Developers
August 13, 2020

The Top Alternative Career Paths For Developers—Part Two

Software development doesn’t have to be the destination; it can be the journey to something else.

While many software developers can’t image doing anything else, many others come to the conclusion that a career in the field is not their forte. It may be the stress of a fast-paced environment, the need to constantly stay up on the latest developments and certifications, or the relatively solitary nature of programming that may cause some developers to look elsewhere.

Whatever the reason for looking elsewhere, there are plenty of alternative career paths for developers who don’t want to crunch code day in and day out. Part One of this series looked at six career paths ideally suited to developers. Part Two will look at eight additional options.

Database Administrator

Being a database administrator can be a rewarding career that utilizes a number of the skills used in software development, but with a much narrower focus. In addition, as big data has become a central part of many industries, database administrators are more important than ever.

To succeed in the role, a database admin needs to have a strong working knowledge of both SQL and NoSQL databases. It is especially important to have a deep understanding of how to optimize databases, choosing the right kind for the right job, structuring databases for the best performance, optimizing indexes and more.

A capable software developer will easily be able to pick up the ins and outs of database administration fairly easily.

Security Analyst

Another exciting career choice is that of a security analyst. Security threats are an ongoing problem, with companies large and small under constant threat of malware, hacks, ransomware and more. As the threat grows, it’s not just companies under assault. Cities and government agencies are increasingly being targeted, as are educational institutions.

Because of the ongoing and increasing threat, there are few professions that have as much job security as security analysts. It’s also a profession that will provide constant challenges.

DevOps Engineer

DevOps is a progression of Lean and Agile methods. As a result, DevOps act as a liaison between development and operations, ensuring things run as smooth as possible.

Because of this unique role, a DevOps engineer must have a strong understanding of development. Beyond that, however, a DevOps engineer must also have a deep understanding of the operations side of the business. This career is a good option for individuals who enjoy development, but also want to be involved in a much broader aspect of the business.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a vital part of any development process. Release a product too early and the resulting damage to it or the company’s reputation can be disastrous.

Quality assurance requires someone with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of development. In this role an individual will have to test products, run automation scripts, collate results and help the development team identify problems.

Research and Development

R&D can be an exciting career choice, especially for developers who prefer to focus on the theoretical rather than the day-to-day operations. Virtually every major company has a significant budget allocated to R&D, working to discover and cash in on ‘the next big thing.’

Hardware Engineer

For developers who want to get even more low-level, a career in hardware development can be the ticket. Whether it be computer processor chips, networking equipment, hard drives, smartphones or some other category, hardware engineering can be a rewarding career.

While this field may seem daunting, a single individual can make a world of difference. Jim Keller is a prime example. Keller’s resume is a virtual roadmap to some of the biggest processor advancements of the past 30 years, for some of the biggest names in the industry.

This can be an amazing career path for individuals who want a chance to impact entire industries, far beyond what a single app or service can do.

Recruiting

Another option for software developers who prefer working with people to code is as a recruiter. Having a background in development can be a valuable resource when it comes to hiring other developers.

Software development recruiters must administer tests, evaluate applicants and make recommendations. Having a background in software development also can help a recruiter inform applicants about exactly what they can and cannot expect from the role.

Tech Support

Technical support is another field that is ideally suited for technically minded individuals who prefer working with people. While not necessary, a strong background in development can be very helpful when troubleshooting problems. This is especially true for in-house tech support, where the individual is helping troubleshoot in-house apps and services.

Conclusion

In this series we’ve looked at 14 alternate career paths for software developers and programmers. Each of these options offers unique challenges and skillsets, but each of them benefits from at least some experience programming.

In Part Three, we’ll look at eight more career choices, and why they’re good options for software developers.

TagsAlternative Career PathsDevelopers
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles

Back
DevelopersAugust 13, 2020
The Top Alternative Career Paths For Developers—Part Two
Software development doesn’t have to be the destination; it can be the journey to something else.

While many software developers can’t image doing anything else, many others come to the conclusion that a career in the field is not their forte. It may be the stress of a fast-paced environment, the need to constantly stay up on the latest developments and certifications, or the relatively solitary nature of programming that may cause some developers to look elsewhere.

Whatever the reason for looking elsewhere, there are plenty of alternative career paths for developers who don’t want to crunch code day in and day out. Part One of this series looked at six career paths ideally suited to developers. Part Two will look at eight additional options.

Database Administrator

Being a database administrator can be a rewarding career that utilizes a number of the skills used in software development, but with a much narrower focus. In addition, as big data has become a central part of many industries, database administrators are more important than ever.

To succeed in the role, a database admin needs to have a strong working knowledge of both SQL and NoSQL databases. It is especially important to have a deep understanding of how to optimize databases, choosing the right kind for the right job, structuring databases for the best performance, optimizing indexes and more.

A capable software developer will easily be able to pick up the ins and outs of database administration fairly easily.

Security Analyst

Another exciting career choice is that of a security analyst. Security threats are an ongoing problem, with companies large and small under constant threat of malware, hacks, ransomware and more. As the threat grows, it’s not just companies under assault. Cities and government agencies are increasingly being targeted, as are educational institutions.

Because of the ongoing and increasing threat, there are few professions that have as much job security as security analysts. It’s also a profession that will provide constant challenges.

DevOps Engineer

DevOps is a progression of Lean and Agile methods. As a result, DevOps act as a liaison between development and operations, ensuring things run as smooth as possible.

Because of this unique role, a DevOps engineer must have a strong understanding of development. Beyond that, however, a DevOps engineer must also have a deep understanding of the operations side of the business. This career is a good option for individuals who enjoy development, but also want to be involved in a much broader aspect of the business.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a vital part of any development process. Release a product too early and the resulting damage to it or the company’s reputation can be disastrous.

Quality assurance requires someone with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of development. In this role an individual will have to test products, run automation scripts, collate results and help the development team identify problems.

Research and Development

R&D can be an exciting career choice, especially for developers who prefer to focus on the theoretical rather than the day-to-day operations. Virtually every major company has a significant budget allocated to R&D, working to discover and cash in on ‘the next big thing.’

Hardware Engineer

For developers who want to get even more low-level, a career in hardware development can be the ticket. Whether it be computer processor chips, networking equipment, hard drives, smartphones or some other category, hardware engineering can be a rewarding career.

While this field may seem daunting, a single individual can make a world of difference. Jim Keller is a prime example. Keller’s resume is a virtual roadmap to some of the biggest processor advancements of the past 30 years, for some of the biggest names in the industry.

This can be an amazing career path for individuals who want a chance to impact entire industries, far beyond what a single app or service can do.

Recruiting

Another option for software developers who prefer working with people to code is as a recruiter. Having a background in development can be a valuable resource when it comes to hiring other developers.

Software development recruiters must administer tests, evaluate applicants and make recommendations. Having a background in software development also can help a recruiter inform applicants about exactly what they can and cannot expect from the role.

Tech Support

Technical support is another field that is ideally suited for technically minded individuals who prefer working with people. While not necessary, a strong background in development can be very helpful when troubleshooting problems. This is especially true for in-house tech support, where the individual is helping troubleshoot in-house apps and services.

Conclusion

In this series we’ve looked at 14 alternate career paths for software developers and programmers. Each of these options offers unique challenges and skillsets, but each of them benefits from at least some experience programming.

In Part Three, we’ll look at eight more career choices, and why they’re good options for software developers.

Alternative Career Paths
Developers
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles