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Understanding The Different Careers In Technology
There are many benefits to pursuing one of the many careers in technology. Apart from being in demand, a career in technology can offer flexibility and the possibility to explore multiple domains. Careers in technology are also not just for those who know how to code. There are great options even for those who have more vital soft skills.
Careers in technology also offer the opportunity to find remote work and there is great earning potential. So, how can you decide which one is right for you? I’ve written this blog as a guide to help you understand all the different career options in technology.
What Are the Career Pathways in Technology?
I’ve mainly divided the careers in technology into four subcategories:
- Software Engineering
- Network and Security
Each of them has many different roles. As the technological field is always evolving, more positions are becoming available every year.
Careers in Software Engineering
So, what exactly is software engineering? According to IBM Research, software engineering is: “A set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software.”
Software engineering is a sub-field of computer science. It involves using computer programming, software engineering principles, concepts and best practices to create and maintain software.
Software engineering involves:
- Gathering the requirements
- Deciding the architecture of the software
- Creating a design
- Writing the code
- Testing the code
- Releasing the code to customers
As you may have noticed, software engineering is a multi-disciplinary field. It involves many types of roles to create one piece of software. These roles are:
- Front-end Engineer
- Back-end Engineer
- Full-stack Engineer
- DevOps Engineer
- Software Engineer in Test (also known as Quality Assurance Engineer)
- UX Designer
Let’s take a detailed look at each one.
1. Front-End Engineer
A front-end engineer is an engineer who is responsible for building the User Interface of a website or web application. They deal with the part of the application that a regular user interacts with. They care about making the application accessible, beautifully styled, and functional.
The common technologies that a front-end engineer needs to know are:
A front-end engineer also needs excellent communication skills because they often interact and collaborate with non-technical staff. Emotional intelligence skills are also fantastic because a front-end engineer needs to put himself in the user’s shoes.
The average base salary in the UK for a front-end engineer is £50,938 per year.
2. Back-End Engineer
A back-end engineer is an engineer who is responsible for building the structure of the application. They design and integrate APIs, maintain the data storage, and write the business logic. Back-end engineers care about the optimisation and quality of servers.
The standard technologies that a back-end engineer needs to know are:
- Knowledge of databases: MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, Mongo DB
- Knowledge of networking: HTTP, REST, etc
- Knowledge of Version Control: Git, BitBucket, etc
A back-end engineer also needs to have excellent communication skills. After all, they will often communicate with front-end engineers and UX designers because they will be the ones using the APIs created by back-end engineers.
The average base salary in the UK for a back-end engineer is £57,163 per year.
3. Full-Stack Engineer
A full-stack engineer is a combination between front-end and back-end engineering. They are capable of working on both the front-end and back-end stack of an application. They understand how the two stacks work, especially the interaction and communication between the two.
The average base salary of a full-stack engineer is £52,025 per year.
4. DevOps Engineer
Another great career in technology is to become a DevOps Engineer. According to TargetJobs, “DevOps engineers build, test and maintain the infrastructure and tools to allow for the speedy development and release of software.”
To be more precise, DevOps engineering is more of a methodology that serves as a bridge between software development and IT operations. DevOps engineering helps companies release products quicker and more efficiently.
The standard technologies that a DevOps engineer needs to know are:
- Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): such as Jenkins.
- Source Control: such as Git, BitBucket.
- Computer programming: Java, Python, etc.
- Cloud Computing: such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud.
- Containers: such as Docker, Kubernetes.
- Testing: such as Selenium.
A DevOps engineer needs to be someone who cares about delivering high-quality products to customers.
The average base salary for a DevOps engineer in the UK is £65,821 per year.
5. Software Engineer in Test
A Software Engineer in Test is someone responsible for assuring software quality. They check all the stages of the development process to ensure that software follows the standard set by the company. They guarantee that the products that users will use perform as expected.
The standard technologies that a software engineer in test needs to know are:
- Automation tools: Selenium, TestNG.
- Programming languages: both a front-end and a back-end language.
- Source Control: such as Git, BitBucket.
- Continuous Integration tools: such as Jenkins, SonarQube, etc.
- Software Testing Tools: such as Selenium.
- Database and SQL.
A Software Engineer in Test needs to be someone who can communicate well (both written and verbal, as he will need to write documentation). Analytical skills, they need to be able to break down complex software to create suitable test cases. Being organised and knowing how to use time effectively are also significant assets.
The average base salary for a Software Engineer in Test in the UK is £44,403 per year.
6. UX Designer
UX stands for “User Experience”. A UX Designer is someone responsible for creating products that are user-friendly, accessible and a pleasure to use. They care about the user journey and ensure that the product used by the customers leaves them with a good experience.
Some skills that a UX Designer needs to have are:
- Research skills: understanding what’s essential for the user and how the user perceives the world.
- Visual Communication: the ability to understand images, layouts, colours, etc.
- Information architecture: the ability to know how to organise information so that it becomes easy and “sensable” to follow.
A UX Designer needs to be empathetic because they’ll have to put themselves in the shoes of those customers who will use the products. On top of this, knowing how to communicate is a must, as they’ll need to be able to express their ideas to other members of the team.
The average base salary for a UX Designer in the UK is £45,033 per year.
Careers in Data
Data can be simply explained as a piece of information processed by a computer. Nowadays, data is almost becoming a new currency because it allows businesses to understand more about their customers.
