If you have a general interest in “the tech industry” but you aren’t sure what tech careers are available and what they involve, this is the podcast episode you need!
Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!
Londa Quisling, currently the Chief Product Officer at Treehouse, has over 20 years’ experience leading product development at high tech start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. She also mentors TalentPath apprentices from underrepresented groups who are pursuing computer science careers. With all of this experience, Londa has a firm grasp on what kinds of tech careers are out there and what they entail — and she’s sharing the details in today’s episode!
This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos. Laurence Bradford 0:07 Laurence Bradford 0:22 Laurence Bradford 0:40 Laurence Bradford 0:59 Laurence Bradford 1:40 Londa Quisling 1:42 Laurence Bradford 1:45 Londa Quisling 2:26 Laurence Bradford 3:57 Londa Quisling 4:57 Londa Quisling 6:17 Londa Quisling 8:03 Laurence Bradford 9:50 Londa Quisling 10:35 Londa Quisling 11:55 Londa Quisling 13:20 Laurence Bradford 14:02 Londa Quisling 15:04 Londa Quisling 16:47 Laurence Bradford 18:00 Laurence Bradford 18:06 Laurence Bradford 19:00 Laurence Bradford 20:12 Londa Quisling 20:24 Laurence Bradford 20:42 Londa Quisling 20:55 Londa Quisling 21:38 Laurence Bradford 23:43 Londa Quisling 24:29 Laurence Bradford 25:41 Londa Quisling 25:45 Laurence Bradford 26:12 Londa Quisling 26:54 Laurence Bradford 28:09 Londa Quisling 28:33 Laurence Bradford 29:47 Londa Quisling 30:20 Laurence Bradford 31:18 Londa Quisling 31:49 Laurence Bradford 31:49 Londa Quisling 31:50 Laurence Bradford 32:29 Londa Quisling 32:36 Laurence Bradford 32:50 Londa Quisling 32:55 Laurence Bradford 33:02
Hi, and welcome to the Learn to Code With Me podcast. I'm your host, Laurence Bradford. Today we'll be learning about all the careers you can pursue in tech. But first, a quick word from our sponsors.
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In this episode I talk with Londa Quisling, Team Treehouse's, Chief Product Officer. Londa has over 20 years of experience leading product development teams at high tech startups and fortune 500 companies, we're going to break down and dissect the different kinds of tech jobs found within organizations. We're also going to chat about how coding skills can help people in a middle skilled job, and how to future proof yourself in the world of tech where things are always changing. I absolutely love talking with Londa. I learned a ton and I hope you do too. All right, let's get into it.
Hey, Linda, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Thanks, Laurence, for having me. I'm happy to be here.
Yeah, I'm so excited to have someone from Team Treehouse on the podcast because Team Treehouse was actually one of the first course platforms I started learning on, all the way back in 2013. The platform has changed so much Since, and I know it's changing a lot of different ways, but one of the most obvious things to me is that now in 2018, there are all these different kinds of tech courses offered, ranging in all different kinds of topics. And I really can't wait to dive into that. But first to set the stage. I would love if you could explain to us what your role is at Team Treehouse. What do you do? Who do you work with? What is your role, like there?
Cool, might be happy to talk about that. But first, just wanted to say thanks for being an early student. We love to meet our students. And it's, it's, you know, that's why we're here. You make it all worthwhile. So hopefully, we have some viewers out there or listeners who are students as well. So, yeah, I'll talk about what I do at Treehouse. So I'm the Chief Product officer at Treehouse really a fancy name for describing my role, but it's it's a wide and varied role, and essentially manage kind of the strategy and delivery of everything related to Treehouse's product, and that includes our curriculum. So our teaching team, I work directly with the teaching team, our learning application, so we actually develop our own learning management system. So if your students and you go in and you log into teamtreehouse.com, we've created that whole application that's servicing that's serving you and as a student, and sharing the video, we have code challenges and quizzes, and all of that is written and developed by our internal engineering team that reports into me. And also we have a fair a number of folks who I call them services component, but they are working with our students and our customers. One on one kind of helping them with technical questions, technical advice, mentoring, and so that all wraps up into me and it makes it a very fun and very job.
