By Lauren SauserApril 5, 2016

Boost Your Career: 8 Non-Programming Jobs that Benefit Big from a Coding Education

You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate the work-streams, vernacular, and economy of software development—but if your job requires you to directly support programmers, your proficiency with code will inevitably correlate with your compensation.

By studying the languages that make data, functionality, and futurism possible for technology, “non-technical” employees can take a competitive step past their colleagues who refuse to adapt.

Check out how the eight careers below get a competitive edge with a deeper understanding of code.

Technical Support Specialist

“A technical support specialist consults with other employees and identifies technology problems; then proposes or collaborates on solutions.”
Median Pay: $45,528

This job requires the ability to put customers at ease and address troubles quickly. Technical support specialists who understand how to solve problems stemming from code are more useful to their organizations, and the position’s highest earners almost always have experience in the analysis of hardware and software. Support specialists depend on strong written and oral communication, and practical understanding of software development is a key differentiator between ‘good’ and ‘great’ service.

Technical Recruiter

Technical recruiters are in charge of researching, screening, and selecting talented candidates with technical abilities for hiring organizations.”
Median Pay: $45,531

How can a technical recruiter find and place the best programming talent if they are unable to understand the skill and service that their candidates provide? An education in code supports accurate job descriptions and test strategies for programming talent, as well as the inspection of applicant portfolios.

Technical Writer

“Technical Writers develop, gather, and communicate technical information among customers, designers, production workers, and manufacturers.”
Median Pay: $55,069

Although technical writing covers many areas other than software, being able to express complex software development concepts in non-technical language will enable higher-paying jobs. Mastering the technical aspects of the products you document can provide a strong foundation on which to build your work—and it will give you an edge.

Digital Strategist

A digital strategist generally works cooperatively with other members of a strategy team to create long-term goals and plans for their products.”
Median Pay: $60,211

A basic knowledge of how software communicates—along with novice or intermediate knowledge in PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and Ruby—helps digital strategists orchestrate (and report on) the interlocking pieces of a brand’s online strategy, including search, social, and how users interact with content.

User Interface Designer

“User interface designers are members of a software development team. They are responsible for creating and arranging the elements of a software’s user interface (the part of the program that the end-user will see and interact with).”
Median Pay: $62,678

A greater understanding of HTML and CSS will help the graphically inclined manage designs across multiple channels, communicate needs with engineers, and save time by cutting back on mock-up and wireframe iterations. Being able to quickly build original blueprints of each screen or page that a user interacts with will open a whole new realm of creative (and career) possibilities.

Quality Assurance Manager

“Quality assurance managers are responsible for ensuring that products or services meet established standards.”
Median Pay: $71,922

Qualitative understanding of how to evaluate a product or service is aided by well-rounded expertise; quality assurance managers who understand code have a more complete perspective on how to test, identify, and resolve technical issues, and those specialized in software QA make consistently more than their counterparts.

Technical Project Manager


“The primary role of a technical project manager is to develop and maintain a technology project plan, which outlines a project's tasks, milestone dates, status, and allocation of resources to stakeholders and other interested parties.”
Median Pay: $86,330

Effective documentation, goal setting, and feedback requires technical project managers to understand each stakeholder in a project, and this is easier with an established level of programming knowledge. Project managers will have greater success when outlining schedules or expectations for a project when they can relate to or understand the team with whom they are working (and the capabilities therein!).

Data Scientist

“IT data scientists are responsible for mining complex data and providing systems-related advice for their organization. They design new ways to incorporate vast information with a focus on information technology topics.”
Median Pay: $93,146

Data scientist is the “biggest job of the 21st century” and has the highest earning potential on our list. They’re individuals who bring structure to large quantities of formless data and make analysis possible; their responsibility dictates that they research and communicate patterns that they find and advise executives and product managers on the implications. The ability to develop prototypes in a mainstream programming language, such as Java, is an enhanced function of this task.


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