The Ultimate List of Jobs in Tech (And What They Do)

The tech industry is one of the hottest industries you can work in. Here's a list of the hottest careers in tech.

by Andrew RanzingerLast updated: 01/22/2021
Open office layout at a tech company

Image by: Austin Distel

1. Data Scientist

Data scientists study and interpret data, then use it to build algorithms that solve interesting problems. They are the innovators behind many of the most exciting developments in technology.

For example, data scientists build the technology Uber uses to determine what car picks you for optimal efficiency.

They create the models that decide apartment prices on AirBnB, the algorithms that set odds for sports betting, and the programs that allow artificial intelligence to recognize a human face.

If you love solving complex problems and want to be on the cutting edge of technological innovation, you can’t do better than becoming a data scientist. Data science isn’t an easy career path, however.

You’ll need to major in math or computer science in college, and then get a master's degree or even a Ph.D. in data science.

The career outlook for data scientists is fantastic, and they make great money. You’ll spend longer in school, but you’ll start your career making close to six figures, and it only goes up from there.

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2. Data Engineer

Data engineers are closely related to data scientists, but they are not the same. While data scientists interpret and use data, data engineers create the structures to effectively store, organize, and clean data so that data scientists can use it in the first place. 

Data engineers are systems architects. They build the virtual warehouses where data is stored and accessed. 

Data engineers oversee a process called ETL, which stands for extract, transform and load. It’s the process of pulling messy data from one source; cleaning and aggregating the formerly raw data, and then inputting the newly transformed, much-more-presentable data into a data warehouse. 

The process of becoming a data engineer is similar to that of becoming a data scientist. Many have an advanced degree in a relevant field, although it’s not as important.

Data engineering is more about engineering ability and doesn’t rely on the advanced statistical modeling, machine learning, and other skills required for data science.  

Like data scientists, data engineers also make great money.

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3. Product Manager

Think of product managers kind of like general contractors for technology products like apps—they don’t do the actual building, but they coordinate everyone else’s work, and they are ultimately responsible for getting the product built.

Once a product is built, they develop and test new features, maintain the product, and measure results.

To become a product manager, you’ll need a four-year degree. Some schools now offer a product management degree, but product managers can also come from backgrounds in software development, project management, or other business disciplines. 

The most important thing you’ll need is experience, so you might start as a product analyst or associate product manager. Senior-level product managers make well over six figures.

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4. Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack developers are the Swiss army knife of programming. They can do it all, from the things you don't see (databases) to the things you do (the user interface).

With a deep understanding of computer engineering and programming languages, they write the code that turns concepts into reality and powers the applications we all use.

There are two paths to becoming a full-stack software developer. One is to get a four-year computer science degree. The other is to take a coding bootcamp, which is a shorter, intense 3-12 month program.

The career outlook for full-stack software developers is great, and they make very good money. Senior-level developers can make over six figures, and with a background as a developer, you will have many options for career progression into other business roles if you choose.

In most companies, the words “engineer” and “developer” are used interchangeably. Software developers may also be called software engineers.

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5. Salesforce Developer

Salesforce developers are software developers that specialize in one software—Salesforce. They build applications and write code for Salesforce specifically.

With 4x more market share than the nearest competitor, Salesforce is the most widely used CRM in the world, and many companies now have dedicated Salesforce developers to help adapt and evolve the platform to their needs.

As a Salesforce developer, you’ll do all of the things a normal software developer does—plan sprints, write code, debug software—just with a focus on Salesforce.

You build solutions like new storage architecture, effective strategies to distribute data across a business enterprise network, or innovative methods to create a more efficient CRM workflow.

Some Salesforce developers start as regular developers and develop an expertise in Salesforce through work experience.

Others start as Salesforce administrators and then grow their programming knowledge. Either way, you need to be a strong Salesforce administrator before you can be a good Salesforce developer.

6. Front-End Engineer

Front-end engineers are software developers that focus on websites and apps—programs that customers see and interact with. They build the visual elements of a website to create the user interface you and I see. 

Front-end engineers build applications to be accessible across devices, and use a design system that's consistent in terms of the buttons, fonts, and flow on a webpage. They also optimize for security and efficiency (like how fast pages load).

Front end engineers are the ones who will implement the changes and improvements that product managers and UX designers request.

Experienced front-end engineers easily make over six figures, and the expected growth for this career is excellent. Glassdoor listed it as the best job in America for 2020.

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7. DevOps Engineer

Development operations (DevOps) engineers are software engineers who manage the building, deployment, and operation of the software as a continuous automated process. 

This might sound a little confusing, so think of it this way—DevOps engineers monitor and improve a company’s process for creating software. 

This is important because companies need to be able to continually improve their software without negatively impacting the user experience.

Imagine if Amazon had to shut down its website every time they wanted to make a change! DevOps engineers make sure that doesn’t happen.

To be a DevOps engineer, you first need to become a software engineer. Once you’re a strong coder, you’ll need to get experience with system administration and hardware—like learning to set up, maintain, and manage web servers.

You’ll also need to learn the best practices for building, deploying, and automating software.

After that, it’s all about networking with other DevOps engineers and companies to find the right first role. DevOps are compensated on par with other types of computer engineers.

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8. Scrum Master

Scrum masters are project managers for software development.

Scrum is a process for developing software that is used in most companies by software developers today. It breaks up work into goals that can be completed within short periods of time, called sprints, which are usually around two weeks. 

A scrum master is the person who organizes the sprint planning, holds daily scrum meetings, and communicates progress to other stakeholders in the organization.

Their job is to make sure the developers are working well together, have what they need to be successful, and protect them from outside interruptions and distractions.

Scrum masters do not have to be computer programmers themselves—in fact, most of the time they aren’t. If you don’t have an interest in computer programming, but like the idea of being involved in the process of software development, scrum master could be a good job for you.

To become a scrum master, first, you need to learn the scrum framework inside and out. You may take some courses to help with this. You’ll then have to study for and pass the Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program exam to become a certified scrum master. 

9. UX Designer

Have you ever used an app or website that was easy to navigate and use? Chances are you can thank a UX designer for that.

UX (user experience) designers are responsible for improving the user's experience with a software application by making it easier to use, more enjoyable, and more “sticky.”

UX designers do a lot of testing and user surveys, then use those insights to build prototypes or wireframes that engineers use as blueprints for coding. They work closely with product managers on product feature development and testing.

If you like the idea of using data and testing to figure out how to get people to use and love your application more, UX design is a great career.

There is no direct path to becoming a UX designer. Most UX designers start with a different background like digital marketing, visual design, or software development, and then move into UX design. 

To become a UX designer, start by taking a UX design course from a credible company. Learn the tools, programs, and methods UX designers use, and start building a portfolio of work.

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10. Sales Engineer

Sales engineers are nerds with people skills. They combine the technical expertise of an engineer with the communication skills of a salesperson. 

Sales engineers are critical members of the sales team for companies that sell complex products. They’re the go-to experts on the technical aspects of the product, answering questions and helping people understand the benefits at a detailed level. 

Depending on the company, a sales engineering role might lean more towards the sales side or more toward the engineering side, so you’ll want to choose a job that fits what you like doing more. In both cases, sales engineers work with clients to help them understand how the product works and provide support throughout the implementation process. 

Because of their insights into what customers want, they are often valuable resources for product managers working to create new products.

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