Unleashing the Power of a Non-Traditional Path in Tech

Why breaking into tech from a non-tech background may be a good thing


10/23/20233 min read

When recruiters stumbled upon my CV for a software engineer position, I pictured their reactions to be a little like the image shown below. I imagined the confusion when they saw that a pharmacist was...applying for a software engineering role🤔? Little did I know that my unconventional journey into the tech world would turn heads for all the right reasons. Having a generally good application-to-interview ratio allowed me to see that an alternative background to tech wasn't necessarily a hindrance in my job search 🥳.

So, why was that so?

unleashing the power of a non-traditional path in tech
unleashing the power of a non-traditional path in tech

Diversity of Thought and a Drive for Innovation

In today's fast-paced tech industry, innovation is key. Companies striving to stay competitive need a tech department that favours creativity and welcomes fresh perspectives 🧠.

When coming from a non-technical background, your unique experiences, your distinct approach to understanding information, and your problem-solving skills often break the mould. Your uniqueness can pave the way for problems which are yet to be addressed to be uncovered.

It's about viewing problems from angles that no one else has thought of exploring 🔎 and crafting different solutions.

Environment and Curiosity

Having a non-conventional background sparks interest ⚡️. I vividly remember one recruiter exclaiming to me ‘I just couldn't wait to meet you, I was so intrigued to find out about how you found yourself in tech from pharmacy’.

Natural curiosity can work in your favour during job applications. This curiosity is not just about you; it contributes to the overall diversity of the team. Embracing professionals from various career backgrounds enriches the experience, as everyone brings unique stories and perspectives to the table 📖. It's an opportunity to both teach and learn from colleagues with diverse career journeys.

Enhanced Enthusiasm

One of the powers you have as a career switcher is that you are entering (or re-entering) the professional landscape with a much clearer understanding of your own desires, needs, and preferences 🗣️. Armed with the wisdom gained from previous experiences, you're better equipped to make a well-informed decision about the career path that truly resonates with you.

When you choose a career from this place of self-awareness, you're more likely to be doing work you actually enjoy and in turn, doing work well and being enthusiastic about it. When I first started learning how to code, I was so excited about using all the concepts I was learning to build things and improve my capabilities. It was like entering a new, amazing world nobody thought to tell me existed, but being grateful that I had found it in the end 🔦. The enthusiasm I felt for this newfound world trickled down and soon I was encouraging (some would say peer-pressuring 👀) my family and friends to code too!

This enthusiasm not only brings personal satisfaction but also adds significant value to the company you work for and your team. Your genuine love for what you do shines through in your dedication and performance, creating a positive ripple effect, benefitting everyone involved.

Self-Learning Pro

Many people who 'break into tech' have self-taught themselves at some point. Self-teaching is no walk in the park and takes discipline, organisation and an immense amount of willpower (especially when dealing with horrible bugs 😅). The technology landscape never stays still, so a technologist must grasp how to continuously learn and expand their skills. Self-taught developers have already been flexing this muscle, providing a promising insight into what's to come in their career.

In conclusion, don't let your non-tech background deter you from pursuing a role in tech. Your uniqueness holds immense value, and companies searching for tech talent should recognise the impact you can have on innovation and diversity of thought.

Read more about career switching in this 👉🏾previous blog post

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Until next time,