Career paths

You may also be able to start a company outside of your regular working hours. While this is hard to do (and may have legal ramifications), it’s not uncommon. If you can find one or two other founders to share the load with, that may increase your chance of success.

Customer-Facing Roles

While software engineers benefit from having people skills, some bootcamp graduates I’ve talked to aren’t looking forward to sitting quietly and writing code all day. If you want a career path that provides more opportunities to interact with people, these jobs may suit you.

1. Developer Relations, Advocacy, or Evangelism

They are often involved in creating demo applications, writing blog posts, speaking at conferences, and managing social media accounts for tech-focused companies. Many of the big-name tech companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.) hire teams of developer relations professionals.

2. Developer Marketing

Marketing to developers is especially tricky because we don’t like to be sold, so many of the more aggressive marketing tactics that work for other markets are taboo here. As a person with a technical background, you’ll naturally understand the way developers think, and you’ll have more clout than a traditional marketer might.

SlashData puts out a lot of great content about Developer Marketing, including a book on the topic in 2018. If you’d like to get started in this field, learn online marketing: SEO, social media, content marketing, influencer marketing, etc. You can practice many of these skills on your blog to demonstrate your knowledge before applying to jobs.

3. Sales Engineer

The truth is that everyone is in sales. Whether you’re "selling" yourself as a job candidate during the interview process or advocating for a new framework on your engineering team, sales means matching a customer’s needs with the right solution.

The other nice part about sales is that you don’t need any specialized certifications to do it. Hubspot offers a great introduction to some skills and resources you can start with. As more companies build software tools and services for engineers, sales engineers will likely become even more in-demand in the coming decade.

4. Technical Recruiter

I’ve met some honest, genuine tech recruiters (Taylor Dorsett and Matt Hoffman from my home city of Chicago, for example), but I’ve also met some awful, clueless recruiters who are purely focused on churning through candidates to hit their quota.

The good news is that with a background in software development, you’ll have more empathy and credibility than many other technical recruiters out there. Like sales, this field requires a more outgoing, relationship-focused personality, but it doesn’t require specialized certifications or courses.

Product Roles

If you want to remain on the product team, but you’re not sure you want to be a software developer, there are many fields you can transition into. These roles work closely with engineers, so your coding knowledge will help you, but they also require other specialized knowledge.

5. Quality Assurance or Test Engineer

If you have an eye for detail and you like coming up with creative ways to automate repetitive tasks, this could be a great career path. It will likely require some coding as well as some manual testing work.

Smaller companies have their software engineers test each other’s code, so dedicated test and QA roles are most common in large organizations. There is a lot of variance between how companies do testing, so be sure to ask about the tools they use, how automated their tests are, and how much your role will entail manual vs. automated tests.

6. Business Analyst

On the other end of the product development lifecycle are business analysts. They typically work as a bridge between the business and technical teams to ensure that requirements, limitations, and timelines are understood. They may also hop in and help with testing and quality assurance, depending on the team’s structure, so they need to have a wide range of product knowledge.

If you have a background in business, product development, or design and some coding skills, you may qualify for an entry-level business analyst role. If not, I’d recommend looking into some online courses to help you develop a basic understanding of the role and what it entails.

7. Project Manager

The key difference is that project managers typically go deep into a single project. They often define tasks and resources for the teams working on the project and track the project’s progress as it nears release.

Excellent organization skills, understanding of the business, and people skills are critical to succeed as a project manager. This role hinges on your ability to manage expectations and motivate people who might be more senior or experienced than you, so you have to build trust quickly. This role’s multifaceted nature makes it a good fit for analytical, technical people who don’t want to write code anymore.

8. Scrum Master

This ends up looking a lot like project management, but with a particular emphasis on serving the other teams involved in building the product. Again, this is not always its own job, but in larger organizations, it may be.

The ability to manage expectations and limitations is critical to your success as a Scrum Master. You’ll also need to know Agile best practices, so I’d recommend finding a suitable course or book on the topic. Agile has seen widespread adoption at organizations of all sizes, so this career path is likely to continue growing in the coming decade.

9. Product Manager


Product managers look holistically at the company’s products to ensure they are desirable (customers want it), viable (makes business sense), and feasible (we can build it). The ability to think at a high level like this is rare, so if you have it and some technical background, you might do well as a product manager.

Entry-level product managers may start with smaller parts of the product or as project managers in some organizations. This can give you a taste of product development and help you build relationships with all the necessary stakeholders before you’re assigned your own product to manage.

10. Designer

If you come from a design or artistic background, becoming a UI or UX designer with some coding chops is a great way to stand out in your field. This combination of skills will allow you to speak more effectively with engineers and create interactive mockups in HTML/CSS rather than just static image files.

If you don’t have much experience in design, take a course, and start building a portfolio. Many companies will hire people without a degree if they can showcase their knowledge and skills. Dribbble is the most common portfolio platform I’ve seen, but you can also use your own website.

11. No or Low-Code Developer

The explosion of no-code and low-code development tools in the past few years has opened up opportunities for companies that want to quickly build software without hiring a development team. These tools allow you to create a mobile or web app in hours instead of weeks, and because they are getting better every year, more companies are embracing no-code apps.

Makerpad and No Code Jobs are good places to start looking for these kinds of jobs. Because this is a new field, you’ll find a wide range of required skills and payscales, but your background writing code will undoubtedly prove to be an asset.

Zero To Mastery Academy Career Paths

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced professional, figuring out the next step in your career can be overwhelming. Our curated Career Paths provide you with the step-by-step roadmap you need to take you from any level, to getting hired and advancing your career. Pick a Career Path below and we’ll guide you every step of the way.

Not sure what course to take? Not sure where to start? We’ll help you find the right path 👇

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Step-by-step roadmap with a curated curriculum of courses, workshops, challenges, projects, and action items where you’ll learn to code, build a portfolio, become a Frontend Developer from scratch and actually get hired.

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This path is for those that have a full year to dedicate to learning all of the latest in-demand skills in the tech industry and make themselves stand out. Web, Mobile, Machine Learning, Python. this is Andrei’s recommended path to learn everything!

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Step-by-step roadmap to learn Python from scratch and actually get hired. This curated curriculum of courses, workshops, challenges, and action items will build your skills, portfolio and experience so you become a confident Python Developer.

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Step-by-step roadmap with a curated curriculum of courses, workshops, challenges, projects and action items that will give you the skills, portfolio and experience to become a Machine Learning Engineer and get hired.

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This path is for those wishing they had a Computer Science degree but can’t afford the money or time to get one. This curated curriculum of courses, workshops, challenges, projects, and action items will help you make up for not having a CS degree.

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