In the dizzying world of endless tech job titles, it’s important to know where you stand.
The four-letter word that can fill the recent graduate with both dizzy excitement and total dread on their search for the perfect career.
How can such a small word encompass so much…stuff? And why so many acronyms, from edtech to fintech to martech and back again?
All of that to steer through before you’ve even looked at the tech job titles – if you dare to tackle this mission impossible. Even the most determined graduate can’t help but feel intimidated by the endless front-ends and back-ends and full-stacks in the job descriptions. Still, managing to cling on to your computer mouse to scroll through a few more? Throw in a few mystifying acronyms – a dash of SEO or a pinch of UX – and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be ready to crawl back under your duvet with Netflix, never to dip your toe in the tech pool again.
But maybe you don’t need to raise the digital white flag just yet. In fact, if you’re reading this, I applaud you — you’ve already taken the first step to finding the tech title that’s right for you.
The different types of tech job titles
It’s vital to arm yourself with knowledge of the different types of tech roles out there, and there’s a really easy way to play spot-the-difference…
First, learn to spot the three main categories of tech job titles:
In a tech engineering role, you’ll be doing anything from designing to bug-fixing to coding to developing. Here are some key terms to look out for:
- User experience, or ‘UX’: Anything and everything to do with how the customer, or website-visitor feels about a website – how easy it is for them to navigate, whether they choose to buy a product or not, the colours and designs.
- Front-end: To do with what the user or customer sees – the design features and layout of a website.
- Back-end: To do with the behind-the-scenes programming – like connecting to databases and servers.
- Full stack: Able to be an all-rounder and work on both front-end and back-end elements of a project.
Beware: ‘full-stack’ is a bit of a business buzz-word that is thrown around an awful lot – so it’s worth whizzing off an email to the recruiter to find out more.
…Now, you can decode the titles! A front-end website developer will be designing the layout of the website, and the website guest’s general experience. A back-end game programmer will be working on the coding that connects the game to the server. A full-stack app developer will be multitasking – juggling app design with the inner architecture of the app.
Who you’ll be… Someone with a computer sciences degree, who can demonstrate technical expertise.
You’ll also come across a fair few job titles in the tech industry that are something like this:
- Web analytics
- UX analyst
- Data analyst
- Business systems analyst
These roles are all about taking your fine-tooth comb through the facts, in order to find ways to make improvements, so a systematic approach is a MUST for these roles.
But…Don’t be fooled!
Analysts are also super creative, as they have to find innovative ways to solve the problems they find.
Some companies like to mix it up with the word ‘architect’ rather than ‘analyst’ (you’ll see this word used in engineering jobs, too). A ‘business systems architect’, for example, is a matchmaker for companies, helping them find their technology soulmate to improve their business.
Who you’ll be… Someone with a keen eye for detail. There are a range of degrees suitable for analysts – though economics gives you an advantage!
Lastly, that brings us to the new category of tech titles… Marketing.
Marketing in tech is very diverse and easy to get lost in! Don’t worry – just keep calm and carry on reading…
The first thing to look out for is the word ‘content’. Content (meaning ‘stuff’) can be very broad – so as a content creator, you might be writing, videoing, photographing, designing, or all of these things at the same time.
Expect that there will always be some writing (unless the job title specifies ‘video content’)… So if you think content might be your thang, you’ll need to have a creative flair for the written word!
Next, pay attention to the words that come after ‘content’ in the job title. For example, a content creator will be – you guessed it – creating the content. A content manager will be overseeing the work of content creators, and a content strategist might be working on a range of different content projects at once, for a larger company.
You might also see the word ‘SEO’ popping up a lot in content roles, or even with its own star position in the title. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation: basically a fancy way of saying ‘making the content easy to find in search engines’.
As an SEO consultant, you’ll need to think carefully about everything from which words to use to make the content easy to find, to researching other content that is similar, and adding links to those in your own content (called ‘backlinks’).
It’s worth taking a free course on SEO if you’re unfamiliar with it – there are loads of great ones out there which cover the basics! My favourites are…
- DigitalGrad’s Search Engine Marketing (this was the first course I took – it was packed with info and super easy to follow).
- Shaw Academy’s SEO Programme (you have to pay for this one – but they offer a free trial so you can see if you like it).
Who you’ll be…You won’t need a degree or background in computer sciences – degrees in journalism, marketing or English are favorable but not necessary to be a content whizz.
It’s easy to feel frazzled when searching for tech careers – so when you do, remind yourself of the three main categories, and go from there.
You can also check out SkillsCrush’s awesome dictionary of tech job titles here.