11 High Demand Jobs Prime for Career Transition

Discover the strategic, operations, and communications roles in technology and learn how to compete for them.

As the lines between the tech industry and every other industry become increasingly blurred, the call for talented coders has become widespread. Yet, for each programming job in tech there are plenty of other jobs prime for mid-career professionals ready for a change.

Most of these roles aren’t exclusive to the tech industry, though pay rates are often commensurate with tech-ability (along with other skills). The role of technology in many of the job descriptions is still evolving and varies widely by industry and individual organization. As a career, they tend to be touted less in the mainstream, primarily because they don’t align with clear-cut degree programs. Advancement to these roles is often earned through certifications and specialization, making them perfect for a second and or third career.

Here are 11 careers worth considering, roughly ordered from front-of-the-house to back-of-the-house and including everything in between. As you explore the list, you may be surprised to find that some of them are closer to your current skillset than you originally thought.

1. Business Analyst

Similar: Data Analyst; Management Analyst; Business Intelligence

The business analyst works with a variety of stakeholders within an organization to understand the goals and pathways to accomplishing them. They collaborate with IT and other diverse teams to accomplish the goals.

The context of this role within an organization can include overall business performance, business systems, functional/process assessment, service requests, agile (software), and a variety of other specializations.

This role may require a bachelor’s degree in business administration or related field but will often accept industry experience as an equivalent, depending on the organization.

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2. Tech Sales

Similar: Sales Lead; Sales Engineer

Tech has sales roles just like other industries. These folks serve as the liaison between the potential customer and engineering to determine the approach to the quote. Required experience and compensation will vary greatly by organization.

There aren’t well-established special training program for tech sales. Engineers with good communication and strategy skills occasionally move up into this role. Since commission is typically part of compensation package this role can be a low-risk way entry point for a career transition.

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3. Project Manager

Similar: Scrum Master; Project Coordinator; Project Director

This role can be as prolific as the range of projects that require their attention.

From planning to execution, PMs oversee internal and client facing projects, work to understand stakeholder expectations and estimate anticipated project cost and timeline. They are the essential project team communicator.

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4. UI/UX Designer

Similar: Interaction Designer; Product Designer; User Interface (UI) Designer; UX Researcher

User experience design is a problem-solving skill that you may or may not realize you have been developing all of your life. It requires visual aesthetic as well as an understanding of human behavior.

In addition to UX design, some companies hire designers under other names, like User Interface Design or Graphic Designer. The primary distinction is that UX handles research and design surrounding user behavior.

“UX is not just about solving problems, UX is about spotting problems” — Sarah Doody

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5. Product Owner

Similar: Product Manager; Product Lead

This role creates the priorities that drive product development based on feedback from analysts, testers, and users. They work directly with Business Analysts and UI/UX Designers to determine what will be developed next.

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6. Quality Assurance

Similar: Quality Control; Software Quality Tester

This role works on multiple levels to ensure that a quality product is shipped. In addition to manual testing methods, they often implement automated tests that can be run over and over again. They analyze the reports and look for anomalies, working with the Product Owner to address concerns.

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7. Digital Marketer

Similar: Social Media Manager; Marketing Automation

Source: ZED Digital

This role understands the product or service being developed and helps bring in more customers. They develop marketing channels through digital platforms like websites, social media, blogging, video content, and digital advertising.

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8. Program Manager

Similar: Technical Program Manager (TPM)

This role supports the development and implementation of programs. These could be internal or customer-facing, or in some cases both. Organizations may choose to develop programs to fulfill their missions, develop culture and workforce talent, or raise awareness about new products and services.

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9. IT Support Specialist

Similar: Customer Service; Technical Support

When customers experience issues with a product, this role is their first line of defense. In addition to providing basic training support, they work with the product team to identify support trends and address issues.

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10. Technical Writer

Similar: Content Manager; Documentation Specialist

This role is typically found in organizations producing a lot of digital content, from large scale project requirements to courses, blogs, or e-books. Though it is largely similar to writing in other fields, the topics themselves tend to be technical in nature and require some basic understanding of the concepts.

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11. DevOps

Similar: Systems Administrator; Continuous Improvement

The most technical role on the list, DevOps not only requires coding skills but also an understanding of the goals of the development and operations teams.


Source: What is DevOps in Simple English by Rackspace

This next-level strategic role is essential to increasing productivity of the software team and addressing risk through automation, yet even this role lacks clear and easily transferable training options. DevOps candidates often learn their skills through apprenticeship programs as well as mentorship and self-study.

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Next Steps

If you’re concerned that you are unqualified, you are not alone. The fast-paced evolution of job skills is requiring more discussions about #newcollarjobs, feeling #unqualifiedfortech, and how to deal with #impostersyndrome, in an attempt to encourage more people to overcome barriers to a career change.

Dedicate Time to Learning

In today’s workforce, everyone’s career path looks a little bit different, and cognitive flexibility is a highly sought-after skill. The truth is that most of these job descriptions are changing as fast or faster than the training programs that support them.

If you are ready for a new career challenge, take a deeper dive into the field(s) in technology that compliment your personality and your financial goals. Read job descriptions, watch videos about it, and try out an online training course. There are plenty of opportunities to develop a meaningful career and make a living while you do it.

Look Local

Many communities have non-profit organizations that work with people seeking technical jobs or transitioning careers. In Eugene, organizations like Lane Community CollegeWorksource LaneElevate Lane County, and Apprenti Careers provide support and training solutions for the local workforce. If you aren’t sure who is serving your area, search for your local workforce expert and ask them for more information.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help

Look for trusted mentors who have achieved some of your career goals to help you along the way, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. A quick phone call or text message can be a great lifeline before the next big career interview.

Good luck! We’d love to hear your success story.

*The courses and training links above have not been rated for value or quality. Please consider them suggestions, not recommendations. Feel free to share your favorite training courses and conferences in the comments.

This digital program was created by Lauren Jerome for the Not Your Average Tech Jobs event in Eugene, Oregon on June 5th, 2018. Follow her on Twitter and explore more of her work on Medium.