How a Non-Techie Can Survive in the Tech World

Written by Kelly on January 20, 2012

Posted in IT + Security

I never imagined myself working in the technology industry. I didn’t think a person with a psychology degree and an MBA would fit well, and initially I was hesitant to apply for jobs at tech companies. Once I landed a job at Formstack I had a lot of questions: What if I don’t fit in? Do I need to take a stance on the Mac vs. PC debate? Is an Iframe a picture frame invented by Steve Jobs? The bottom line is that tech companies need non-technical staff for marketing, PR, office support roles and more. A company can’t run with a staff of people with all the same skills and strengths.

So how do you survive and thrive? Here are a few helpful tips for non-techies:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In order to be an effective member of the team, you need
to understand your product. This means you need to know what it does, and probably more
importantly what it doesn’t do.

2. Learn the language. Like any industry there are abbreviations and acronyms that may be
important for you to know. This of course ties in with tip number 1, don’t be afraid to ask a
developer or designer what they are talking about.

3. Be patient and don’t get discouraged. You won’t know everything about the product or service
in the first week, and most likely your co-workers won’t expect you to.

4. Understand the pace of the industry. Technology is fast-paced, and things can change daily.
Don’t be thrown off by sudden changes from the design and development teams.

5. Read industry related news. Find a couple of industry news outlets and stay informed. A few of
my favorites are TechCrunch.com and Mashable.com.

Even if you get frustrated initially by your lack of tech knowledge, you will pick it up. Eventually, you will see the industry as exciting and innovative. So if you are out there looking for a job and shying away from the Tech industry, I suggest you take a closer look. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that you can contribute to the creative or development process without ever pushing code.