Data is a fast-growing field, and many of the roles available are not yet clearly defined. However, I have gathered at least three main branches that are worth mentioning, and these are:
- Data Science
- Data Engineering
- Data Analysis.
1. Data Scientist
A data scientist is responsible for processing and analysing data into valuable and actionable information to improve a business. They allow us to make more informed decisions. Data science involves different sub-disciplines, such as statistics and software engineering.
Some technical skills that a data scientist needs to know are:
- Programming: Python, SQL, and R.
- Statistics and probability.
- Data management and data visualisation.
Data scientists also need excellent communication skills because they must communicate their findings to those in charge of decisions. Being a good team player and critical thinker can help massively.
The average base salary of a data scientist is £49,309 per year.
2. Data Engineer
A data engineer is responsible for converting raw data into valuable information for data scientists and business analysts. They create products that will be part of a system or an internal business process.
Some common technical skills for a data engineer are:
- Programming languages: SQL, Python, Java, Scala.
- Cloud computing: AWS.
- Data management tools: Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra, Apache Hadoop.
A data engineer needs to have good communication skills, as they’ll need to be able to communicate technical concepts to a non-technical audience. A business-oriented mindset is a great asset, as they’ll need to understand how data can add value to an organisation.
The average base salary of a data engineer is £56,569 per year.
3. Data Analyst
A data analyst is someone responsible for helping the organisation make better decisions through numbers and data. They estimate the quality of the data, try to understand the meaning of data, and present the data to the upper management.
Some technical skills required to become a data analyst are:
- Programming language: SQL, Python, Oracle.
- Data Visualization tools: Tableau.
- Spreadsheet tools: Excel.
- Machine Learning: predictive analysis and artificial intelligence.
A data analyst needs to know how to communicate because they’ll need to tell the team about their findings. Problem-solving, as they’ll need to be able to solve any issue that technology cannot overcome.
The average base salary of a data analyst is £32,170 per year.
Careers in Network and Security
All companies are connected to a network to run their business successfully. This means that we need people to manage those networks and to ensure that they are kept safe and secure from suspicious and malicious attacks.
Careers in Network and Security are in high demand. Overall, I gathered three leading roles that offer great opportunities, but more roles are emerging. These roles are:
- Network engineering
- Network administration
- Security analysis
1. Network Engineer
A network engineer is responsible for designing and maintaining computer networks in a company or multiple companies.
Technical skills for network engineers are:
- Knowledge of security management: firewall and security.
- Knowledge of different operating systems.
- Knowledge of Python scripting.
A network engineer needs to know how to communicate well, be analytical and be able to troubleshoot problems.
The average base salary of a network engineer is £38,589 per year.
2. Network Administrator
A network administrator maintains the network of a company on a day-to-day basis. They also deal with network hardware.
Some technical skills for network administrators:
- Knowledge of computer hardware.
- Knowledge of system administration.
A network administrator needs to communicate well with coworkers and stakeholders. Being an incredible problem-solver and a critical thinker are also significant assets.
The average base salary of a network administrator is £25,303 per year.
3. Security Analyst
This is another great career in tech. A security analyst is someone responsible for inspecting for any possible attacks or illegal activity. They also design new security systems or upgrade the existing ones.
Technical skills for security analysts are:
- Knowledge of computer networking fundamentals.
- Understanding of cyber security fundamentals.
- Knowledge of incident response management.
A security analyst needs to be a great communicator because he’ll need to be able to communicate security incidents to coworkers and stakeholders.
The average salary of a security analyst is £42,687 per year.
Management Careers in Technology
Careers in technology also have space for people with more vital soft skills, which is good at managing people, software products or projects. These roles are:
- Engineering Management
- Product Management
- Technical Writing
- Scrum Master.
1. Engineering Manager
An engineering manager is someone responsible for helping the software team overcome any issues that might hold them back.
Some skills that an engineering manager needs to have include:
- Technical skills: it’s excellent for engineering managers to be technically competent
- Management skills: they need to be able to communicate effectively and empathetically with both the team and the stakeholders and establish a sense of trust with them.
The average base salary of an Engineering Manager is £54,864 per year.
2. Product Manager
Atlassian gives a great definition of the role of a product manager:
“A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfil articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality”.
Some skills to become a product manager are:
- Learn about the fundamentals of product management.
- Gain business domain knowledge (the users and the industry).
- Project management skills, perhaps through some certifications.
The average salary of a Product Manager is £52,036 per year.
3. Technical Writer
A technical writer is someone responsible for creating well-written documentation. They spend a lot of time researching to create a piece of paper.
Some excellent skills to have to become a technical writer are:
- Excellent written skills.
- Understanding of programming: technical writers primarily work in the IT field.
The average salary of a technical writer is £37,764 per year. The compensation can vary a lot, and often technical writers end up making more often by freelancing.
4. Scrum Master
A scrum master ensures that the team follows the Scrum values. They facilitate Agile software development ceremonies, support the team’s organisation, and teach the Scrum Framework to team members.
Some skills to become a scrum master are:
- Understanding of Agile, Scrum and Lean principles.
- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, as well as listening skills.
- Pursue a Scrum certification.
The average salary of a scrum master is £62,500 per year.
In this article, we talked about the different careers in technology. As you may have noticed, there are many great options available. You don’t need to know how to code to break into a career in technology. Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what the different careers in tech are and a better understanding of which you’d like to pursue.