Yeah, that sounds like a really exciting job and you're like such a great person to have on the show in general, and especially to talk about this topic I want to talk about today because you have your hand and so many. So many of the pieces like behind the scenes that is making Team Treehouse what it is today. And I know we chatted a bit before I started rolling here the the audio but I was saying that this topic is really close to home for me because when I first started out and began teaching myself how to code for like the first six months, maybe even a year, I only thought that I could become a web developer. I thought that was like you learn coding become a web developer or software engineer, wherever you can call it. That's it. But then I realized that it's so far from the truth. And there's actually so many different kinds of tech careers and fields that you can pursue. So I would love to talk about some of these different paths and like how you think about them, like yourself, or at Treehouse, and yeah, just dive into some of that.
Yeah, be happy to and you know, that's a really common that's a common theme of our students as well when they come and say, Hey, this sounds fun, I want to learn to code I want to get into web web development. Often you don't know what you don't know, and you don't know what to study. And in fact, you know, when we have our students come through, usually we'll have them go through an onboarding survey to try and direct them into the right set of courses that would fit for them. And so it is wide and varied. And one of the things that I like to give advice to students right away is, before you start a study, and look around at the companies that you would like to work for, go look on their websites, look at their job openings, and find out what kind of developer they're hiring for. So often, we have students that will say, I'm going to go study front end web dev, but then the jobs are really, maybe they're in a dotnet community, and most of the companies in town are hiring for dotnet developers, which is a You know, front end and back end developer on a certain framework or platform. So, but to your question, though, on what kinds of roles and jobs are, are out there, you talked about web development. And there are actually multiple components of the web development.
So it's not that you can do both. There are people that do but UX design is a specific skill that people go study for. And in fact, that's one of the things that we are starting to create some design courses here at treehouse because so many students and businesses have expressed interest in that, you know that another burgeoning field right now is all about data. So, we have both data scientists and data analysts on the team at tree house and that's very common in a business. data analysts are working all day long in data and trying to create operational reports for the business to make business decisions. So data analysts will be usually given a data set, sometimes they will know sequel and go and fetch that but they're working within reporting tools, like mode or Excel spreadsheets, and creating Reports for all different departments within a business. data scientists are are even a step beyond that, and that they have a lot of statistics and mathematic background, and are doing more predictive analysis and or kind of behavior analysis. And I'll give you a for example, many products will have end users. And they're trying to understand how the user uses their product, and what features are most popular and how to drive certain adoption. And a lot of times a data scientists are behind looking at that, and the data doing the analysis and kind of predicting what the trends are or what the data is saying. So that kind of gives you a feel for some of the other kinds of tech jobs out there.
Thank you. That was great. I want to dive in some more by do a few questions based on some of the things that you mentioned. Kind of going back a little to the design team. You're talking to the design team. came at Team Treehouse. Well, I guess, I know, larger organization. So have like within the design team, they'll have all these sub teams. And they'll have people who focus on things like user research, and then maybe someone who focuses on like product design and or UX design or you know, whatever you want to call it, and then maybe someone else who you know, does something else. Do you guys have that at Team Treehouse or maybe other companies that you worked at before? Like, could you talk a little bit about like the different sub parts of a design team?
Yeah, and more than talking about the parts of the design team, I'll kind of talk about the different parts of the process. Because what you'll find is, companies and their development team structure can be different from organization to organization. It really depends on the team size, it depends on the type of product that they're working on. It depends on their production. lifecycle? In other words, how often are they shipping software? Are they working on a consumer software or business to business software. So those can vary a lot in it. And you can look at one company and you can look at another company, and they will look very different sometimes on how the team is structured and who was doing what. So it's a lot easier, I think, to talk about the process of the different components. So you're right, in, you know, UX design. It kind of overlaps a lot with product management. So we also have Product Management at treehouse that helps us understand what we should build next and why and kind of help understand the problems that we're trying to solve or the opportunities that we're trying to bring forward with applications and new features or new product.
