Looking for a career upgrade? Here are the tech equivalents of some common jobs (you’re closer to being qualified than you think).

Many people are interested in the tech industry, and the high pay associated with many tech careers is no secret. But how do you break into it? Believe it or not, you probably have some solid career experience that can quickly translate to a more lucrative tech job. Naturally, there will be some learning curve, but you’ve likely already done the hard work of creating some sort of professional identity and skillset. Now you just have to make the shift into tech — which, based on the number of job openings, might not be such a stretch.

infographic by Modis

In case you hadn’t noticed, the tech industry is growing. A lot. A report published by CompTIA (Cyberstates 2015: The Definitive State-by-State Analysis of the U.S. Tech Industry) indicated that the total number of tech jobs is just under 6.5 million in the U.S.

The jobs are out there (see our previous post on current job postings in Idaho!), you’ll just need to highlight the skills you have and work on brushing up the ones you don’t (BoiseCodeWorks’s Evening courses are designed to do exactly that).

Below are five tech job titles and the more traditional roles that might have prepared someone to enter that field, based on one’s talent, passion and experience.

Architect, Fashion Designer, Graphic Designer → Web Designer

Web Designers come in all shapes and sizes, but at the core is a love for aesthetics and function. You can leverage your eye for design and your ability to empathize with your clients’ experience to create beautiful, functional web interfaces. To get into the field, take some online courses on programs like Sketch and Illustrator, or consider a design course at a code school (like ours, which is starting soon!).

For more of an understanding on what web designer’s do, check out this article on Brian Hoff and then read about more helpful skills you can acquire in web design.

Project Manager, Operations Analyst → Technical Project Manager

Project managers take multi-tasking to a whole new level. Managing work flow, balancing budgets, status reporting, and minimizing potential risks are just a few aspects of their job. Technical project managers implement the same expertise with the added bonus of working with developers and programmers on their team. For this reason, they must be well versed in how digital products are built and have the ability to help troubleshoot any snags in the process. If you don’t want to become a developer but you’re interested in learning how developers work (i.e., how to speak their language and understand what their pain points are), we strongly recommend trying our After Hours Foundations course: https://boisecodeworks.com/Courses/Foundations.

In the meantime, check out this article on how PM’s practices are evolving with the help of the software industry and NASA: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/what-successful-project-managers-do/

Retail, Customer Service, Hospitality → Technical Support

Good customer service can make or break a business, and employers are always searching for those who have cultivated effective people skills. Customer Service people offer support, gather information in record time, and are able to problem solve on their feet. These skills cover a wide range of jobs such as retail, hospitality, and food service. A Technical Support Specialist must identify problems quickly, find answers and guide clients through some corrective steps to remedy their issues. This field can also be extremely appealing to those looking for flexibility as many tech support jobs offer options to work from home and adjustable hours.

Check out this opening at Boise newcomer Paylocity to get a sense of what the job entails.

Industrial Designer, Market Researcher, Cognitive Psychologist → UX Designer

UX Design is fastly becoming one of the most rewarding and popular jobs in tech. It blends user experience with psychology, technology, and aesthetics. UX designers embody many different qualities, but typically they have strong research skills, an understanding of the technical side of things, and an eye for design. Market researchers know how to organize client-based user tests, compile data, and effectively interpret their results. If you enjoy design, research, and planning, then you’ll love creating products that bring a smile to your users’ faces.

Here’s a list of some influential UX blogs to get oriented.

Novelist, Journalist, Copywriter → Technical Writer

Good content seems to be needed everywhere, no matter the industry. Take your current writing experience, whether you’ve focused on news articles, blogs, and product descriptions and spin it towards tech. Get to know the latest software, new products, and industry lingo and then try your hand at writing a few posts. Being able to show a future employer a portfolio of tech content (even unpublished) is always a plus. Technical writing can cover anything from product tag lines to manuals, so find an aspect of the industry that you are passionate about and start generating some content!

Don’t forget to check out examples of technical writing blogs as well as some excellent examples of technical writing for inspiration!

There are hundreds of roles within the tech industry and this list only touches on a few. Don’t be afraid to leverage your existing skillset to find more lucrative work in a field you’re passionate about. You may just find your perfect upgrade!

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