There's a pervasive myth in tech that you need to know how to program for most IT roles. The ability to bring a project to fruition, however, extends beyond the code -- and demands a wide range of skills, disciplines and talents.
Most IT jobs, including programming, require a thirst for problem-solving and the ability to act fast in constantly changing environments. These eight IT jobs satisfy both of those criteria but don't require coding.
Scrum Masters keep the Scrum team on track and moving in the right direction. They must be familiar with Agile principles and Scrum methods, which typically requires certification. Scrum Masters support the product owner, to guide team members throughout the course of a project and step in to resolve conflicts.
Skills of a good Scrum Master include strong leadership and a knack to motivate people.
The product owner's central role is to manage the product development process. Good product owners gather and analyze customer needs, and then create software or tools that address those needs. They also understand how to present product ideas to executive leadership based on their findings. Product owners oversee design and development, prioritize backlog, and adjust goals and tasks based on changing objectives, trends or business climate.
A product owner is fluent in Agile, Scrum and user-centric design. Leadership skills are a must, as is the ability to adapt quickly.
The heart of a project manager's job is organization. This person plans, budgets, and keeps a close eye on projects to effectively manage their time and the team's resources. The project manager is responsible for project documentation and management of vendor contracts. This person also must adeptly identify and respond to potential risks both known and unknown, especially those that threaten a project's budget.
A successful project manager must possess solid communication skills, both oral and written. He or she also has no aversion to paperwork.
As the title suggests, software testers identify bugs, glitches and areas for improvement so that organizations deliver a product that works the way it should. These individuals have a deep understanding of testing methodologies. They decide which tests best apply, develop test scenarios and select testing tools.
Once again, good communication skills are necessary as software testers must deliver their findings and make recommendations on what to fix. Other qualities of a good software tester include knowledge of database queries, and familiarity with automation, security and APIs.
A business analyst understands where the organization aims to go, and the problems it struggles with to get there. Armed with this knowledge, this individual proposes ways for IT to help an organization achieve its goals. Business analysts regularly meet with managers, executive leadership and end users to define project needs, and make software and hardware recommendations based on this feedback.
Business analysts possess strong data analysis skills, can draft statistics-based reports that illustrate their findings, and communicate well both orally and in writing. They must also keep up to date on the latest tech developments that may apply to their organization's specific context.
This role regularly meets with managers and HR leaders to identify the organization's recruiting needs as they pertain to IT. They also work their network of potential candidates to fill open positions. These individuals participate in the interview process to discern applicants' technical skills level. They are also involved in the onboarding process once a candidate is hired.
Technical recruiters must continuously build and work their networks, which includes attending industry events to expand their contact base. They also stay abreast of talent acquisition and recruiting trends, and understand the talent sourcing tools that streamline this process. Another key part of this role is to follow best practices on how to attract a diverse workforce.
Software sales rep
This position requires someone who enjoys interacting with people, but who can also work independently. A software sales rep regularly meets with clients to learn about their current needs and challenges, and identifies products and services that may address those areas. This person also helps to develop the value proposition for the product they sell and the company they represent.
An effective software sales rep develops and nurtures relationships, and isn't afraid of cold calling. Time management and organizational skills are a must, as software sales reps must juggle multiple clients at a time and continuously generate and work new leads.
Whether it's for instruction manuals, web guides or how-to videos, technical writers explain complex concepts in a way that's easy to read and digest. They get to know their target audience, whether it's consumers, developers, integrators or installers, and structure their messaging accordingly.
Technical writers deeply understand the products and services about which they write, including intricate design specifications and advanced features. Like business analysts, they keep up with technology trends to understand and explain why they are relevant or not to the business. Depending on the organization, technical writers may be required to copy edit the work of others on their team. This position may be internal or on a contract basis.
Obviously, good communication skills are essential in a technical writing role. An understanding of information modeling and formatting such as XML also is helpful. Technical writers should be knowledgeable with Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, as well as apps commonly used in technical writing such as RoboHelp and MadCap Flare.