And so a UX designer will often overlap and if there is a problem Manager work hand in hand with the product manager. If there is not a product manager on the team, sometimes they will play that role. And that really is doing a lot of user interviews and a lot of research to understand what, what is the problem and how we might solve it. And that that includes include actually surveys, getting data from multiple users and the market that way, it can include interviews where you're actually calling a prospect or user up and asking them a series of questions. It can include putting in mock ups or designs in front of the user and asking them kind of what they think and giving them feedback. So that's part of the process early on and determining the why and the what. And then the UX design process will usually move into mock ups, whether that's kind of wireframes or prototypes, but they're usually low fidelity. Very quick graphics or screen prototypes, they can put in front of users and stakeholders to get feedback. And there's a lot of it's a quick iteration process, you want to do that very quickly and move through to honing in on exactly the best product to build in a very short period of time.
And then that will turn into really high fidelity mock ups and click throughs where you can actually start to create the design of the product that you could then turn over to your development team to develop. And I say turnover because it's not a handoff, if you're working in an organization that's really collaborative. A lot of times the design and the development teams are sitting together, they're working hand in hand as with a product manager, and a lot of times with a data analyst or data scientist so that your your you're not throwing stuff up at the wall. You're really working as a team to develop and ship product so.
Yeah, yes, yes, yes. I love that. And I love how you made clear early on that it can really vary from company to company like what your job title, you know, I'm using air quotes right now like encompasses because you know, a UX designer at one company could look a lot like a product manager of sorts at another company and it just really depends on as you said, the size and the way the team is structured and, and all those good things. I liked how you talked about the process and what people are people on the team are usually going, going towards So okay, so we talked about the design, we talked about the developers, we talked about data, we talked about product management. And we also talked about how there could be these, you know, cross functional teams where there is a person that maybe does each role on that team and they're working together to ship a new feature or product out the door. What other kinds of technical career functional areas are there at an organization.
Yeah, let me talk about one more on the development team that's kind of critical, that at least be covered. It doesn't necessarily have to be a separate individual, although often it is. And that's really kind of a software tester or software, software quality assurance person. So some teams have the philosophy, especially if they're doing test driven development, where the development team is the quality assurance and test team, you're kind of responsible for developing and testing the software. But it's often common in a great entry level role into a development team to go the software tester route. And so these are individuals that are dedicated to both understanding the requirements really well creating the acceptance criteria. which they'll accept the software and then creating the test plan and and the test and executed on the tests when software is developed. So if you For instance, if a team developed feature a, and feature a was supposed to be XYZ, the software tester quality assurance engineer, because sometimes they are engineers, and they are, you know, they, they can create automated test suites, they're often in their own right, developers and coders too. But they are they are the ones that are ensuring that the software is working as the product manager or the requirements state, as well as thinking through how the end user is going to use it. And is it is it fulfilling or meeting the why we built this thing.
And so that's a really critical role and a really interesting one for people that are that are looking to get into tech and sometimes find it a little daunting. They can go in software testing. And I'll give you a kind of a story or a use case for any of your listeners sitting out there. If you're working in a company, especially like a business to business software development company and you're sitting in customer experience or customer support. Many times you are so intimately familiar with your product and the customers and how they use it. You're you are highly technical and competent within your own product. And I've had some success of having customer success or service folks express interest in getting into the development team and they'll often be a natural fit to start in software testing. They already know the product, they're already familiar most of the times they're the voice of the customer and know it even better the how the products use them the engineering team themselves so just wanted to throw that out there that that's a great path into development if you're trying to get into tech.
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Oh, yeah, that isn't. That's a great suggestion. And do you guys have I don't want to veer too far, because I want to talk about the other tech roles at companies. But do you guys have software testing or like QA courses now on Treehouse?
We do. Yes. And that's that's a fairly new thing for us. We started creating our our QA content about a year ago and still have some other courses planned in the works, but that's definitely a track that we have at Treehouse.
Nice. Yeah, that's super, super important. Thank you for bringing that up. So yeah, if we could talk a bit more about some of the other tech roles that one can pursue or consider as they think about moving into tech.
Yeah, so we've talked a lot about software development and development teams and coverage. Most of the most common roles that you'll find in a development team, but there are a lot of jobs in tech, sitting in other departments and companies, you know, the, the first that comes to mind is within an IT department. So essentially, an IT department within a company is running the technology that the business does their business on. So that's the back end systems from running the servers that may host certain software to run in third party financial systems that, you know, run their payroll in their books, or, you know, email, the company email.
