10 Job Titles for Making a Career Change into Tech
How your career outside of tech can set you up to succeed in your tech dream job.
Switching careers can be an incredibly daunting prospect. Especially if you’ve spent 5, 10, 20 years building your career in an industry that has completely lost its luster for you. After all, is it really worth trading an unfulfilling but familiar career for a brand new job that is completely foreign to you?
Maybe…or maybe not. Usually, if you’re facing the decision to start over in a new career it’s because you can see that there is not a future for you on your current path, or least not one you are interested in pursuing.
I know plenty of us at Skillcrush have been there. Customer Support Manager Kelli Orrela left behind an unfulfilling business to work in a career that had always fascinated her (read more about how she learned to code after a 20-year career in her article, “Is it Too Late for You to Learn to Code?”)
And our former Director of Content Randle Browning decided to leave academia to work in the faster-paced world of digital marketing first at Skillcrush and, most recently, as a full-time freelancer (why digital marketing? She wrote about it for us first-hand).
But there are a ton of tech jobs out there that can build on the skills you’ve developed in a past (or current) career. That means you don’t have to start at the bottom, and you only need to add a few more skills to your repertoire to make a smooth transition into a job you love.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a nurse, an administrative assistant, an engineer, or a bank teller—you have skills that are super valuable in a tech career. In fact, plenty of careers outside of tech can be the perfect launchpad for a career in tech. Here are 10 avenues for getting into tech based on common careers.
1. Finance → Data Analyst
If you have a background in finance, then becoming a data analyst is perfect for you. It’s all about taking data and turning it into insights that business can act on. It’s great for anyone who’s used to working with numbers, and analyzing and interpreting trends.
It doesn’t matter what part of finance you’re coming from. Whether you’ve been an investment advisor or a loan officer, your background and experience will give you an edge over others applying for the same jobs. Just be sure to emphasize your analytical and data-wrangling skills!
Learn more about working in data analysis.
2. Retail → Customer Support
If there’s one thing you learn working in retail, it’s how to handle customers. Often angry, confused, or frustrated ones. And you’ve probably learned to love that rush you get when you turn a difficult experience into a great one.
What all these people-pleasing skills boil down to is this: you’re a perfect candidate for a customer support job (also called “tech support” by some companies). You’ll spend your days helping out customers who are running into issues or have questions about your product and finding great solutions for them.
We’ll provide the technical skills – you provide the people skills for a can’t lose killer resume.
Find out more about working in customer support.
3. Sales Manager → Project Manager
The main expertise project managers need is management skills, both in terms of managing people and managing the overall project workflow. That’s why sales managers are excellent candidates for becoming project managers.
You’ll need to coordinate resources, both internal and external, develop detailed plans and manage their progress, measure project performance, and manage any changes to the project’s scope as it moves forward, among other management tasks. Emphasize your experience with these things in your resume.
Learn more about jobs in project management.
4. Editorial Assistant/Copywriter/Journalist → Content Marketer or Digital Marketer
If you’ve worked in media or other editorial roles, you’ve probably spent your career creating compelling written content. You can easily convert those talents into content marketing skills.
In all likelihood, you’ve spent some of your career working with social media and online promotion as more and more news outlets and marketing companies branch into digital content. Combine years of professional writing experience with some knowledge of social media and you may have the start of a career in content and/or digital marketing.
Read our break-down of digital marketing, then take a look at the 7 best job titles for entry-level digital marketers. Or check out a day in the life of a content marketing manager.
Related Skillcrush course: Digital Marketing
5. Graphic Designer or Architect → Visual or Web Designer
Good design is good design. It doesn’t matter if that design comes to life in the form of skyscrapers (or custom homes) or websites and web apps. The principles are very similar.
Take a background in architecture, add tech skills and boom! – you can easily transition to web and or visual design.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences between graphic design, web design, and visual design. Then check out this interview with Brian Hoff to see what being a web designer is really like.
6. Engineer → Web Developer
Engineers solve problems before they occur. They are astute at seeing the big picture and anticipating all the outcomes/eventualities in a project.
Website and App programmers do the same thing! Building an app or website means creating a user-friendly interface from the get-go. Ever had an experience with an app that creates so much frustration, you abandon it? Learn digital skills and be the solution.
In your resume and on your interview, emphasize the problems you have solved before they occur and watch employers’ eyes light up!
Download The Beginner’s Guide to Landing a Junior Developer Job for more info about exactly what you need to know to move into a career as a web developer.
7. Small Business Owner → Product Manager
Product managers think strategically in order to anticipate patterns and potential opportunities in the future and act on them in a way that gives the best advantage. They also need to be super organized and able to wrangle information, both about the product and about their competition.
If you’re a small business owner – you have these skills! You’ll already have tons of experience thinking strategically, gathering information about your market and competition, and keeping yourself organized.
Those are super vital skills for product managers, who are in charge of the vision and strategy for a company’s products and services.
Find out more about what a project manager does.
8. Teacher → Instructional Designer / Online Curriculum Designer
Teachers constantly create instructional content. The best teachers have to create content that’s not only informative, but also compelling and engaging.
That’s what a Curriculum Designer does! With so many schools moving to online classes, former teachers easily segue to developing curriculum that is entertaining and informative. You’ve done it before – with the tech background, you’ll be unstoppable.
Here’s what a day in the life of an instructional designer looks like.
9. Nurse → Web Development Team Leader
Web development team leaders (sometimes also called senior web developers) support and supervise teams of developers generally working on more complex apps and websites. They need to have development skills, sure, but more importantly, they need to have excellent multi-tasking and triage skills.
That’s why anyone with experience as a nurse has a leg up over the competition. Nurses s
spend their days managing emotional patients, over-worked doctors and frustrated colleagues. Nurses are adept at juggling multiple tasks and emergencies, while keeping calm. They are perfect as Team Leads.
Check out more about what they do in this StackOverflow conversation.
Related Skillcrush course: Break Into Tech Blueprint
10. Administrative Assistant → Social Media Coordinator / Digital Marketing Assistant
Social media coordinators and/or digital marketing assistants are excellent communicators. They also are super organized – creating content, publishing, and promoting.
Administrative assistants create communications, keep everything organized, scheduled and running smoothly. See the parallels? We know you do! Admins are excellent candidateAdministrative assistants create communications as well as keeping everything organized, scheduled, and running smoothly.
Related Skillcrush course: Digital Marketing