IT careers for non-technical people
January 24, 2014 | By TEKsystems
Don't have a computer science degree? Don't know how to code? Don't worry—there are still plenty of IT career opportunities for you. The booming IT industry requires people with a diverse set of skills and offers excellent opportunities for gaining new expertise.
Non-technical roles at information technology companies and IT departments
Maybe you don't even consider yourself a techy person. Luckily for you, information technology services actually benefit from having team members who have strengths in other areas, such as communication or foreign languages.
It's important to be able to learn and understand technical concepts, but you can develop much of this knowledge on the job. Michal Tsur, the president and co-founder of Kaltura, told Mashable that execution is more important than experience. In other words, like other industries, most people start their careers with high learning potential and develop the specific skills as they go.
A number of positions that are in high demand at information technology companies are great entry points for people without a technical background.
- Technical writer or editor. Software companies need an array of documentation, from user manuals to executive summaries. Job candidates with strong writing skills can find these jobs even if they're not intimately familiar with computer programs. In fact, sometimes a lack of a technical background enables writers to communicate more effectively with the people who will be relying on their documentation. The essential skills for this career include the ability to write clearly and pay attention to detail, Labor Academy noted, and technical writers must have the capacity to understand the systems they write about. From here, many writers may develop subject matter expertise to transition into other roles.
- IT training or technical support. Software companies and industries that use technology need people who are good educators and problem-solvers. For example, an electronic health record company needs trainers to teach its own employees and clinicians how to use the program and comply with regulations. Instead of explaining the technical aspects of the software, these teachers need to master workflows so they can guide users through their tasks. As corporations expand their IT infrastructure, they need to train employees on company processes and security protocol.
- Project manager. Project Management Professional certifications are widely marketable, as most industries need people who can lead projects and adhere to budgets. While the certification is a nice touch, the main point is that technology companies require staff with management talent. Roles for these professionals often include acting as a liaison with customers, so people skills and organizational abilities are attractive qualities to have. [Search project manager jobs]
- Sales staff. Every business needs customers to buy its products, and for many companies, this means having a dedicated sales team. Successful salespeople develop a deep understanding of the service or product they're selling so they can build trust with client, but this specific knowledge is usually learned after they're hired.
How to get your foot in the door
If you're interested in IT jobs, you can bolster a non-technical background by emphasizing the skills that are valuable for IT services. Tsur emphasized that intelligent people who are fast learners are attractive candidates for a number of positions, and industry-specific knowledge is also in high demand. For example, IT teams that support business intelligence need professionals with marketing, analytical and management skills. To showcase your strengths, Tsur recommended attending networking events and impressing recruiters with creative resumes.
You can also pursue certifications or learn some skills on your own to make yourself more competitive. Non-technical certifications, such as project management or corporate training, are useful for a wide spectrum of careers. If you want to work your way into a more specific technical role, consider earning one of these certifications that CIO recommended for IT careers:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
- VMware Certified Professional (VCP)
- CompTIA A+
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library
- Cisco certifications
- Microsoft certification
Certifications show that you are serious about the profession and willing to master new knowledge and skills. While an official certification makes a strong statement on your resume, you can also benefit from educating yourself, such as learning basic HTML and website design. These opportunities can give you a competitive edge even if you don't have a technical degree or background.
See the cost, prerequisites and benefits of popular IT certifications with our at-a-glance chart.