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Career transitions are never easy. If you are contemplating a career switch, irrespective of the specifics, here are some things that you need to keep in mind

How to Effectively Switch Careers Between Tech and Non-Tech?

Switching careers is not easy. It is almost like starting a new career. You could be confused as to where to start, what steps to take next and how to go about it. During your career span, you will transition many roles, responsibilities, companies and even industries. However, career transitions are never easy. If you are contemplating a career switch, irrespective of the specifics, here are some things that you need to keep in mind:

  1. Having been a contributing member of your team, it is important that you need to step away smoothly and therefore focus on creating a good off-boarding plan. Work with your current manager, HR and team members and wrap up any projects that you are handling and pass on relevant information to your successor.
  2. Understand what information you can share and what you cannot, get all the information with regard to legal documentation, insurance and such matters in place. 
  3. Be invested in your on-boarding process at the new place. Be proactive and invested in learning everything you need to gather. Set your boundaries and understand your deliverables well. Also invest in understanding the goals of the new company.
  4. Understand the new team that you have to work with and the reason behind any processes in the new place. In a leadership role, you will need to build trust before you implement any changes in existing ways of doing work.

More specifically, switching roles between tech and non-tech careers is particularly challenging because it involves a variety of skills and abilities required for each role. Let us discuss some of these.

Changing from a tech to a non-tech role

There are many reasons why someone would want to transition from a tech to a non-tech role. You may be wanting to try something new and challenging. You may want a leadership position or a more lucrative salary. Whatever be the reason, you need to come up with a plan for the transition. Some perspectives you may want to review or consider are:

  1.     Decide on the role that you would like to transition to and understand what attracts you to that role. Define your “why”.
  2.     Identify the skills and qualifications that you will need to perform in the new role. Speak to people in the field and also do your own research. Look up job ads that specify skills and qualifications for such a role.
  3.     Build your skills required for the new role by taking up courses, volunteering for projects and talking to coaches and mentors who can guide you with a successful strategy. You could even freelance and gain experience with the required new skills and expertise.
  4.     Learn the terms and relevant usage of jargon in the new field. Listen to podcasts and attend conferences and meet-ups which will give you more information about your new field.
  5.     Craft a nice way to “campaign” how you are best suited for the new role and how your unique background will be helpful in fulfilling your new responsibilities. This may be better than a traditional job application considering that you are from a varied background and need to showcase your abilities.

Changing from a non-tech to a tech role

There are many types of jobs available in tech. Each industry and company will require different programming languages, software and technical requirements. We will outline below some skills that you will need to land a general tech role:

  1.     Start by learning a programming language that you are comfortable with. You could start with Python for example. You must have good computer skills and also understand how the programming language works.
  2.     You need to have a strong logical brain and practice lots of algorithms. You need not go specifically for a coding job. There are many other options such as DevOps, SecOps and program manager.
  3.     Go for a diploma or degree certifications in specific programming languages. Try and opt for volunteering projects where you can gain practical experience in working with the new computer languages.
  4.     You could enter the tech industry in a non-technical role, on the business side and move ahead by slowly picking up the technical skills.
  5.     Attend tech conferences, network using social media and grow your connections. Learn from them all about the industry and discuss challenges faced.
  6.     Talk to people in tech and understand the work that they do.
  7.     Build a strong resume that will showcase your tech skills and abilities.
  8. Tech is evolving constantly and rapidly, therefore it’s crucial for techies to keep upskilling and stay in touch with the industry trends.


In summary

It may sound difficult but making a transition in your career is not really difficult. You need to have a good grip on concepts and aspects of the new role that you are going to handle. You must have a strong desire to learn new things and be consistent with it. Your learning journey will be steep but the fruits of your efforts will be sweet. Age is never a limit for making a career switch. It can be a rewarding experience and allow you the ability to explore new fields and learn new things. All you need is an interest in doing something new and being willing to face up to challenges.

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