Welcome to the Tech for Non-Techies podcast

My story: ambition, tech and the camel incident

Today, I’m doing something a bit different. As our smart community grows, I know that some of you might not know much about me, my story or how I got into this tech thing.

That’s why today, I’m sharing a little bit about me.

I’m sharing this with you so that you can see that the confusion you feel about tech, or the fear that your lack of tech knowledge will be discovered, does not have to be your permanent reality. I want you to see from my example that there are many more opportunities for you than you probably think.

You will also learn what not to wear when riding a camel.

Summary notes from this episode:

  • I always wanted to have a great career, but when I graduated in 2005, tech wasn't what it is today. I started my career in the media, then worked in private equity and became a non-technical founder after my MBA.
  • I planned to use my MBA to transition into a career in tech, but this was harder than I thought. Business school gave me business skills...
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The top skill you need to succeed in the Information Age

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously wrote that “software is eating the world.” While digital transformation is everywhere, and even your coffee shop has an app, this doesn't mean we all need to learn STEM subjects and become coders.

The vast majority of jobs remain non-technical. 

To succeed in today's economy, ambitious professionals need to learn how to become Digital Collaborators. This means learning additional skills, rather than completely retraining.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Microsoft says that "the demand for digital skills continues to grow, and we estimate that digital job capacity – or the total number of technology-oriented jobs – will increase nearly five-fold by 2025, rising from 41 million in 2020 to 190 million in 2025. These numbers are in stark contrast, and they illustrate the digital skills gap that has accompanied the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
  • Being a Digital Collaborator means learning to...
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Lessons from the Netflix C Suite

How do you get to the top of a tech company as a non-technical professional? How can you drive innovation, when you’re not building the technology yourself?

That’s what you’ll learn from this interview with David Wells, ex CFO of Netflix and chair of the board at Wise.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • It’s called tech, or working in tech, but the entire economy is going to be this. So calling it tech is a little bit apocryphal at this stage,” David says.
  • Tech jargon distances people from the actual understanding of the concepts.” Learning core technology concepts is not as hard as the jargon has many believe.
  • Learning what data scientists do and how to work with them is the best skill set to develop for business people in tech. “Data science is the analysis of the lifeblood of the company and you have to ask fundamental insight questions against it. You do not have to build the models yourself, but you are at an advantage if...
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Why 2022 brings even MORE opportunity to non-techies in tech

The tech sector is massive and is set to get even bigger in 2022. As it matures, the number of non-technical roles increases.

Listen to this episode to prepare for the non-techie jobs boom.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • According to research by Glassdoor, 54% of all jobs in tech companies are for non-technical roles.
  • As the tech sector matures, it becomes more open to non-techies. When a tech start-up grows into a business, it needs the human infrastructure of a business: marketing departments, legal expertise, procurement help and so on.
  • Peloton is a great example of a tech company, whose non-technical component makes it truly special. The bikes and treadmills are great, but the instructors, the community aspect and the branding is what makes consumers buy and love the products.

To learn the core concepts you need to succeed in tech as a non-techie, sign up for:

FREE TRAINING: How To Speak Tech For Leaders   

Live training and Q&A on 26 & 27...

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Why human insight will drive success in tech in 2022

No code apps and outsourced product studios mean that there is more opportunity than ever for non-technical founders and traditional businesses to get into tech and succeed.

But, as more companies enter the market, they’ll be competing for a finite resource: our attention.

Listen to this episode how to make the most of this opportunity and avoid costly mistakes.

Learning notes:

  • The prevalence of No Code apps and outsourced product studios is driving down the cost of building apps, sites and algorithms.
  • As more tech products enter the market, marketing costs will increase. This means a boon for Facebook and Google, and also for professionals who know how to attract and engage new users.
  • Jobs that will benefit from this boom include User Experience designers, who know how to make habit forming products, Community Managers and Strategic Partnerships experts. None of these roles require coding, but they all require an understanding of how tech products get built and who does what...
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How to review your year with UX Designer Sang Valte

career strategy ux design Dec 21, 2021

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action” - Peter Drucker. 

