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4 Popular Careers You Surprisingly Need Tech Skills For

These days, it’s pretty much assumed that you know your way around the web, standard office software, and social media.

(Hint: If your resume still says you’re “proficient in Microsoft Office, email, and Internet Explorer,” time to update that baby.)

To stand out in the job search or get ahead where you already are, you need to update your skill set to match what companies need. And that means getting some real tech skills under your belt.

“Wait! I’m not in IT, and I’m definitely not a developer!” you say.

And you don’t have to be! But, in virtually every job, company, and industry today, tech goes way beyond programming and equipment maintenance. You’ll actually be expected to have a handle on it for a surprisingly wide range of roles.

Here are four examples of positions that you might not think of as “techy” but that often require some coding prowess to get the job done.

1. Writer

Of course you don’t expect to be hunting and pecking articles out on a typewriter or running around yelling “Hot off the presses!,” but writing today goes beyond using a word processing program and Google.

With online media, not to mention blogs and ebooks, being a top-notch writer now requires some technical skills. Whether you’re a journalist, novelist, blogger, or technical writer, you’ll likely need to be able to navigate a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal to get your work published.

And, if you’re a freelancer, creating and maintaining your online presence will be on your own shoulders. So you’ll be way ahead of the competition if you can design and develop your own site or blog—or at least know what to look for when you hire someone to do it for you.

2. Designer

Even if you’re doing work for print, the tools of the trade are all digital. Mastery of software like Photoshop and Illustrator and tools for wireframing and mockups is a standard requirement for designers.

Plus, more often than not, you’ll find yourself designing for the web, because that’s where customers and companies are. And being able to code your own designs (or design directly in the browser!) with HTML and CSS and make them interactive with JavaScript and jQuery will turn you into the hottest ticket in town! You’ll be a one-man-or-woman show if an employer or client is looking for both a designer and a developer. Or, if you’re working in a team, you’ll be best able to understand what limits and possibilities the code of a website puts on the design, and vice versa.

3. Customer Service Representative

Gone are the days of having to go to the store to return those gorgeous boots that were one size too big or to file a complaint about bad service at the new local cafe. Today’s customers email their issues, fill out support tickets, and voice their concerns on social media.

Beyond the new ways to communicate, as a customer support rep, you’re sure to find yourself checking account history or needing to understand how your company’s web app works. And feeling comfortable with a CMS like WordPress or knowing your way around some programming will let you keep customers delighted without missing a beat! For example, if you get an email from a user wondering why he can’t see the latest update to his account when he logs in, knowing that he might need to clear his browser cache could let you solve the problem in seconds. Or being able to make a quick change to a typo in the company’s blog post might make you superhero for a day in your marketing department’s eyes.

4. Marketer

If you got into marketing thinking you’d just be coming up with ad copy or managing salespeople, think again! Modern marketing involves everything from producing global email campaigns and digital newsletters to overseeing UX redesign projects and SEO.

With experience in HTML and CSS, you can create your own marketing emails to reach thousands. And, with online analytics, you’ll get insights into how successful your efforts are. With consumers relying on Google searches to find almost everything they need nowadays, almost no company can ignore SEO (search engine optimization), and, with everyone relying on smartphones, mobile-friendly sites and apps are almost a requirement for marketing success. Whether you’ll actually be doing the coding for these tools or you just need to understand them, that’s tech again for the win—letting you take advantage of powerful tools to truly know and effectively reach your customers.

Surprised that your dream job requires some coding? Or worried that you’re falling behind in the job you have now? Don’t panic! Getting tech skills doesn’t require a “beautiful mind” or even a degree in computer science.

With just a few weeks of learning, you can know enough to make a real difference and be well on the way to being one of the most up-to-date—and valuable—members of your team and master of your own destiny!

Photo of desk courtesy of Shutterstock.

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