Learning how to code can be daunting. Frustrating. Perhaps even scary. However, the tech industry is huge. If you suspect that coding isn’t for you, know that there are many technical jobs out there that don’t even require coding.
Below are 10 in-demand technical skills that don’t involve writing a single line of code!
1. Data Analysis
All things data are hot right now. (HBR named Data Science The Sexiest Career of the century.) This career can take lots of forms. Some data analysts do know programming languages (like R or SAS). But analyzing data can happen in a ton of ways.
A lot of data analysis is all about using tools like Microsoft Excel and even Google Analytics. Familiarize yourself with these tools, and use them to compile and study data on personal projects like your blog or social media, to see if it’s something you enjoy. (Hint: if you enjoyed math/statistics in school, you’ll probably enjoy data analysis!)
2. Software Testing
This job entails putting programs through a variety of tests to catch bugs and determine whether the software meets specifications or requirements. Some software testing is automated, but there’s still a lot of value in hiring people to test it manually: machines can’t gauge how enjoyable the user experience is, only actual users can!
Testers should be able to work with developers and explain what parts of the program worked and didn’t work for them, but they don’t necessarily need to be well-versed in programming terminology.
3. Technical Support
4. Rapid Prototyping
This sub-specialization in the UX/UI field is all about wireframing applications quickly. It can be as simple as a quick sketch or as complex as a full prototype: the point is to have various design options for a website or application idea, and incorporate feedback to refine the final product.
Usually, rapid prototypers will have input from the rest of their team: developers, stakeholders, testers, etc., as well as the users the product is being built for.
5. Command of Adobe Products
Tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign allow you to wireframe websites, make blog graphics and social media graphics, and more.
Knowledge of these programs is desired in design roles primarily (and ideally you’ll have them more or less mastered if you’re an aspiring designer). However, these skills can help you and increase your desirability in other fields too, like marketing and even writing. (Like, being able to make nice graphics to accompany your blog post.)
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO helps websites rank higher in search result pages. Best practices in SEO are constantly changing: what worked a few years ago certainly doesn’t hold true today. A person with SEO know-how stays on top of the latest trends.
SEO primarily falls under the marketing umbrella. But it’s also a handy skill for web designers/developers, as well as those who write on the web. Making your website or writing SEO-friendly can increase traffic and get you more online exposure.
There are more technical aspects of SEO, which may involve getting dirty in website files. There’s also lots of data in SEO, so using some data analysis skills from point one may come in handy! On the completely non-technical side, there’s content creation: writing SEO-friendly web content or articles.
7. A/B Testing
Also known as split testing, A/B testing is essentially testing two different versions of the same web page (
A and “B”), and seeing which performs better (gets more button clicks, collects more emails, makes more sales, etc.).
A/B testing is also part of marketing. Knowing how to code can help, but is not required.
8. Growth Hacking
Don’t let the
hacking part throw you off: growth hacking is an up-and-coming marketing technique that focuses on acquiring users quickly. It’s all about problem solving, and combines digital marketing with web analytics.
Essentially, growth hackers combine some of the above skills (SEO, A/B testing, analytics) with social media and viral advertising in an effort to grow their company fast but keep costs low. Knowing how to code can help, but is not required.
9. Technical Writing
Being able to write about complex technologies in a way everyday people can understand is a valuable skill. Technical writing may take the form of creating instructions and documentation, or it may mean writing a press release describing a new product the company is releasing. This is for the person who can understand technology and communicate effectively via writing. Two gifts to have, powerful when combined!
10. Agile Methodology
Agile is a project management methodology meant to help teams deal efficiently with unpredictable situations. It’s typically found in software development (e.g. Scrum), but now many other industries use the methodology. There are actually entire jobs based around this, like a Scrum Coach, where the median yearly salary in the United States is $96,000.
The technology industry is enormous, and it has room for all different kinds of personalities and skillsets. So even if you’ve never written a single line of code in your life, don’t assume that tech is not for you. Start experimenting with some of these skills; you never know where it might take you.