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How to Pivot into Tech with Any Background

How to Pivot into Tech with Any Background

This article is about how to pivot into tech without any formal tech or coding experience. I will be going into my background and what I studied and how I pivoted into tech despite not having any formal tech experience. I will also give recommendations about how you can pivot into tech based on your current non-technical experience in the service industry, marketing, education, finance, and virtually any other industry.

Pivot into Tech – My Backstory

For most of my life, I had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. I competed actively in Speech and Debate and Mock Trial for nearly a decade.

I graduated with an English degree from a top East Coast university and started studying for the LSAT as soon as my advisor told me to.

Essentially, I had planned my entire life at the age of 10 and stuck to the plan like a dog with a bone. But then the Boston Bombings were just a few miles away and reality sunk in: if I had been at the finish line at the wrong time, what would my obituary say?

Vanessa was a model young woman. She played by the rules and followed what society recommended. She won’t be forgotten by those who loved her, but she won’t be remembered for anything in particular.’

So I packed two suitcases and moved to China with just a few dollars and a dream. I dumped my boyfriend, bailed on law school, and went into the world in search of what I really wanted.

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But what does this have to do with my pivot into tech?

You will never get anywhere if you play it safe and by the rules. If you’re truly interested in pivoting into tech from a non-technical industry, then creativity and experience will be your main selling points to companies/recruiters.

Wander Onwards and my suite of digital products continues to be my best asset when it comes to finding tech jobs in any country.

If two candidates have equal experience and qualifications, it’s going to be the one who has international experience, a side hustle, or any other interesting hobbies that will secure the offer.

So with this in mind, let’s get into the specifics.

What do I mean by ‘Pivot into Tech’

Making a pivot into tech just means that you are working for a company in the tech industry. You do not need to pivot into a technical career; that’s different and much harder.

You will need hard technical skills in order to pivot into tech careers like software engineering, front-end development, etc and that’s not what we’re focusing on today.

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This article is specifically going to outline how I took my non-tech-related experiences and positioned them in a way that was attractive to tech recruiters and companies.

TL;DR What Courses Would I Recommend?

These courses will give you a better understanding of the job role, what’s required, and how to interview! I would recommend investing in a course after you finish this article. [Linked at the end as well]

Take my free quiz!

Figure out what you want to do

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You already have lots of fantastic qualities and skills that tech companies are hungry for; you just need to articulate them out loud. Take 10 minutes to write two lists of things that you like about your job and what you dislike about your current job. This will be your framework for finding future opportunities to pivot into tech because you can align these likes with tech-specific jobs. Let’s do a quick example together.

Here’s a fictional example: If I was a retail worker at a makeup counter, what would be my likes and dislikes?

how to pivot into tech industry with no experience

Next, you should focus your job hunt on positions and companies which fit two or more of your ‘likes.’ Just ticking one box is not specific enough and you’ll cast too wide of a net. You want to make sure all of your applications are targeted and good use of your time.

Based on my likes, there are several entry-level, non-technical jobs that could explore in order to pivot into tech. I choose Project Management as my way to pivot into tech as I’m very organized and I like to manage multiple projects at one time (ex. balance school, Wander Onwards, AND part-time work).

Here are a few examples of non-technical jobs that you could potentially pivot into without direct tech experience. 

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how to pivot into a tech job how to pivot into tech without experience

Have a Google to see what these non-technical roles are all about. The easiest way to pivot into tech is to start in a non-technical role and gain experience in the industry first. Then you can move into more technical roles that are still not engineering-focused.

How to Create Relevant Experience for Yourself

My $15 Beginner’s Budget Dashboard has helped me secure 6-figure job offers in multiple countries. In my interviews, I always use the dashboard as an example of my product management style and to demonstrate my analytical thinking. 

This is because I owned the entire product journey: from conception to development, to marketing, and then sales.

I walk the interviewer through my market and customer research, what features I prioritized through the product development phase, and then how I released it to my B2C customers on Wander Onwards.

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I am sure to include both the highlights and ‘failures’ through the process and then I share my commercial results (i.e. profits) to demonstrate my business acumen.

