The technology industry can seem daunting as a career choice, especially if you aren’t ‘technically gifted’ or haven’t learnt the ins and outs of disciplines like coding or engineering.
With technology rising up the ranks towards becoming one of the world’s fastest growing industries, however, professionals can be rest assured that there is a place in the field for those who don’t hold formal qualifications in science, technology, engineering or even mathematics.
To gain some additional peace of mind, here are 5 reasons why you don’t actually need a STEM degree to work in tech.
1. Experience Is Critical
When we talk about having experience in technology, we aren’t talking about the years of experience you might have, but are actually talking about the user experience, otherwise known as the UX or UI design process.
Digital technologies have no hope of being as impactful as they can if developers don’t consider the aesthetics and usability behind interface design.
And despite this discipline being so crucial to software development, you don’t actually require a STEM degree in order to become a UI designer. UX and UI are specialist roles designed to ensure that both hardware and software tech products are being built and designed to ensure that users can enjoy an end product that has been thoroughly optimised to suit their user needs.
Without a great UX or UI designer, a technological product can easily fall flat on its (inter)face. Whether it’s too complicated to navigate and use, or it’s simply a bad experience, either way, the tech won’t succeed without great design.
In a nutshell, UI designers are the key to bridging the gap between the technical components of a user interface, and the human user that interacts with that interface.
2. Vision And Strategy
One of the more common elements of working in tech and other STEM areas, is a razor-sharp focus on the solution. Digital technologies play a major role in our personal and professional lives simply because of their capability to solve some of society’s biggest problems.
So it goes without saying that the foundation of all technological innovations is finding a problem to solve. After all, no one is interested in a solution for a problem they didn’t need solving.
Strategic minds in the tech field are crucial to ensuring that technological professionals even have projects to work on, which is precisely why business-oriented professionals and entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily even need to be from a tech background, do so well working in tech or tech-adjacent industries. And let’s be honest, what industry isn’t tech-adjacent nowadays?
Regardless of what industry you seek to inhabit as an entrepreneur, having a strategic focus and a winning idea is sure to get you far. If entrepreneurs want to work within the tech sector, however, they’ll discover that their ideas are sure to find access to all the technologies that they may need in order to start solving all the world’s most pressing problems.
And yes, STEM courses may teach you what you need to know, but vision is something that can only be nurtured through experience and the right entrepreneurial mindset that lead to a successful start up.
3. Bringing Tech To Life Isn’t Technical
If Apple has taught us anything, it’s that you need to build a brand and a story before you should hope to see profits. This isn’t to say that someone with a STEM degree can’t create a powerful brand or creative approach, but again, it isn’t normally a discipline that’s covered in STEM courses.
Creative execution and marketing are distinct disciplines that are both keys to unlocking the potential of tech products and selling those products to millions.
Playing this role in any tech company is going to be crucial to its success, which is yet another testament to the idea that nobody achieves anything alone and it takes all kinds of skill sets to get a tech project off the ground and on the market. It’s not enough to understand tech.
You need to either understand the market as well, or enlist the support of somebody who’s specialized in market research and digital marketing.
4. People Need To Know About The Tech
Tech is useless if people don’t know it exists, how it can benefit their lives, or where to get their hands on it. This is precisely why content is a critical skill that is needed in almost every single tech company globally.
Content roles are informed by, but are distinctly separate to the role that someone with a STEM degree will play. In other words, content experts exist in tech to build a strategy of how best to present your digital products and services to your target audience, and accurately express why that product will be an asset to them.
Content is crucial to building a community around tech and creating an advocacy group that will sell the tech for you. If you come from a creative or journalistic background, you can find professional roles as a copywriter, PR specialist, or content marketing professional within the tech sector.
And for any tech professionals reading, the answer is no, it is not enough to just rely on AI copywriting tools alone. For B2C communications, it’s just better to have a human touch behind your company’s brand. Content professionals will effectively be able to work with tech companies and tech professionals in order to get tech products off the ground.
Alongside this, content professionals are also tasked with ensuring that these technological companies maintain clear channels of communication with their customer and user base, helping companies establish strong relationships that will in turn set them up for success.
5. Someone Needs To Herd The Cats
Coordination, leadership and decision-making can be key traits that are not entirely guaranteed to be found in professionals that do hold STEM degrees. Good leadership is a highly elusive skill that many may be quick to overlook. The truth, however, is that technical expertise is very different to decision-making in business.
Professionals with a background in business administration often provide detail and insight to help those around them make better decisions. Because of this, product management roles are best filled by professionals with this particular background.
Project and product management roles provide business-oriented individuals with the opportunity to work in tech without a STEM degree. These roles are really all about ensuring the business strategy is considered when designing, refining or innovating tech solutions. Simply put, these professionals help make decisions, manage expectations, and ultimately play a major role in driving products forward, all without necessarily needing a STEM background.
The tech industry is riddled with jargon and technical nuances that are enough to scare a lot of people away from what is truly a highly lucrative and expanding industry. Thankfully, there are many who are excited by the challenge of working in tech without a STEM degree.
And although we’ve listed just 5, there are truly plenty of reasons why the tech sector requires skill sets that exist outside of STEM. With this in mind, we urge professionals who are excited by the tech industry’s growth to be sure to look across all your experience to find more reasons why you can work in tech without a STEM degree.