How to Work in Technology Companies Even if You Can’t Write a Line of Code

A decade ago there was virtually no internet based businesses as we know them today. Software development, coding and complex design skills was left to the very few who worked in IT departments of banks, consulting firms and a few IT infrastructure companies.

Today a whole lot is changing; the internet penetration is increasing year and year and giving birth to lots of business entities whose business model and operation rely almost entirely on devloping web and mobile platforms.

The Budding Nigerian Tech Scene

Slowly it’s emerging; a whole new sector where business is done without physical boundaries and across regions instantly. In the past few years technology focused/internet based companies like Iroko Partners (IrokoTV and Iroking), e-commerce titans – Konga and Jumia, Paga, Dealdey, etc have landed millions of dollars in funding and are increasing generating substantial revenue thus drawing attention to the birth of an industry.

Before these times you either dreamed to work for oil and gas companies, big consulting firms, Banks/financial institutions, FMCG companies and more recently telecommunication/IT services firms. These were the sexy and glamorous places to find employment. In a few years all that could change. Just the same way Silicon Valley in the United States of America became a top quality employee pulling ecosystem where the best and most talented desired and flocked to gain employment.

Complete with sexy perks, on the job flexibility and sometimes stock ownership working for technology/internet startups and companies may soon become a very much desirable aim for many here in Nigeria.

Though on the average far many startups and technology companies will fail the few that do succeed and are obviously succeeding will drive significant amount of interest for people looking to work in exciting, non-rigid work environment.

It is assumed by many that to work for a technology/internet company one would need some considerable tech skills or to put it more severely, be able to code. That doesn’t seem like the truth. While a good percentage of people who work for technology/internet startups are required to have coding and good design skills a very health portion of the jobs

Where Can a non-techie Work in Internet/Technology Companies

If you don’t know the difference between Python and PHP it may appear that startups and tech companies are always hiring software this and design that. Still see below four areas you can get to work in tech firms if you can’t write a line of code;

Customer Support

Virtually all the technology companies operating in Nigeria need to sell one service, product or the other and so do have users or customers. Especially for consumer internet companies they certainly have to place great importance on how they relate to customer issues and enquiries as a way of retaining the patronage of such customers.

So if you have sound basic computer usage knowledge and have a knack for interacting with people and solving issues this could be a good area to look into. Support representatives handle issues from instructing customers on how to use a feature to taking in complaints from users.

Jobs in the customer support/service in internet business may come with such names like Demand Creation Officer, User Specialist, Happiness Officer, Relationship Officer/Specialist, Account Manager etc.

Community Management

In some companies this could be intertwined with customer support. Community management in internet companies could mean managing and maintaining the company’s social channels, encouraging user feedback, coordinating and organising online and offline events and so on. In many small companies one person could run both the customer support and community management

PR and Marketing

For smaller companies Public relations and marketing could be fused together. The key objective for this is to bring in new users, increase awareness and excitement about the product. If you are creative, imaginative, love implementing and testing the cost effectiveness of strategies and more especially if you can squeeze water out of a rock (you don’t get big marketing budgets unless you are with bigger firms) then this could be your turf.

Business Development

Think business development, think licensing, affiliates, franchising, traffic exchanges, joint ventures. According to Seth Godin business development is a department with few rules and little structure. Copious amounts of creativity in coming up with initiatives that will geometric or exponential effects for the company and having the persistence to pursue deals and leads to the ends of the earth count as very important.

This certainly does not require you know how to code. If you love making and pursuing deals you should definitely go for business development jobs in technology/internet companies.

So these are areas you surely stand a chance to get a job in the emerging internet/technology startup industry.

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