Question: I want to work in tech but don’t want to code or be an engineer. What are my options?

Answer: Breaking into tech is actually not as mysterious as you would think! From content marketing to user research to design, data science or project management, there are numerous non-engineering roles at tech companies where there is no coding involved. 

Here is a quick & dirty break-out that I’ve drawn up; by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully, still useful: 

Stated as concisely as possible:

  1. Choose MARKETING if you’re interested in helping the company make money quickly, running campaigns, being creative (to various degrees). This is also a great area for bountiful career options & solid pay ($75k+ in San Francisco)
  2. Choose SALES/BIZ DEV/PARTNERSHIPS if you appreciate a good hustle. You love talking, working with a lot of people and you enjoy venturing out into the unknown & trying to make something out of all your business ideas. This is great training ground for having an overall understanding of how companies work & how they are run. The pay here tends to vary significantly. Sales starts at $50k and is heavily commission based while partnerships or a growth role can place you at $80k. 
  3. Choose PRODUCT & TECH if you want to work closely with engineers & have a deep appreciation for users & the product. You really can’t go wrong here in terms of pay; they’re all quite high paying ($100k+) and intellectually challenging. So I’d base it off of what skillset you have and how good you are at it. In this area, people don’t care about your talk — they want to see what products you’ve delivered to users. 
  4. Choose GENERAL MANAGEMENT/SUPPORT if a) you have a specific undergrad degree/skillset (ie. Finance, accounting etc) b) want to be in a technical role outside of engineering (ie. Security, fraud, tech ops — these all can pay very well, too, which doesn’t hurt ($90k+)) or c) have no idea what you want to do & don’t want to develop a super specific skill set right off the bat; you can try out a role in HR, corp dev or recruiting pretty easily, as long as you have a referral & some sort of professional experience. 

Additional thoughts & commentary

No matter what area you end up in, you will learn quickly about the unique aspects of working in tech & have an opportunity to transition to other types of roles as you learn more about what you like & don’t like. I’ve been working for 3 years and been in Business Growth, Marketing & now Product management! So don’t be afraid that you will get stuck 🙂 

Links 

  • eBay job’s site outlines different roles in tech nicely – career.eBay.inc 
  • Facebook’s site also has a cool assortment that includes hardware, creatives & other areas that I didn’t squeeze into the graphic above – Facebook careers