When we think of the IT industry, the first profession that comes to our mind is that of a Programmer. But not everyone is cut – out to be a Programmer.
Learning how to code can be daunting. Frustrating. Perhaps even scary. However, the tech industry is huge. If you suspect that coding isn’t for you, know that there are many technical jobs out there that don’t even require coding.
As there are 3 times more tech jobs for non-coders than for programmers, this article is divided in to 2 parts. In the first part of the article, I will be discussing 5 jobs roles, followed by 5 more job roles for non-coders, in the IT industry in my next article.
From the outside, it might seem like the software development cycle is pretty simple: a customer (within or outside of a company) tells the developers what they need, the developers create it, and that’s that. But it’s a lot more complicated. The requirements that the customer has rarely translate to technical requirements smoothly — there’s a lot of interpretation and translation that has to take place before everyone understands each other.
This is where the business analyst comes in: they bridge the gap between customer and developers by gaining a solid understanding of what the customer wants the software or product to do and turning that into a series of tasks that the developers can deal with, one at a time. After going through all of these tasks, the developers will have created a product that satisfies the customer.
Project / Program Manager
Project and program managers often have related responsibilities to business analysts, but need to have a higher-level understanding of a company or project group. The best managers in the tech world learn to understand programmers and complement their needs rather than get into the nitty-gritty of coding. Project managers are in charge of specific projects, and often have to coordinate the priorities and actions of a range of parties, from developers and engineers to marketers and salespeople.
Program managers have a similar job, but generally work at an even higher level, managing a number of projects across an organisation, ensuring that the projects help further the company’s goals. This could involve helping to determine the course of development across different products, as well as working closely with a number of project managers to oversee the progression of multiple projects.
User Experience (UX) / User Interface (UI) Specialist
This job role involves how users interact with a website, program, or app. This role can involve skills from design, psychology, human-computer interaction (HCI), and others. When websites, programs, and apps are being developed, UX/UI specialists sketch out wireframes and mockups, test models on users, and provide guidelines for designers to complete.
Sysadmins, as they’re known, are often viewed as the handymen of an IT department. They take on everything from unboxing and setting up servers, to backing up files across the entire company, to creating firewalls to protect the network, to getting an email server back online when it goes down. Some companies have a number of sysadmins with distinct specialties, while others have a single sysadmin that takes on any project needed.
As you might imagine, having some programming experience — especially with scripting languages, like Perl or Ruby — and having a solid understanding of how to run a wide range of commands through the terminal are very useful in this position. Successful sysadmins have a wide range of skills, including people skills for working with frustrated users who can’t check their email or submit their project reports.
The technology industry is enormous, and it has room for all different kinds of personalities and skill sets. So even if you’ve never written a single line of code in your life, don’t assume that tech is not for you. Start experimenting with some of these skills; you never know where it might take you.