I literally built this dashboard from just my imagination and a desire to do something productive.

If you’re struggling to gain ‘relevant experience’ for a role that would allow you to pivot into tech, then you need to create your own experience.

You can do that with your hobbies, in your community, or online. Going back to my original example, here are a few things you can do to get ‘relevant experience’ for these non-technical roles.

how to find a job in tech how to pivot into tech

Invest in New Skills

If you’re interested in pivoting into tech, but you don’t want to re-train as someone who is technical, then you should upscale with an online course instead!

The benefit of doing a course is that you will learn the necessary key terms and important methodologies that everyone in the industry swears by.

Unfortunately, the reason why it’s so difficult to break into tech is that most people lack industry know- how and we don’t teach this information in our schools.

Here are my most recommended courses to take if you are interested in pivoting with your current skill set.

These courses won’t break the bank like some of the coding-boot camps on the market so they are well worth the investment even if you decide to go in a different direction.

Make Your CV relevant

This is where most people get stuck. If you don’t have directly transferable experience, you need to shape the experience you DO have in a way that’s still relevant to the posting.

When I made my pivot into tech and Project Management, I used the same language that the vacancy posting used, but made it applicable to my experience as a blogger. 

Let’s use an example from a real-life Customer Service vacancy at Monzo

How to pivot into tech from any career background
How to pivot into tech from any career background

Let’s go back to my original example of Customer Support as a potential path to pivot into tech and let’s pretend that you took my advice and volunteered for a crisis hotline to gain experience. Here’s how you can phrase your CV to be relevant, without direct tech or fintech experience. I don’t know how a non-profit would classify the vulnerable people they support so let’s call them ‘beneficiaries’ for this example. 

  • Provides compassionate beneficiary support by speaking calmly and openly with our beneficiaries. 
  • Has a deep understanding of what our community needs in a time of crisis and prioritizes what resources we can provide accordingly.
  • Communicates with our beneficiaries through a variety of mediums, based on our beneficiary’s needs: including calls, Twitter, emails, or website chat. 
  • Proactively recommends free resources and products to influence positive changes in our beneficiary’s life circumstances. 
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From the example above, you can see that I’ve used similar language and points that directly match what Monzo is looking for in a Customer Service Specialist. All of these things are likely true, but they were positioned in a way that goes beyond ‘answers emergency calls for vulnerable individuals.’  

Just Starting Out?

If you’re just starting out on your financial journey, check out my Beginner’s Budget Dashboard.

It’s a Google Sheets template that tracks your expenses, income, investments, savings, and more! There’s even a free video tutorial to help you get started.

money budget sheet

Build Your Industry Network

After I graduated from my Master’s Program at SOAS, The University of London, I immediately started attending networking events whenever possible. Every week, I would attend at least 1 or 2 events that were put on by companies or groups that specialized in the industry I was interested in.

At the time, I was initially interested in Energy (Solar, Gas, Oil, etc) and the policy surrounding these resources. If you’re interested in technology, I would recommend that you explore websites like:

Then of course filter by city and topic. People that you will meet at these events may or may not have the power to influence the right people to get you an interview. At the very least, lots of people were willing to give me a referral and that put my CV at the top of the pile!

Be Resilient

Jumping into a new industry is NEVER easy! Especially if you don’t have immediately transferable skills or if you don’t have much work experience.

Don’t give up though! you just need one yes to make all the difference. I applied to over 250 jobs until I finally got my first tech job in London and I’m so grateful that I stuck with it. 

Good luck and I know you can do it!  

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Erika

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

Excellent advice! I really connect with your story, like you, I wanted to be a lawyer at a very very young age. I worked as a paralegal for nine years and I’m so grateful I did not become one. I would have been miserable. I switched my career into teaching and after three years I am switching into tech.

Jake Clarke

Friday 9th of July 2021

Pivoting the business to totally tech business like SaaS services is obviously not possible for a nontechnical guy, but even if he/she is doing a business he obviously needs a tech side to it, for example, website, application, etc and these can be easily achieved by hiring developers to get the job done.