Non-technical women in Tech

Malgosia Pack
Aug 9, 2018 · 3 min read

A Force to Be Reckoned With

As tech companies get older (Apple just hit 42), bigger (Amazon >500k employees), and more diverse, who they hire, why, and for what are changing fast. Tech companies are great places to work — and despite the attention that coding, engineering and app development get, there are plenty of great career opportunities for non-tech women in tech.

Women make up about 34% of the U.S. tech sector. We usually hear about a lower number — only 12% of engineers are women. While tech companies need more women engineers, this isn’t the only road to a rewarding career. Tech has so many different layers — strategy, business processes, customers, marketing, sales. In fact, tech touches everything and everything has become tech.

Forget the idea that tech only hire techies. A quick look at all the open positions at tech companies on Glassdoor shows 43% or 53,000 of their positions are roles that do not require engineering background. At Workday, 72% of the open roles are non-technical; at Salesforce that number is 59%, according to Glassdoor’s data.

Tech companies need product and program managers, UX designers, tech writers; operations, compliance, marketing, sales, training — the spectrum is so broad. In fact, the 10 most common non-tech jobs (project manager, account exec, and sales rep are the top three) only account for about 18% of all open non-tech jobs.

All companies — and tech is absolutely no exception — need people who can think critically, make good decisions, and communicate well. These are career-making skills. Even more, they are transferable across companies and industries. If you aren’t already in tech, your experiences in other industries may be a good fit for tech. For people who aren’t engineers or computer scientists, but who can think logically, connect the dots, and make things happen outside of the code, there are opportunities in tech.

The flexibility of non-engineering roles creates opportunities for women who like a challenge.There are exceptions, of course, but generally, with tech companies growing and changing fast, new types of non-engineering roles are opening up all the time.

In tech, roles often take unexpected turns. Here’s an example from my experience. I was the program manager on a team working on a major product launch. The launch date was closing in fast when when our product manager left the team. In a perfect world, we would have hired a new PM, but since there was no time, I jumped in to fill the slot. It was a chance to take a position that had me working with external clients for the first time — a great career experience.

For too long we’ve looked at the in non-engineering background in tech as a deficit, a sign that something is lacking. But that’s just wrong. Women with non-engineering educations are a good fit for tech opportunities, bringing a needed skill set and perspective. We know that diverse teams are smarter. Why? Working with people who don’t think like you do challenges your brain to sharpen its performance. So, if you are — or would be — the only woman or non-engineer on your team, think of it as a strength and an opportunity to learn.

Women in technology are powerful. Companies, teams, and women in tech are recognizing that non-tech women are an important part of driving change. Technology is a great place to be, and as a woman — with or without an engineering background — you are or can be part of it — a force to be reckoned with.

Malgorzata Pack

Engineering Program Manager at Google

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Malgosia Pack

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Unstoppable Engineering Program Manager at Google. My views are my own.

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