As 2021 comes to a close, it's useful to reflect on what worked, what didn't and how your industry evolved

In this episode, you'll hear from Sang Valte, Senior UX Director at international design agency Jellyfish, and Design Standards Board Member at General Assembly, about how he reviews his year and how the UX changed in 2021.

Questions to ask yourself for your end of year review:

  • What have you gained in your health & wealth? Where have you lost? Sang thinks of wealth in relationships, friendships and knowledge, and health in terms of financial health, mental health and physical health.
  • What have you done to further your skills in your career this year? Good UX designers must work to remove bias from their thinking to truly understand the users they make products for, says Sang. To sharpen critical...
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Avoid these mistakes if you want to break into tech

career strategy Dec 15, 2021

Did you know that 54% of all jobs in tech companies are non-technical, according to research by Glassdoor. This means there is plenty of opportunity for non-techies who want to transition into the world’s most lucrative and exciting sector.

Avoid these mistakes if you want to transition into a career in tech:

  • Don’t sign up to a 6 month coding course, you probably won’t need this level of detail. Instead take a shorter course on how software products get made, get the basic tech vocab and understand who does what on a tech team.
  • Don’t spend all your time on academic learning. Combine learning with taking action. For example, take a course on tech for non-technical founders and put your knowledge to use as a tech start-up advisor.
  • Don’t limit your job search to LinkedIn. Most jobs aren’t advertised, which means you need to build your network to find opportunities. This is especially true when you’re breaking into a new sector.
  • Don’t use...
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How I got to the top in tech

Jennifer Byrne studied Psychology at university and went on to become the Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft US. Listen to this episode to learn how this liberal arts graduate transitioned into tech and became one of the most senior people in the industry. 

Learning notes from this episode:

  • "You have to understand the difference between acquiring digital context versus digital fluency. Context means seeing the bigger picture of how things connect together, but not necessarily understanding the detail," says Jennifer.
  • Jennifer says that it is impossible to know everything about technology, even when you are at the top. Instead, she says understand the broad context of how tech products get made and do deep dives into areas that interest you.
  • As a CTO you have to think strategically: what problem are we solving? How can technology be applied to this problem? 
  • Good CTOs must connect technology strategy to drive business decisions.

Follow Jennifer...

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How I transitioned into a career in tech

Lots of smart people want to transition into careers in tech, but don’t know how to get started. If that sounds like you, then listen to how Alexandra Soroko went from finance to tech leadership.

Today, Alexandra is Head of Merchant Sales at Visa in France, and connects fintech companies, banks and Visa’s technologies to help some of the world’s largest companies process payments. In her role, she combines tech knowledge, marketing and finance skills. She started her career at JP Morgan, but didn’t let her lack of tech skills stop her.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • You don’t need to be an engineer, but you need a willingness to understand what lies beneath the surface if you want to succeed in a tech business,” says Alexandra
  • "If we don't have a vision, life just happens to us," says Alexandra. Before embarking on a transition into tech, think about your values and what you want from your next role. Alexandra’s six desires...
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Break Into Tech: three examples of successful career transitions

The number of technology oriented jobs is predicted to rise to 190 million in 2025, according to Microsoft. But, if you're a non-techie, how do you get in on that?

In this episode, you'll hear how three people transitioned into successful careers and tech, and learn how to apply their tactics to your career transformation.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • To succeed in tech as a non-techie, you need to learn core technology concepts and understand how they translate to business outcomes and user needs. You do not need to retrain as a coder.
  • There are more ways to be part of the tech boom than you think. For example, if you're a marketing expert, you could run a marketing company, which only serves tech clients. 
  • Transitions into tech often have an interim step, like volunteering for a start-up or helping a product team do user feedback. You can use this interim step to build your network, learn about new opportunities and add a tech position to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Listen...
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