly functional applications. Usually, software developers are categorized in the same way as web developers: front-end, back-end, and full-stack.

Software developers are required to have a technical degree or strong technical background. They must be fluent in one of the many programming languages. When it comes to the educational experience, candidates with strong experience can be given an exemption. It is essential to have logical skills and instinct for developing scalable applications. Most important of all, software developers should be sociable to some degree, as they’ll spend most of their time working in teams. Software developers should be able to formulate their thoughts and communicate the reasoning behind their decisions.

Competent software developers can choose the management route and lead the teams of other engineers, or even advance further up in management. They can also become technical experts and act as advisors to the company. Their main responsibilities will include coming up with an overall strategy for a startup.

UX Designer – Median Salary $74,770

Someone who aspires to work in this position should have an eye for design and functionality. A UX designer tries to predict the user’s behavior and design the interface accordingly. People in this role often research users’ needs by communicating with them. They also closely work with the web development team.

 UX designers are highly creative and capable of designing beautiful interfaces. Besides using these skills, they also collect users’ feedback and document it in an organized fashion. UX designers analyze how users interact with an interface. Based on the results of their research, they make recommendations for what the interface should look like. UX professionals seek to answer the following questions:

  • How do users interact with the application’s interface?
  • What are the user’s needs?
  • Which parts of the design affect the user experience?

UX designers’ daily tasks are not as technical as those of web developers or software engineers. Instead, user experience is concerned with human behavior. For this reason, non-technical people can pursue careers and easily succeed in this field. UX design often attracts people who are interested in graphic design or psychology. Outstanding UX professionals can be promoted to senior positions in the same field or product development.

There’s no shortage of interesting roles in the tech industry. Some of these roles aren’t strictly technical and don’t require a STEM degree. Other professions require some technical knowledge, but you can still use your social skills to great advantage. 

Creating excellent applications requires extensive teamwork, so interpersonal skills will become even more valued in the future. Not having a STEM degree is no longer a barrier to succeeding in this field.

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