Not everyone in the aerospace industry is a rocket scientist. Not everyone working in a hospital is a medical professional. And not everyone in the tech industry is an engineer of some sort. This is the case for almost every field you can imagine.
Most people in the music industry are not rock stars. They can’t sing or play an instrument. And they wouldn’t recognize a 440-A if you gave them a piece of sheet music. When you go to a concert, all you have eyes for are the performers on stage. You never see the stage crew and the people responsible for the light show. These days, there is probably a film crew as well.
At a company like Apple or Google, the engineers are the rock stars. That doesn’t mean they are the only ones who make the business successful. The most integrated technological fields of the future will always need ordinary people to make the wheels go. You can be one of them. You don’t have to get a degree in comp-sci to be among the people who help shape the future of tech. You don’t have to be able to code an app or repair an iPhone.
Here are some of the ways you can contribute:
What is technical writing? It is a lot more straightforward than you might imagine. It is simply the activity of creating and distributing technical information. That can be almost anything from specifications to instruction manuals. This type of writing is needed for hardware, software, and services. It does not have to be related to computers. It could have to do with the property of materials such as graphing. It could be for printed materials or online reference.
There is more to technical writing than just describing goods and processes. There is also the matter of localization. This can be a major issue for large, multinational companies that do business all over the world. A manual is no good if it is not locally accessible.
Technical writing is not poetry. It has to be clear and free of colloquialisms to the extent possible. That is because regional idioms do not easily translate from one culture to another.
The writing has to be as translatable as possible so that it can be clear in every language. As it is sometimes said on police procedurals, “just the facts”. Technical writing is a little like legalese without the jargon. Tech companies can’t do business without it.
If technical writing is not your skill, marketing might be the path for you. This is more suited for poets and wordsmiths of all sorts. In marketing, you are not describing the product for technical purposes; you are describing it for emotive connection. Marketing is less about making people understand the product and more about making them want the product.
Of course, there is more to marketing than writing. Somewhere along the way, someone is going to have to be responsible for selling the product. Products don’t sell themselves. People do. Only 37% of entrepreneurs sell enough to take profits or salary. The tech industry is full of product graveyards and services that ended before their time. They are always in desperate need of people who can sell the dream.
Sometimes, failure is not due to the product being undesirable or useful. More often, it is a failure of sales and marketing to breathe life into the product. You don’t have to know a thing about technology to sell it like a pro.
Product testing is an art that doesn’t require a person to know how the product is made before they can test it. In fact, it might hurt objectivity if the tester is too sympathetic with the maker. There is only so much machines can do to test products. At the end of the day, the end user is a person who will always surprise the maker with how they try to use the product. When makers don’t have enough real-world feedback from non-techie humans, their products usually suffer.
The tech industry, like every other, needs all kinds of people for it to be successful. If you want to be a part of that world, try tech writing, marketing, or product testing. There will always be a place in the industry for people with these skills.