Developers
August 14, 2020

The Top Alternative Career Paths For Developers—Part Three

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

Software development is a rewarding and challenging career choice for many individuals. Many others, however, may enjoy programming without wanting their entire career to exclusively center on it.

For those individuals, software development can be an important stepping stone to another career. In other cases, it can be an important part of other careers, without necessarily being the focus.

In Part One and Two of this series, we looked at 14 alternative career paths. In Part Three we’ll look at eight more.

Developer Advocate

Developer advocates are an important part of many organizations, acting as a bridge between the developers and corporate oversight. As such, they bring concerns and requests developers have to management, and communicate management’s direction back to developers.

While not strictly necessary, a background in software development is an important aspect of this role, as it helps the advocate understand the challenges that go with software development. This, in turn, makes them far more effective at communicating concerns the developers have. Similarly, having a development background means that developers will likely respect and listen to the advocate more than a typical middle manager.

Sales Engineer

Sales engineer is another job that benefits from a background in software development. Don’t let the “sales” in the title fool you, however. This role requires a solid understanding of technical concepts.

Sales engineers need a solid understanding of the technical requirements of software development teams so they can offer the best options.

Business Analyst

Another field that software developers can move into is that of a business analyst. This role requires wearing multiple hats, and often serves as the go-between for the business and technical departments.

As a result, a clear understanding of the technical side—including programming and development—goes a long way toward helping a business analyst do their job and keep everyone on track.

Site Reliability Engineer

Site reliability engineers have an exciting, albeit stressful, job. The job centers around identifying and fixing issues after they’ve come up. As a result, it can be a fast-paced career choice that involves essentially being a troubleshooter.

It’s easy to see why a background in software development is preferable, if not required. Such a background gives the engineer the ability to understand the underlying issue, test possible fixes and implement a solution.

Technology Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters must be adept at understanding, calculating and quantifying the underlying risk in a business or service. As a result, a background in software development can be an important asset in this field.

This field is also a good option for individuals comfortable with legal contracts and paperwork, as a review of a company’s contracts must be performed to analyze the risk.

Technical Copywriter

Similar to a technical writer, which we covered in Part One, a technical copywriter benefits from a strong background in software development, although it’s not strictly required.

Whereas a technical writer is primarily responsible for documentation and manuals pertaining to a specific product or service, a technical copywriter has a wider focus. These writers often specialize in website content, blog posts, articles and opinion pieces designed to educate readers and/or promote the company’s offerings.

This is a role that is excellent for an individual who enjoys being creative, while at the same time keeping current with technical developments and the software development industry.

Freelance Developer or Consultant

Another valid career choice is going the freelance route. In some cases, it’s not so much the development itself that can cause programmer burnout, as it is the fast-paced corporate environment. Transitioning to become a freelance developer can sometimes offer a happy medium between continuing in one’s chosen field, but in a setting where there’s more control over the type and pace of projects.

Similarly, a general IT freelance service could provide a variety of IT work—including some development—without focusing so much on a single profession. This can go a long way toward helping a software developer not get burnt out from a single task or field.

Mechanic, Architect or Other Field

Not to be ignored is the option of leaving the tech industry altogether. While it may seem like a drastic move, many of the qualities and abilities necessary for development are equally valuable in other fields. Logical thinking, analytical problem solving, the ability to manage a large project, attention to detail and many others are all qualities that can be very useful in other fields.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, software development doesn’t need to be a dead-end profession, one from which there’s no escape. For individuals looking for an alternative career, there are a plethora of choices available, both technical and non-technical.

In this series we’ve looked at 22 different options for developers looking for a different career choice. Whether you’re looking for a role that is focused on people, creativity, sales, troubleshooting or more, there’s sure to be an option that’s the right fit.

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

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DevelopersAugust 14, 2020
The Top Alternative Career Paths For Developers—Part Three
Software development doesn’t have to be the destination; it can be the journey to something else.

Software development is a rewarding and challenging career choice for many individuals. Many others, however, may enjoy programming without wanting their entire career to exclusively center on it.

For those individuals, software development can be an important stepping stone to another career. In other cases, it can be an important part of other careers, without necessarily being the focus.

In Part One and Two of this series, we looked at 14 alternative career paths. In Part Three we’ll look at eight more.

Developer Advocate

Developer advocates are an important part of many organizations, acting as a bridge between the developers and corporate oversight. As such, they bring concerns and requests developers have to management, and communicate management’s direction back to developers.

While not strictly necessary, a background in software development is an important aspect of this role, as it helps the advocate understand the challenges that go with software development. This, in turn, makes them far more effective at communicating concerns the developers have. Similarly, having a development background means that developers will likely respect and listen to the advocate more than a typical middle manager.

Sales Engineer

Sales engineer is another job that benefits from a background in software development. Don’t let the “sales” in the title fool you, however. This role requires a solid understanding of technical concepts.

Sales engineers need a solid understanding of the technical requirements of software development teams so they can offer the best options.

Business Analyst

Another field that software developers can move into is that of a business analyst. This role requires wearing multiple hats, and often serves as the go-between for the business and technical departments.

As a result, a clear understanding of the technical side—including programming and development—goes a long way toward helping a business analyst do their job and keep everyone on track.

Site Reliability Engineer

Site reliability engineers have an exciting, albeit stressful, job. The job centers around identifying and fixing issues after they’ve come up. As a result, it can be a fast-paced career choice that involves essentially being a troubleshooter.

It’s easy to see why a background in software development is preferable, if not required. Such a background gives the engineer the ability to understand the underlying issue, test possible fixes and implement a solution.

Technology Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters must be adept at understanding, calculating and quantifying the underlying risk in a business or service. As a result, a background in software development can be an important asset in this field.

This field is also a good option for individuals comfortable with legal contracts and paperwork, as a review of a company’s contracts must be performed to analyze the risk.

Technical Copywriter

Similar to a technical writer, which we covered in Part One, a technical copywriter benefits from a strong background in software development, although it’s not strictly required.

Whereas a technical writer is primarily responsible for documentation and manuals pertaining to a specific product or service, a technical copywriter has a wider focus. These writers often specialize in website content, blog posts, articles and opinion pieces designed to educate readers and/or promote the company’s offerings.

This is a role that is excellent for an individual who enjoys being creative, while at the same time keeping current with technical developments and the software development industry.

Freelance Developer or Consultant

Another valid career choice is going the freelance route. In some cases, it’s not so much the development itself that can cause programmer burnout, as it is the fast-paced corporate environment. Transitioning to become a freelance developer can sometimes offer a happy medium between continuing in one’s chosen field, but in a setting where there’s more control over the type and pace of projects.

Similarly, a general IT freelance service could provide a variety of IT work—including some development—without focusing so much on a single profession. This can go a long way toward helping a software developer not get burnt out from a single task or field.

Mechanic, Architect or Other Field

Not to be ignored is the option of leaving the tech industry altogether. While it may seem like a drastic move, many of the qualities and abilities necessary for development are equally valuable in other fields. Logical thinking, analytical problem solving, the ability to manage a large project, attention to detail and many others are all qualities that can be very useful in other fields.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, software development doesn’t need to be a dead-end profession, one from which there’s no escape. For individuals looking for an alternative career, there are a plethora of choices available, both technical and non-technical.

In this series we’ve looked at 22 different options for developers looking for a different career choice. Whether you’re looking for a role that is focused on people, creativity, sales, troubleshooting or more, there’s sure to be an option that’s the right fit.

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

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