There, there's highly technical people sitting in those departments. And those can include system administrators and system administrators are the ones that actually manage all the servers and the operating system, and software installed on those servers. There's database administrators, and they're responsible for managing and all Have the databases that may exist on the systems that the company is running. And that includes, you know, making sure it's running the latest up to date software for that database that it's secure, that they're running daily, or incremental backups that they have a restore policy. So there's a lot of highly technical stuff with database administrators and I say stuff in air quotes. That's a technical term. And you find a lot of what's a role called DevOps. So that is really bridges the gap between the development team and the operations team, which could be the IT team, and they help make sure that the, the production servers of whatever software that company may be running are, you know, up and running and you can you can publish your code to those servers. You know, there's another interesting I think it was termed first by Google, but I don't quote me on that SRS, you'll hear that often. And that's Site Reliability engineers. And they usually come from a highly technical background development background. And they understand what it means to run applications at scale, and how to scale out systems so that you can handle more and more users that you're delivering it under a certain SLA or level of quality. And so that's a super in demand role right now, and is an another opportunity, a career opportunity for aspiring folks who love to dig into that.
Ooh. Thank you that was so that was so much great information. I'm really glad we talked about all that Russia. You talked about all that you really broke down those topics really clearly. So I'm just gonna like recap real quick. Okay, so within the IT department, we talked about system administrators, database administrators, DevOps. We also talked, and then Site Reliability engineer. Mm hmm, perfect. Okay. So honestly, I'm looking at my notes of some of the things I want to talk about. And I think we really covered a lot of the different career paths. But is there anything else that you can think of that maybe is outside the IT department or the like software development team, but it's kind of like a tech role or encompasses some technology?
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, and burning glass has has termed this middle skills jobs, but there are technical roles that are within multiple departments within a company. In fact, you look in any company tear apart their their departments, and they probably have a technical role sitting within that department. Like marketing marketing will have web masters or administrators, people that are running their Their front facing website, or that are running email campaigns, a lot of times those are, you know, they're coding those emails in certain systems. So that'll be a technical role. You have data analysts living in almost every department, finance, marketing, sales operations. And so that, as companies embrace more software, especially cloud based software, there is technical components to kind of every role within a company and and a level of understanding that you need to know. So there's opportunity that exists throughout many businesses that are technical.
Yeah. And what was the term you mentioned? Was it middle skills jobs?
Yeah, yeah. And that's in reference to the growing technical complexity of many roles that traditionally weren't technical, are now becoming more technical. So even if you weren't aspiring to get a career career in tech or weren't wanting to be a software developer, having basic technical skills is is very useful if not becoming a requirement in many roles and companies.
Yeah. 100%. And you just went in right to the next thing that I wanted to talk about, but I'm glad we're already talking about it is just how coding skills can help or other technical skills can help in these non technical roles. You mentioned specifically like marketing, sales, operations, finance. So if there's someone listening right now to the show, and maybe they're not totally convinced they want to be on the IT department or beyond the software engineering team. Maybe they really like marketing or finance or sales. Do you have any advice of unlike how they can kind of go about researching what to learn so they could level up in their like, middle skill job?
Yep, absolutely. And I think we touched on it a little bit earlier, and I would use the same advice. If you're if you're not yet in a business or you're aspiring to get a role or a job, research the companies and look at what the job openings are within the roles that you want. And look at what they're listing as required or desired skills that will usually give you a very good indication of what are the things that you should learn if you don't yet know them. So you could do a gap analysis like I know, I already know this, this this, but here's something that they're asking for. And if I want that job, or if I want to grow in that career, I should probably go learn that. If you're already sitting within a job of business and you want to take on more responsibility or grow within the department or change departments. Go ask the managers like not only what are they doing today, but what do they need tomorrow? Because a lot of times you can actually create your own role by understanding the need kind of putting a product manager hat on and doing a little investigation. And understanding where the pain points are, and then figuring out how you would develop the skills that would allow you to address those pain points.
Ooh, I want to touch on that for a second. So create your own role. That's actually something I've done in my, at my last or my only full time job I ever had. I did a bit of that. Could you talk though, what when you say create your own role? So I just know, there's listeners who may be like, wait, so you mean just go to my boss and be like, Hey, I think my job title should be this because of why is that what you mean? Or do you mean like?
