Careers In Tech: More Than Just Coding

Opportunities in Tech are abundant right now, but its not only coders who are in demand.

6 min read

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Arguably software engineering and developing code is at the heart of the Tech industry. However, the people that do these jobs need help from others too!  There are a variety of different roles within the technology industry for experienced hires, graduates and school leavers - it's not all about coding. So what other options are there?

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Project Manager

A Project Manager's job is to plan, budget, oversee and document all aspects of the specific project they are working on.  Project managers work on specific projects that have definite outcomes, have time limits and have to stay within a budget

 

What does a Project Manager do?

The Project Management Institute describes responsibilities as:

  • Initiating - checking feasibility and working out budgets, teams and resources;

  • Planning - setting goals, defining roles and producing schedules of tasks. Some tools, such as Gantt Charts, can be used to create a visual project plan;

  • Executing - managing the project;

  • Monitoring and controlling - tracking the project's progress;

  • Closing - evaluating successes and challenges to enhance learning for your next project.

 

Tasks typically include:

  • Planning what work needs to be done, when and who’s going to do it;

  • Looking at the risks involved in a particular project and managing these risks;

  • Making sure the work is done to the right standard;

  • Motivating the team of people involved in the project;

  • Co-ordinating work done by different people;

  • Making sure the project is running on time and to budget;

  • Dealing with changes to the project as and when necessary;

  • Making sure the project delivers the expected outcomes and benefits;

  • Some project managers also have specialist technical knowledge

 

Project Management Certifications

There are many Project Management qualifications, with the most popular and sought after being:

Salary

Starting salaries for IT project managers are between £20,000 and £35,000, depending on the sector, with experienced Project Managers earning between £40,000 and £80,000. Freelance project managers can negotiate a daily rate for the duration of their contract, with average rates between £300 and £500 a day.

Many Project Managers start their careers as Project Support Officers or Planners. Check out the Association of Project Management role profiler to assess where you could start.

 

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Product Owner

The Product Owner is typically a project's key stakeholder, having a vision of what the team should build. The Scrum Guide describes the Product Owner as being responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team.  This is key to successfully starting any agile software development project.

 

What does a Product Owner do?

Scrum.org : What is a product backlog?

Scrum.org : What is a product backlog?

The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog, which includes:

  • Clearly expressing Product Backlog items.

  • Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions.

  • Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs.

  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next.

  • Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed

The Product Owner may do the above work, or have the Development Team do it. However, the Product Owner remains accountable

Project Owner Certifications

Scrum.org provides 2 levels of Professional Scrum Product Owner certification. PSPO I and PSPO II . The Scrum Alliance also offers Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) training and certification.

Salary

According to Glassdoor the national average Product Owner salary is £46,931, with the median contractor rate £475 per day

With the transition from Waterfall projects to Agile, many Project Managers make the transition to Product Management

 

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Scrum Master and Agile Coach

As described in the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring Scrum is understood and enacted. Scrum Masters do this by helping the Scrum Team adhere to Scrum theory, practices, and rules.

 

Scrum Masters are servant-leaders and coaches for the team. They educate the team and other stakeholders in agile practises such as Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban and SAFe, ensuing the agreed process is followed.   The Scrum Master does anything possible to help the team perform at their highest level. They help remove impediments and foster an environment for high-performing team dynamics, continuous flow, and relentless improvement.

What does a Scrum Master or Agile Coach do?

The responsibilities of this role includes:

  • Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;

  • Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;

  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;

  • Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,

  • Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization

  • Clearing obstacles that the team face, including protecting the team from outside interruptions and distractions.

  • Use coaching techniques like open questions to facilitate consensus

  • Addressing team dynamics - care for people.  Listen to them without judgment.

  • Ensuring a good relationship between the team and product owner

Certifications

After attending a two-day Certified ScrumMaster course, you can become a ScrumMaster (CSM) . However, you will need hands on experience and additional coaching training to become effective in your role. Many Scrum Masters go on to gain Professional Coaching qualifications and start to provide Executive Coaching on Agile and Digital Transformations,  rather than focussing just on software development teams.

Salary

The average Scrum Master Salary is £50,000. However, those that take the Coaching perspective seriously and focus on being an Agile Coach can earn on average £63,712 per year.

There are many freelance opportunities, with many agile coaches preferring to rotate around clients to expose themselves to different environments. Experienced Scrum Master and Agile Coaches can demand upwards of £600 per day

 


Summary

These are examples of typical non-coding roles in technology. However, there are much more roles, such as:

 

With such a variety of roles and skills, what is stopping you considering a role in technology? Have a look on SheCanCode Tech Job Board for vacancies!

#SheCanCode

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Claire Donald is a Project & Program Manager with over 15 years’ experience delivering IT infrastructure and application projects using traditional, agile and continuous delivery methods. She has a high tolerance for ambiguity and has worked within fast-paced and high-pressure environments, taking an entrepreneurial approach. Claire is currently completing an Executive MBA with Surrey Business School.

Follow Claire: LinkedIn | Twitter