Alida Arteaga, Regional Coordinator

29 June 2021

Getting IT Job Without Technical Background

It’s easier to get into a tech industry if you’ve always been into formal sciences. IT, however, still has plenty of people of various backgrounds. How do some make a transition from the humanities? Hard work. When you mix skills, effort, and talent, it’s no longer about just your background.

Lyricists or Physicists—IT Fits Everyone

An experienced journalist will make a good IT recruiter, as they make connections really well. A lawyer can resolve a conflict between the business and the project team or have productive negotiations. Even within the industry, people can move between design and Project Management, between making apps and crafting marketing plans for them. Here in IT, it’s all about the result, not your degree.

Remember that classmate who solved logarithmic equations like children's crosswords? Everyone probably said it was innate. Innate qualities are usually considered talent. If you get a great boss, they will bring out both skills and talents in you. For example, if a QA specialist shows aptitude for project management, the company will help with extra training. They already know how to solve problems collaboratively, so why not?

Experience of Our Graduates

Svitlana Ovsiichuk, Front-End Developer at Viseven, was teaching English at a private school and doing sales for an American company. She liked working with foreigners and helping kids learn the foreign language, but didn’t see herself doing that in the future. This is why Svitlana decided to try a completely different field. The new terminology was a bit daunting at first, yet great command of English and solid idea to move on kept Svitlana going.

“In Beetroot Academy, I studied literally day and night. A few weeks in, IT did not seem quite as scary and uncharted as it had during the first class”, recalls Svetlana. “I have a degree in linguistics but it does not prevent me from being a web developer. One can pick up whatever they want, it’s just that some will learn it in a shorter time span while others might have to apply enormous effort”.

Motivation is essential but a front-end developer is more than just that. A simple web page requires HTML knowledge. CSS is used to improve upon design: build a template, display the correct colors, dictate fonts. Style reflects the aesthetics of the product, but here’s another curveball. Your website will be viewed on desktop, mobile, and even tablet. A great design should also be flexible, which is why developers have to account for different devices. 

Daria Konkova, UI/UX Designer at TenantCloud, had plenty of jobs before IT. She was a pizzaiolo, waitress, tattoo artist, administrator at a tattoo studio, a freelance artist... All while graduating in sociology. Daria’s experience tells her that most skills can be translated to IT. 

“The services industry taught me to get out of my comfort zone and communicate with clients more”, says Daria. “it may sound odd, but the university background does help. Sociologists study public opinion, people behavior, compile stats, and make forecasts. This is partially what a user experience designer does. I recommend basic sociology and human psychology courses to everyone who wants to enter UI/UX design”.

Daria adds that design in IT is a mix of creative and analytical thinking. Original design ideas need to be tailored to the product, created memorable yet convenient. All of this requires understanding the audience. 

Volodymyr Khomovyi, WordPress Developer at Project Unit, used to work as a hookah master. He enjoyed the well-paid job, but decided to chase his love for computer hardware and change careers. It does, however, takes more than loving tech to get a job in IT. The base WordPress code is a combination of PHP and JavaScript programming languages. Implementing the visual side requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and jQuery framework. Photoshop and Figma skills come in handy. 

“Maths was far from my favorite class at school”, says Volodymyr. “But IT is so vast that anyone can find a place. My current job involves a lot of problem-solving and thus personal development”.

On the one hand, IT indeed does not require a deep understanding of mathematics. On the other hand, algorithms are based on formulas. Mathematics helps you understand what is behind a solution and why one and the same algorithm may not apply to a different problem.

The longer your work, the more your job will differ from what it was. IT takes regular learning and communicating with colleagues to see what you can pick up from them and how you can apply your background to their experiences. For instance, Volodymyr’s communicative skills helped him fit into the team really fast.

As you can see, skills from previous jobs will indeed come in handy. It just takes patience to get started, but once you’re in the industry, you’ll see how your background complements the skills you just learned.