No, I don't mean that. And I and you know, having been a manager, I think sometimes that that is going about it the wrong way. So what you really want and what you really want to do is be a helper and like, be proactive. And if you see a gap that needs filling, or there's something interesting to you and you know that there's opportunity within your business for someone to do that. Go to Do that and then say, Hey, this is something that I'm already doing. I'm really interested in growing my career here, can we carve out more of my time to do this role? And so you, you are kind of inventing it, but you're doing it because the business needs it. It's different than coming in and saying, hey, I want to be this, although it's good to, don't get me wrong, it's really good to have that discussion with your manager about career progression, and that you do vocally Express where you'd like to go. But it's also like understanding what the business needs and what interests you and making that align that and if there isn't a formal role there to actually pitch it, make a proposal and and and then what's the benefit back to the company? And how will that help you grow as an employee as well?
Awesome, great, great advice there. Thank you. So last question. So there are so many for tech jobs we talked about, I don't even know over 10 just this conversation, and there's even more that exist, and there's only becoming more. And we want to help listeners of the show future proof themselves. So thinking about the future of tech careers, what kinds of paths or functions do you think will emerge that aren't there today? or ones that are there today? That will just like grow in importance over time?
One minute, I'm going to answer your question first, but then I'm going to give some advice about how to future proof yourself because it's maybe not about chasing the rules of the future. But being a lifelong learner. And so if you're always constantly learning and evolving, you will be relevant. And you'll be interesting, right? But I think, you know, no surprise, ai machine learning data is all a burgeoning field. Some of its nascent, some of its really growing by leaps and bounds. So there's a lot of opportunity there. But I see opportunity Everywhere really did you know development roles are going to the amount of openings is going to only grow based on the statistics and the data. So learning tech skills and keeping relevant and and just always learning is gonna help you future proof your career.
Awesome. I love that advice. And I have to throw this out there because I just published an almost 4000 word guide on it earlier today. But cyber security. I didn't even realize it until I went into all this research, but there are so many different job types just within this quote unquote cybersecurity umbrella. And right now there's 350,000 unfilled positions in cybersecurity. And they're expecting by I think it's like 2021 there's going to be 3.5 million openings and that's only in the United States so..
And I'm glad you brought that up. I definitely left that out and I shouldn't have because that is Jeff definitely a. I wouldn't say it's a growing field, but it's you know, growing out of necessity as well, sadly. But you're right. It's such a broad and deep field, there are so many aspects of cyber security. And it's hard to know it all. So that's again, you know, we talked about at the beginning of the show how to how to kind of tease apart what are all the different roles even within cybersecurity and there are a plethora of them. So, you know, do your research and figure out which ones interest you best.
Best. I love it. Thank you so much, Londa, for coming on the show you gave so much. Great advice. Lastly, where can people find you online?
Yes. And thank you again for having me on the show. And listeners can find me on LinkedIn at Londa Quisling right there. Probably the only Londa Quisling on LinkedIn.
Okay, perfect. We'll make sure to add it to our show notes as well on the site. Thank you again for coming on.
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with londa. Remember, you can always check out the show notes back on the website at learntocodewith.me/podcast. As you know Londa works at Team Treehouse and I use Treehouse as a place early on to learn coding skills. Today they have over 300 courses and they are constantly adding more and Learn to Code With Me just so happens to be an affiliate for Team Treehouse, which means if you sign up through my special link our earn a small commission for referring you. These funds help support all the expenses that go into producing the show. That includes guest research, audio editing, and more. If you go through my special link, learntocodewith.me/team-treehouse, you'll get a seven day free trial to the platform. Again, my special URL is learntocodewith.me/teamtreehouse. Team Treehouse are two words separated by a dash. And then after your free trial ends, it's only $25 a month to access their entire course library. Thanks so much for listening and I'll see you next time.
This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.
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The tech careers list below is split up first by category, and then by role. It spans from straight development to tech data careers to the best IT jobs. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of all careers that involve technology, it’s a great starting point!
There are actually multiple sub-types of web development, depending on what “side” of the site you’re working on. Let’s look at the three types of tech jobs you can get if you want to be a web developer!
Tech Career #1: Front-end developer
Front-end developers work on the side of the site that a user sees in their browser.
📖 For more info on what it takes to be a front-end developer, see the comprehensive guide here!
