There are more jobs in tech than just engineering
The stereotype of tech workers
The stereotype of tech workers is legend. A “geek” sits at a computer terminal in lofty looking office in San Francisco, with matrix-like green text flashing on his (because it is ALWAYS a guy) screen. Every day, he sits at his desk, consuming a veritable smorgasboard of refined caffeine and fried snacks, furiously typing in an effort to develop the newest and most interesting feature for Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix… whatever tech company comes to mind first.
Unfortunately, this stereotype is not only unrepresentative of the engineers I know in tech, it is also completely unrepresentative of the vast variety of roles that are available at technology companies. The stereotype leads a lot of people to believe that they could never find a job in tech, because they don’t possess the advanced degree or technical qualifications necessary to get a top tier engineering role, or because they don’t live in a top tech city like San Francisco or Seattle.
“Not everyone can get a job in tech because not everyone is technical”
Recently, I was scrolling through a personal finance thread on Reddit and I came across a post from someone complaining that they were tired of seeing posts from “people in tech” because “tech workers make so much more money than other people that it isn’t comparable for most of the people on the thread.” I don’t disagree with this sentiment at all, I know I am very lucky to work in tech and have the pay and benefits that I have, but I do disagree with the general attitude behind the post.
I truthfully believe that anyone with a bachelors degree and the desire to do it can easily find a role in technology and benefit from the competitive pay, benefits, and work life balance that us tech workers spend so much time complaining about ;)
To illustrate my point, I am going to debunk some of the bigger misconceptions about tech jobs.
Misconception #1: All tech jobs are in engineering
Because most people think that the only jobs in tech are in engineering, therefore they assume that if you want to be in tech you have to work in engineering.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. At most (B2B) technology companies, the vast majority of the employee base works in sales or marketing. If you include pre-sales, support and customer advisory services, that number increases even farther. At my current company, over 60% of the company serves one of those functions, with the engineering team taking up a very significant, but much smaller, 30% of the organization and operations/HR taking up the other 10%.
The balance might look different at a consumer company like Netflix. Engineering might be more like 35% of the company, but there would still be roles outside of engineering (like content production, customer support) that would take up a larger proportion of the roles.
Regardless, the point is that there are a ton of available roles in sales, support, marketing, accounting, HR, and operations. Tech is not just engineering.
Misconception #2: You can only work in a fancy coastal city
People also assume that tech jobs are only available in places like Seattle and San Francisco. While it’s true that those cities have a lot of tech workers, there are also remote or field office positions available across the country. I have co-workers in Denver, Columbus, Atlanta, Richmond… literally all over the country. And they perform a variety of different functions. Indeed, one of the best parts about working at a tech company is that your work will be largely done on a computer (even if you are in marketing, like me), so you can usually do that work from nearly anywhere.
There are so many possibilities in tech
Just to give you an idea of the breadth of roles available in tech, I’ve included my visualization from my “best roles in tech/worst roles in tech” posts earlier in the month. As you can see, there is HUGE variety of things that people can do at a tech company. The rankings you see are compiled based on a 1-10 scale for each of the following: Base pay, Bonus pay, Equity, Ease of entry, Opportunity to stand out and Control of performance .
One other note: These roles are meant to be roughly equivalent in terms of seniority, assuming someone with 10-15 years of seniority. Your mileage may vary.
There’s a job in tech for everyone
No matter what you say, I am convinced that there is a job in tech for everyone. At the end of the day, tech companies are just like “regular” companies, with all of the same roles and positions available in traditional industries. There are even manufacturing roles available at companies like Tesla! The only question is, what tech role is best for you?