I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about how people with totally different careers transitioned into tech and love it! Its amazing how the skills you acquire from one field can transfer into another so seamlessly. I’m sure there is a learning curve and foundational skills you have to grasp, but for the most part it appears the change is well worth the work. I read how a chef, artist, and a teacher made the switch with no thoughts of going back. It all got me to thinking how can a Writer and Quality Assurance Analyst like myself make the switch? What skills do I possess now that are relatable to becoming a Software Engineer in the near future? I researched the skills needed to becoming an Engineer and compared them to what I already have. Here’s my list of skills:
Communication: Writers, QA Analysts, and Engineers have to have excellent communications skills–written and verbal. All have to have attention to detail when expressing ideas, speaking with customers, and writing down anything relative to the job.
Concentration: All have to be able to concentrate for periods of time. Depending on the job itself, deadlines must be met and you have to therefore focus on the task at hand. I know first hand, as an Analyst it can be a very tedious job that requires long periods of sitting and staring at paperwork and the computer. You definitely have to be patient and make sure to break up the time by simply getting away from your work to breathe. Being able to focus with little to no distractions is the ideal work environment.
Technical: You must have knowledge of how to work a computer, but of course Engineers are more focused on leaning certain technical program languages that Writers and Analysts are not required to know.
Teamwork: Again depending on the job itself, all require working in a collaborative environment. If you are a freelance writer, you primarily work alone but if you work as a writer at a company, you definitely have to have a team work attitude. As an Analyst, team work is imperative to completing tasks and understanding the nature of the business. I’m learning most if not all Engineering jobs require working collaboratively with others–teammates, management, and clients alike.
Customer-Focused: All have to keep the customer in mind. As a writer, you have to engage with your readers. Always ensuring you are keeping their interest by writing relevant and intriguing articles. As an Analyst, the customer is your “bread and butter.” Especially with larger clients, the expectations are higher to deliver results; therefore the responsibility to make the customers happy is a number one priority. As an Engineer, the customers are a primary focus as well. Delivering top-notch products and services ensures the profitability and even the longevity of the company.
Interpersonal: All have to have excellent listening skills in order to interact and work well with others. Being approachable, flexible, and able to resolve issues is critical for the team’s and customer’s success.
I find that connecting the dots in my current roles makes my transition to an Engineering role more feasible. I appreciate all that I’m learning and all that I will continue to learn on this journey. Have I missed anything on my comparison list? If so, please leave your comment. I value constructive criticism and people sharing their experiences and voice.