Tech Career #2: Back-end developer
On the flip side, back-end developers work on the “behind the scenes” part of a website. They write the code that powers the site but that users don’t see directly.
“Back-end developers are working with business logic and data on the server side and serving up all that data to the front end to deliver to the user,” says Londa.
📖 If you want to learn more about back-end development, check out the beginner’s guide to back-end developer languages.
Tech Career #3: Full-stack developer
💻 Where to learn web development on Team Treehouse:
- Treehouse Tech Degree: Become a Front-End Web Developer
- Treehouse Tech Degree: Python Development
- Treehouse Track: Beginning iOS
📖 For a comprehensive list of platforms and course reviews, see The Best Places to Learn Web Development Online.
🎧 Interested in getting a sneak peek into what transitioning into web development is really like? On previous episodes of the podcast, hear from these two women who changed careers into web development:
- Librarian to Web Developer with Lisa Smith
- From Fashion Model to Frontend Developer with Madison Kanna
Similarly, there are three sub-careers within the design category. Let’s take a look!
Tech Career #4: User experience (UX)
UX, in a nutshell, deals with how a user interacts with a company’s products and services. The front end of a website might be coded by a developer, but first, the interface is designed by UX specialists.
“We have a killer design team here at Team Treehouse,” says Londa. “They’re highly creative, they’re very close to understanding user problems, and what types of use cases they’re developing for. And then they’ll work in design tools to mock up what an interface might look like. And then they usually will hand that over to a front-end developer.”
💻 Where to learn UX on Team Treehouse: UX Design track
Tech Career #5: User Interface (UI)
Newcomers to the design field are often confused about the difference between UX and UI. In short, UX primarily deals with how things work, while UI is strictly about the visual elements of how things look.
A UI designer works on the appearance of screens, pages, buttons, icons, and the other elements of a product or website.
💻 Where to learn UI: User Interface Design Specialization on Coursera
Tech Career #6: Product Management
Product management isn’t just a design-based role. However, UX design in particular “overlaps a lot with product management,” says Londa. “Our product management team helps us understand what we should build next, the problems that we’re trying to solve, or the opportunities that we’re trying to bring forward with applications and new features or new product.”
This role is a tech industry “bridge” where it’s not strictly technical, but technical knowledge and expertise is necessary to help guide decisions.
According to Londa, product management often involves “Doing a lot of early user interviews and research to understand what is the problem and how we might solve it, surveys, getting data from multiple users and the market, interviews where you’re actually calling a prospect or user up and asking them a series of questions, putting mockups or designs in front of the user, and asking them what they think. Then, the process will usually move into basic UX design mockups, whether that’s wireframes or prototypes, but they’re usually low fidelity, very quick graphics or screen prototypes, they can put it front of users and stakeholders to get feedback.”
All of this happens before moving into the final design and development stages. It allows a team to get a sense of what’s working and not working before devoting too much time to a single iteration.
📖 For more, read What Does a Product Manager Do? Skills, Salary, Responsibilities on the blog.
🎧 A product manager on the podcast: S3E4: Software Product Management and Building a Startup with Sam Gimbel!
Within tech, data careers are highly lucrative. There are two main types of data tech jobs: analysts and scientists.
Tech Career #7: Data analyst
Data analysts will be usually given a data set to work with, then use reporting tools like Mode or Excel to help identify key insights, and lastly create reports for all different departments within a business to help make business decisions. If you’re coming from a background like finance, you’ll have an easy transition.
💻 Where to learn on Treehouse: the data analysis course library
🎧 A data analyst on the podcast: How to Get Started in Data Analytics with Ben Collins
📖 For more, read What Is Data Analysis and How Can You Start Learning It Today? on the blog.
Tech Career #8: Data scientist
A data scientist is a more advanced data role. They need a background in statistics and mathematics. According to Londa, they do more predictive analysis than after-the-fact data sorting. “Many products will have end users, and they’re trying to understand how the user uses their product, and what features are most popular and how to drive certain adoption,” she says.
“The data scientists are behind the scenes, predicting what the trends will be.”
