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Jobs Where Coding Gives You a Competitive Advantage

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Published

22 Sep 2016

Segment

career tips

Duration

9 minute read

Coding is a wide and varied field with a world of possibilities. Outside the world of software engineers and front-end developers, there are many jobs outside the industry where working with code sets you apart.

Technical Writer

  • You write documentation, Q&As. One foot is in the technical arena, and another from the perspective of a user.

  • This is multifaceted, high paying work. Skills you will use on the job include design, usability and testing, interviewing and listening, and writing skills. It requires consistency and structure in your writing.

  • It’s not as big in the software world as it used to be, as UX roles gain prominence. It’s fading out world for consumer software, as FAQs and the onboarding experience ‘act’ as the reams of text traditional documentation would have. Some who worked as technical writers now work as testers, product managers and user interface designers, for which they all have easily transferable skills.

 

Digital Strategist

  • To put it really simply, digital strategists take the lead in helping clients figure out how to best use the internet to achieve their growth objectives. You might also hear them called ‘growth hackers’ amongst the tech crowd.

  • You’ll definitely need to know HTML and CSS, but it’s useful to have a grasp of JavaScript as well. You’ll know all about interaction and have an eye for design. You work with paid media: adwords, fb ads. You’re persuasive, and not afraid of using and creating analytics tools.

  • Here’s a story about two political digital strategists.
     

User Experience Designer

  • A user experience designer knows about methods and possibilities, and advocates for solutions that would improve user experience. However, they (mostly) leave coding it to the developers. A great user experience designer asks good questions and can negotiate. They may also make high fidelity prototypes.

  • Sarah Drasner and Katrin Suess are just two of many super talented User Experience Designers out there!
     

Software Tester

  • A software tester works throughout the entire software development lifecycle. They both test the code, and usability, working alongside developers and designers.

  • Mike Hamilton and Alex Lazaris are two Software Testers in Sydney that we had the pleasure of hosting as mentors.

  • Companies you might know relying heavily on testers include: Dolby, Zendesk, BigCommerce, Intuit.

Technical Project Manager

  • Technical project managers are responsible for managing technical teams. There’s a bit of a debate going on about the level of technical knowledge that a technical project manager should have. In small teams, technical knowledge is more important, but in larger ones, there will be sub-team leaders and technical coordinators to function as the ultimate subject matter experts.

  • It also depends on the company, though. Google and Palantir for example, want super technical project managers, while some other tech companies don’t mind so long as you have experience in at least one development sub-field.

  • You’re a good communicator and you’re organised. (At least at work, I should hope!). You’re what is referred to as a ‘servant leader’; you understand that at least part of your job is making life easier for your reports by dealing with management for them.

Digital Producer

  • Designing, managing and (sometimes) developing online content. Some digital producers are more like project managers, especially at larger companies. You might use straight front-end skills like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and you’ll also know about how to use animation, and image and video manipulation software. Digital producers mostly work for news companies and agencies.

  • You can find jobs for Digital Producers at Saatchi & Saatchi, News Corp Australia, and even Uber.

  • Your technical skills are somewhat of a combination between a front-end developer and UX designer, and you have the pay packet to match.
     

Business Analyst

  • The eye of a software architect, who prefers to be on the business side. You liaise between technical teams and business teams. You have technical product knowledge, and understand project management tools and processes. Other tasks include stakeholder management, requirement analysis, process modelling, option analysis, engagement planning, running workshops, writing use cases, as well as other business analysis activities and tasks.

Systems Administrator

  • Sysadmins are familiar with the operating system(s) and its commands/utilities at a user level. They have the ability to edit files, use basic utilities and commands, navigate through the file system, and install software on workstations. They understand security issues, record retention and destruction, user identity management, and they know how to monitor logs for policy violations and system breaches.

Technical Sales

  • These are sales professionals that have technical knowledge of their product or service. This more relates to specialised products and services - usually B2B in the case of code. They usually work with other technical staff from other companies as clients, hence the need for deep product and industry knowledge.  

Release Engineer

  • This is part of DevOps. A release engineer tracks all dependencies, writes docs, writes all build-related tools, and makes sure that any developer can get up and running very quickly. Moreover, the build engineer should make it easy for developers to add new tests and files to the current project.

  • Build engineering requires more scripting skills than any of the above jobs. It’s a crucial piece of the puzzle when onboarding a new developer, or a developer to a new project, especially if the workplace is a BYOD type of environment. Learning to code is definitely an asset for the job; it’s fair to say you can’t be a build engineer without it.

  • Karla Reyes, Build Release Engineer at Tesla, is a prime example!
     

Technical Recruiter

  • A technical recruiter who can code, or failing that, recognise good code, could have a leg up on other technical recruiters. They would certainly be better at identifying non-mainstreamed talent, without the traditional signifiers of ability.

  • Steve Giles from Lookahead Search and Elissa Shevinsky from Kearney Boyle Executive Search are two examples of technical recruiters who put the ‘tech’ in ‘technical’.


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