Why learning to code can help you land any job

Ngoc Huynh

Learning to code has lots of benefits. Aside from the obvious (like being able to build websites and web applications), coding skills can make you stand out when it comes to looking for career opportunities. EVEN for positions that don’t involve writing code on the day-to-day. Or at all!

As Skillcrush says: Digital skills are job skills. And that’s the truth!

Before diving into all the job possibilities that having coding skills open up for you, let me give you a quick example of how I used my new coding skills to get non-coding jobs.

Non-coding jobs I landed because I could code

Most of the non-coding opportunities that came up because of my skills relate to writing or marketing.

One example is my work for Josh Owens. Josh is a prominent figure in the Meteor.js community. (Meteor.js is an “open source platform for building web and mobile apps in pure JavaScript”). He hosts the Meteor podcast, teaches online courses about Meteor, and helps startups build Meteor applications. (Not to mention that, once upon a time, he was a Rails Core Contributor!)

I first connected with Josh on Twitter, where many great professional relationships begin. A little Twitter banter and a few emails later, I mentioned my copywriting experience (Read: pre-coding skill). This casual mention led to helping Josh on writing projects like this one.

While none of the work I’ve done for Josh involved actually writing a line of code, knowing about JavaScript, how full-stack frameworks work, and dabbling in Meteor myself made it possible for me to do the job well.

And there are other instances like this one, where knowing how to code helped me land gigs that don’t involve writing actual code. (For instance, my recent position as the Tech Careers Expert for about.com.)

True, most of the work I get relates to writing. But there are a plenty of other fields and positions where knowing how to code can make you stand out. Here are 9 examples you should check out:

Remember: when applying to jobs you don’t have to meet every requirement. In fact, if you do, you are probably over-qualified. Think of job descriptions as an HR managers wish list. It is recommended that you meet about 80% of the requirements.

Still, keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken. And everything is situational. If there’s a job you think you’d be perfect at, and you only meet 70% of the listed skills — I say go for it.

9 Non-coding jobs where you’ll stand out if you can code


1. Technical writer

This is like most of the writing I do. Technical writing could mean:

Writing internal documentation

Creating customer support materials (or user guides)

Or even coming up with blog content (like what Randle Browning and Kelli Orrela do here at Skillcrush!)

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

Put simply: You understand what you’re talking about. As a result, you’re able to use the correct terminology and language for the subject you’re writing about. It’s tough to be a technical writer if you don’t understand the topic at hand. People who know the given topic (say, Ruby on Rails) will pick up on it quickly if you’re trying to sail in unknown waters.

2. Instructional designer

Instructional designers are similar to technical writers, except that instructional designers focus on creating learning material. Oftentimes this position involves producing some kind of video or documentation and also navigating learning software. And your work could be for internal (within the company) or external use (for customers).

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

This role involves communicating technical concepts to the non-technical. Many instructional designers not only develop scripts and content, but they must also know how to use different e-learning software as well as basic HTML for formatting online content.

Product development/Management

3. Project manager

Project managers are needed across a wide variety of industries. They typically manage budgets as well as timelines for projects, and they also explain and coordinate project deliverables, plus, of course, coordinate teams of engineers, designers, and upper-level managers.

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

Communicating with people in technical roles (developers, engineers, quality assurance (QA), and designers) is key to project management. In fact, many times, the project manager is the link between the team and upper management. So, if you can understand each person’s role and duties, you’ll be a much more effective project manager.

4. Product manager

Product managers develop a product experience from product planning to execution. They work with engineers, sales, marketing, and support to ensure goals for products are met.

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

You’ll also need to know how to communicate with technical team members as a product manager. And, depending on the company, as a product manager you may be expected to wireframe or sketch out ideas, meaning you’ll have to have skills with certain tools and applications which require some basic tech savvy. Moreover, if you’re giving instructions to others on how to create or build something, being able to understand the limitations and functionalities of the product will make this task much easier for you.


5. User experience (UX) designer

UX is a wide-ranging field which can include everything from research to designing user-friendly products. Ultimately, the “user” is at the center of a UX specialist’s world. And their goal is to make products or websites easy to use.

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

UX designers must collaborate with other people like product managers and engineers. Aside from being familiar with design principles, accessibility standards, and mockup tools, many successful UX designers know how to code themselves because coding comes in handy for quickly prototyping applications as well as understanding the limitations of what engineering or development teams can create.

6. User interface (UI) designer

UI and UX are two terms that are easy to confuse. UI focuses on the interface, or the appearance, more than the actual visceral experience of using a product. So, in some ways, UX is more like the design, while UX focuses more on the structure.

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

Designing simple user interfaces and knowing what’s possible from a developer’s standpoint is critical to UI design. As a UI designer, you’ll need to be able to communicate with those developers. And, again, the ability to use prototyping tools or to even code mock applications or sites will put you at the top of this field.

Marketing/Biz dev

7. Marketing coordinator

Marketing coordinator roles can vary from company to company, but they generally involve executing marketing initiatives, tracking the progress of campaigns, and refining strategies based on results.

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

Like most careers, marketing has gone digital. Important marketing components, like SEO for instance, involve some HTML coding, and using tools like Google Analytics involves a level of tech skills too. Just understanding how websites and the Internet as a whole work will help you be a better marketer.

8. Analytics associate

Do you love measuring data? Working with Excel to sniff out trends and patterns? Then an analytics position may be for you. Jobs related to “big data” are growing at jaw-dropping rates since virtually every industry nowadays is using data to guide decision-making.

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

Analytics jobs are all about logical thinking and quantitative analysis — both talents strengthened by gaining tech skills. Most jobs in big data also involve using data visualization tools like, for example, d3.js. (Yes, the “JS” meaning JavaScript!) And other kinds of programming experience (especially in Python or R, a programming language used in statistical computing — aka Big Data) can be a bonus in analytics.

9. Growth hacker

Growth hacker is a relatively new marketing term, only coined in 2010. A growth hacker differs from a general marketer because their primary focus is growing the user base, aka, getting more customers in the pipeline!

According to marketing geniuses Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor, “Growth hackers, using their knowledge of product and distribution, find ingenious, technology-based, avenues for growth that sometimes push the bounds of what is expected or advised.”

Why knowing how to code will make you better at this job:

Growth hacking, or acquiring new users quickly, is all about problem solving. Knowledge in a range of fields, like digital marketing, web analytics, and of course coding, is key to solving growth hacking problems. The day-to-day work involves logical thinking — a huge component of programming. And many growth hackers are expected to be able to code at least some of the tools of the trade like simple landing pages or tracking links.

As you can see, knowing how to code can either simply be a looked-for skill or even make you infinitely more employable in so many jobs — even if the day-to-day responsibilities don’t actually involve coding.

So, make yourself a standout candidate for whatever role you’re dreaming of by learning how to code today.

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Source : http://mashable.com/