💻 Where to learn on Treehouse: Data Science Basics
🎧 Data scientists on the podcast:
- Learning Data Science as a Beginner with Alice Zhao
- How to Become a Data Scientist Without a Degree with Fernando Hidalgo
Tech Career #9: Software tester/quality assurance engineer
This can be a hybrid role, but the two may also be separate. Software testers guarantee the viability of a product by thoroughly testing it before it goes to market. This doesn’t necessarily require complicated technical knowledge, as you’ll spend a lot of time thinking like a user. “It’s a great entry-level role into a development team to go the software tester route,” says Londa. This makes it a natural transition for someone in a customer service role in a company, who already has an intimate knowledge of their products and users.
A quality assurance engineer might be a bit of a step up from a pure software tester, as they’re often in their own right developers and coders too. “These are individuals that are dedicated to both understanding the requirements really well, creating the acceptance criteria and the test plan, and execute the tests when software is developed,” Londa says.
💻 Where to learn on Treehouse: Quality Assurance course selection
People in IT careers are responsible for the internal technology of a company. In other words, the department doesn’t deal with the customer-facing product or service, but with the technology used by the company itself, from servers to email to software. Within an IT/Operations team, there are usually several roles.
Here are a few of the best IT jobs:
Tech Career #10: System administrators
“System administrators are the ones that actually manage all the servers and the operating system and software installed on the servers,” says Londa.
🎧 A Salesforce sysadmin on the podcast: High School Dropout to Salesforce Admin with Zac Otero
Tech Career #11: Database administrators
“They’re responsible for managing all of the databases that may exist on the systems that the company is running,” Londa explains. “That includes making sure that it’s running the latest up-to-date software for that database, that it’s secure, that they’re running daily, or that they’re creating incremental backups and have a restore policy. So there’s a lot of highly technical stuff with database administrators.”
Tech Career #12: DevOps
Originating from a mashup of the words “development” and “operations,” DevOps is a relatively new field. “It really bridges the gap between the development team and the operations team,” Londa says. “They help make sure that the production servers of the company’s software are up and running, and that you can publish your code to those servers.”
🎧 DevOps on the podcast: How to Break into a Devops Career with Nicole Forsgren
Tech Career #13: SREs (Site Reliability Engineers)
This is a more advanced role, but it’s very in-demand right now, because every company needs reliable websites and applications. “They usually come from a highly technical development background,” says Londa. “They understand what it means to run applications at scale, and how to scale out systems so that you can handle more and more users that you’re delivering it under a certain SLA or level of quality.”
🎧 SREs (and related careers) on the podcast: Careers in Security with Veracode Co-founder Chris Wysopal
Tech Career #14: Cybersecurity
Cyberattacks are becoming more and more common, which makes it crucial for companies to protect themselves. There are many different job types under the cybersecurity umbrella, and the demand is extremely high, with 350,000 unfilled positions right now and an estimated 3.5 million by 2021.
💻 Where to learn on Treehouse: Security course selection
Bonus: “Middle skills” jobs
The terminology here is “in reference to the growing technical complexity of many roles that traditionally weren’t technical,” says Londa. “So even if you aren’t aspiring to get a career in tech, having basic technical skills is very useful if not becoming a requirement in many roles and companies.”
Here are some examples of non-tech departments that increasingly need staff with technical expertise:
- “Marketing will have webmasters or administrators – people that are running their front-facing website, or that are running email campaigns and coding those emails in certain systems.
- “Data analysts live in almost every department — finance, marketing, sales operations.
- “There are technical components to kind of every role within a company as companies embrace more software, especially cloud-based software.”
- Plus, here are 8 jobs that are easier to land if you can code!
Joe Previte is an example of a self-taught techie who was able to fill a gap in a non-technical department. “My first full-time job in tech was in digital marketing,” he says. “How did I get it if I didn’t have previous experience or a degree in the field? Simple: they hired me because I knew how to code. When offering me the job, my boss wanted me to serve in a hybrid role of marketing and web development. I even negotiated a higher salary because of my self-taught tech skills.”
Pursuing these “middle skills” roles is a great way to transition into tech. “If you see a gap that needs filling, pitch it to your managers!” Londa suggests. “A lot of times, you can actually create your own role by understanding the need, and then figuring out how you would develop the skills that would allow you to address those pain points.”
Ultimately, learning new tech skills allows you to “future-proof” yourself and make yourself more valuable to employers, and knowing the different types of jobs in tech will help you narrow down your focus. “I see opportunity everywhere,” says Londa. Do you?
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