8 Non-Technical Roles Ready to Jump into IT
Tech is one of the fastest-growing career fields worldwide. According to the Brookings Institute, the digital economy has grown two and a half times faster than the rest of the global economy the past 15 years. It's also a stable industry with tremendous job security. Cybersecurity, for example, suffers from a perpetual shortage of qualified professionals. Experts estimate that the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide will hit 3.5 million by next year. The pay isn't shabby, either — the global average salary for a tech worker in a major city is $135,000 (USD) annually.
Imagine being in an industry uniquely positioned for remote work that pays six figures and doesn't have an unemployment rate. It's easy to see why many people are considering transitioning into information technology, which leads to the question: which non-technical roles are ready to jump into IT? Although you can launch an IT career from virtually any job, these nine roles are uniquely positioned to transition to tech jobs.
How to Get into IT from a Non-Tech Job
Knowing how to make a career transition to IT begins with identifying where you are. If you have one of the nine jobs below, you've already got a set of skills that will make it easier to move into a tech role.
Transitioning to IT as a Product Manager
Anytime a new product is developed and brought to the market, a product manager is leading the charge, and their job continues as long as that product is used by consumers. Product managers lead cross-functional teams with a mixture of technical and non-technical professionals, including such varied roles as engineering, technical support, sales, and social media advertising.
A product manager's primary job exists in the business world, where talk of profit and loss (P&L) statements, marketing, and detailed forecasting dominate their day-to-day. However, they also need to understand and speak enough technical jargon that they can understand what their programmers and developers are telling them about what's going on with product development. Having a somewhat extensive tech vocabulary, coupled with regular exposure to tech development, makes product managers an excellent fit for a switch to IT.
Finding a Tech Career as a Visual Designer
The term visual designer is relatively broad and a bit of a catchall because it can cover dozens of different types of design roles. You'll find various kinds of visual designers in virtually every industry, designing everything from social media banners and email marketing graphics to stylish clothing and building interiors.
While most visual designers today heavily leverage powerful software to do their jobs, being an expert in a particular program doesn't necessarily mean you're working in a tech role — although it can certainly be a launching pad. Visual designers can easily transition to user experience (UX) design roles for mobile apps, websites, and software programs. Working in UX design makes it easy to find career opportunities in every tech field, from programming to IT.
How to Become a Tech-Oriented Operations Manager
A typical operations manager is someone who ties everything together. They handle strategy, personnel, budgets, and of course, day-to-day operations. An ops manager in a bakery might not have much tech exposure, but it's relatively easy to transition those skills into an operations manager role in an IT company or a tech-oriented department in a large corporation.
As you deal with various subordinate technical roles, you have the opportunity to learn as much as you can absorb everything about IT. Becoming an operations manager makes transitioning to an IT career relatively straightforward.
Switching to an IT Career as an Account Manager
All businesses depend on customers, and the bridge between a company and its clients is often the responsibility of an account manager. Some of the core competencies of an account manager include excellent people skills and phenomenal problem-solving abilities. Because the focus is on customer relationships and facilitating continued business transactions, account managers are typically non-tech roles.
However, being an account manager can give you a fantastic degree of exposure to IT. If your company sells tech products, learning every detail of its inner workings will only make you better at your job and can set you up for a switch from account manager to IT professional. If you work for Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, for example, and the products you manage are anything but technical, focus your attention on learning about your company's and client's IT systems.
Transitioning as a Project Manager to an IT Role
Although there can be quite a few similarities between product managers and project managers, they're two separate positions. One of the most important distinctions is the length of time they're engaged with something, which affects every facet of their job. A product manager is responsible for that product for as long as it's around. For some software systems, that could define a person's entire career. However, a project manager knows that one of the defining aspects of a project is an end date that is scheduled before the initiative is launched.
This temporary nature means that project managers will encounter numerous ventures throughout their careers, each with unique elements and various levels of exposure to tech environments. You can intentionally pivot your job to focus on technology initiatives and use that as a springboard to jump from project management to IT.
How to Become an IT Professional as a Technical Writer
Any company that markets technical products or services will have to write user manuals and product guides. Technical writers have to be skilled enough at their craft to absorb detailed specs and convert that knowledge into instructions that are clear and easy to understand. While tech writers can have an IT-related background, they usually don't. In fact, many companies intentionally hire tech writers who have zero technological training because they'll presumably be able to relate to readers more effectively.
This industry tendency makes it relatively easy to use technical writing to position yourself for a transition from a writing career to your first IT job. If this is something you're interested in, ask for the most complex projects you can find and use them as opportunities to build your technical knowledge and skill sets.
Going from IT Trainer to IT Pro
Numerous tech companies provide training to users who aren't technically oriented, and the people they want for these roles are prized for their ability to teach. Typical training for an IT instructor revolves around workflows and the product's UX, not the technical underpinnings. That doesn't mean you can't learn them, though.
As an IT trainer, you're uniquely positioned to access various tech professionals and use the product you're teaching as a springboard into an IT role yourself. When students bring up a unique issue they've experienced, don't just hand it off to tech support, dig into the problem yourself. Leverage the opportunity to learn about how the IT world operates so you can switch from teaching to working in IT.
Moving to a Tech Career from a Non-Tech Sales Staff Position
Salespeople are prized for their ability to market veal at a vegan convention, not necessarily their technical acumen. However, the more you know about the technical aspect of whatever you're selling, the better you'll be at your current job, and the more qualified you'll be to jump into a technical role.
Being good at sales is a nearly universally transferable skill, so seek opportunities to sell products or services related to information technology. Once you're there, dig into every aspect of what you're moving and pull those threads until you have the knowledge you want to obtain. Making the switch from sales staff to IT is an excellent move and relatively easy to accomplish.
Transitioning from a Non-Tech Role to a Career in IT
The common denominator in all of these positions is the principle of blooming where you're planted. When you're tempted to ask what non-tech roles are best suited for a switch to IT, remember that anyone from a copywriter to a salesperson can transition to a tech career — if they look for the opportunities. Curious about the IT job market? Use our free interactive State of IT Jobs map to survey the landscape.