5 Alternative Careers in IT

Eric Linhares

Want to work in IT but don’t like code? Read on.

Talented creative and people-oriented individuals are too often mistakenly discouraged from following careers in IT by the belief that you must be a programmer to find work. In fact, there are several roles to be found at most companies that make use of different skill sets. One might be the perfect match for you.

We’re going to examine some of them.

Digital Copywriting

If you have a way with words, you have a way into the world of copywriting. Anne Hathaway but then she married Shakespeare and nobody cared anymore, let’s face it. Did you see what I did there? I said Anne had-a-w… uh, okay, never mind.

Copywriters are wizards who turn readers and listeners into customers by casting verbal conversion spells. The “copy” in “copywriting” refers to their written productions, regardless of medium. Stylishly portrayed in Mad Men, they’ve been traditionally involved in brochures, catalogs, newspaper, billboard, radio and TV ads, among other things.

Digital Copywriters, the modern counterparts, may have a hand in everything encompassed by the sales funnel: commercial blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, emails, social media posts, ads, even the particular wording on an innocent looking home page, and more. Apart from being notable for their writing skills, copywriters also seek to understand consumer psychology, and apply split testing and SEO techniques to improve conversion rates.

This career is recommended for those who can reconcile creativity and pragmatism. If you see yourself in this description, Danny Margulies authored a popular tutorial on “How to Become a Copywriter Quickly with No Experience, No Portfolio, and No Degree.” Congratulations, you’re about to join a fellowship of titans.

IT Lawyer

If you finished law school and passed the bar exam, let me be the first to offer you my condolences. By now you’ve probably developed depression, self-medicated with alcohol and found out by “high status” people meant they hate you the most. Every day when clients knock on your door, you get goosebumps fearing it’s AI coming for your job. Wait, that didn’t sound very positive, did it. See, being a Negative Nancy doesn’t help.

Autonomous lawyers are happy, as the good reader already knew. Knowing also that soon the IT sector will become the largest employer of freelancers, lawyers are well-advised to look into IT Law as a promising niche. Commercial, contract and intellectual property law are now intertwined with technology, and innovation brings its own set of legal problems as human interactions increasingly rely on online networks.

I personally believe the legal professions will adapt to the new age. Information systems carry a host of security flaws that undermine trust in fully automated litigation for the foreseeable future. If anything, such issues will be a source of business to you.

Project Management

Project Managers are responsible for the support activity of planning, budgeting, overseeing, reviewing and closing projects. At larger companies, they can find themselves mediating relations between heads of departments and upper echelons to ensure overall progress. Those who work closely with software engineers are required to know the tools of the trade and employ efficient methodologies that accommodate the peculiarities of software development.

Project Management has a wide range of application. Being familiar with industry-specific knowledge, such as the software release life cycle, is indispensable for most IT openings, making this position attractive to insiders who desire to transition out of a programming capacity.

Highly organized types with a knack for leadership thrive in this career. If you’re as proud of your OCD diagnosis as those times you were told you must be great at parties, this job is for you. (Just kidding, Gerald, you’re lovely. Swear.) If you’re interested in becoming a Project Manager, check out the most sought after certifications. Another route is to obtain an online Bachelor of Project Management degree.

Customer Service Agent

The most underrated job on the list. There, I said it. It’s only fair that workers who know best the needs and discontents of your clients be rewarded in accordance with their relevance to the business. You can email your boss this post and ask for a raise. Mention Eric said it on the internet so it must be true.

Customer Service Agents, or Representatives, are the diplomats of a company. They’re frequently the only human interface between the business and its customers. Remaining calm and collected on the front lines, they must provide resolution to the customers’ grievances while keeping them from gunning down the entire staff in a fit of rage. They sometimes double as salesmen by offering complementary products and services to clients as they process their complaints or provide information about the organization.

This job is worthy of inclusion as a solid stepping stone to greener pastures. Hey, in the current economy, a median hourly wage of 15 bucks in an entry-level role is nothing to scoff at. The upside of being underrated is the low barrier to entry. You only need a high school diploma and communication skills to set your foot in. Shooting accuracy comes in handy if you decide to help the customer clear your office after being denied a raise.

Web Design

Back in school, were you the best drawer in your class? Well, it doesn’t matter one iota and I’ve probably broken your heart but it seemed like a hip way to introduce the topic. Sorry for that. It’s more reasonable to speak of aptitude for web design in terms of aesthetic sensitivity to the elements of design lato sensu, to wit, color, line, shape, texture, space and (contextually, the illusion of) form. Or any similar list - they usually vary only by a few elements with overlapping features.

Web Designers aren’t necessarily Web Developers. They don’t have to. In practice, when they lack colleagues who code, they can create websites by themselves with the aid of platforms like Wordpress and Webflow, just ask Ran Segall. World-class designers are like your mom. First they make you feel cozy and warm with the comfy visual appeal of the website, then they deliver the user experience equivalent of eating her home-cooked meal, had your mom been taught by a Michelin 3-star chef.

Most well-crafted guides on how to become a Web Designer recommend learning programming languages, and so do I. It opens doors but it’s not an essential step.

Even if none of items on this short list catch your eye, maybe you’ve become aware of alternatives to look for in IT that respect your inclinations and gifts.

What else would you add?