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πŸ““ Career Exploration


You are probably here at Epicodus because you want a career in the tech field. However, you may not be aware of the variety of career paths within the industry. Web and software development skills are in high demand and can be applied in many tech roles. Learning more about your options for the future will help you in your job search. This lesson will broaden your knowledge of how the tech industry functions. Later, you will use this information to create your professional development plan. In this lesson we will explore 10 common job titles for folks with developer training.

How to Use This Lesson​

We will briefly go over 10 job titles in the tech and web development world. Each job title will have a short description with links to learn more about the skills required, the job scope, and salary trends. Take note of what interests you, and do some extra research on each of the roles that sound interesting to you. We suggest using the resources we provide as a starting point, and encourage you to seek out other sources of information. A great way to learn more about these jobs is to look for entry level job posts for each of the titles you are interested in exploring.

Once you’ve done some research on the job titles that interest you, make a list of the skills you need for each job title. Keep in mind that you don’t need to master every single skill that you see on a job post to get an entry level role. Keep track of the most commonly recommended skills; for example, backend developers typically need to learn Python. You’ll be using this information later on when you make a professional development plan. We recommend focusing on 1-3 job titles so you don’t feel overwhelmed. There will always be more to learn, so the goal is to help you create a solid base of skills that will set you on the right track in your career.

Overview of Common Job Titles:​

  1. Front End Developer
  2. UI Developer
  3. Backend Developer
  4. Product Manager or Product Owner
  5. Technical Project Manager
  6. Customer Solutions/Success Engineer
  7. DevOps Engineer
  8. Technical Support Engineer
  9. Technical Account Manager
  10. Solutions Architect
  11. Others to consider: Data Analysis, Cloud Engineering, Database Administration, Cyber Security, Technical Writing, Site Reliability, Solutions Consultant

Career Paths and Additional Skills​

Front End Developer:​

After finishing Epicodus, you will be well-equipped to find a job in a Front-End Developer role. Many of our graduates start here. If you want to specialize in Front End development, the following skills can boost your resume.

UI Developer:​

User Interface (UI) developers design and build the interactive, customer-facing parts of websites. They design user interfaces, create and test prototypes, and create front end code. UI development may overlap with Front End development and User Experience (UX) design, especially at smaller companies.

Back End Developer:​

After you complete the Epicodus technical curriculum, you should have a basic understanding of Back End development. In most cases, graduates who go on to be Back End Developers need extra study to become proficient and competitive. Back End developers focus on the behind-the-scenes mechanics and information architecture that are not visible to users.

Product Manager or Product Owner:​

Product Manager and Product Owner roles can be very similar, so we have grouped them together here. Both of these positions combine tech, UX, and business skills to design, plan, and execute products. Both roles may work on internal products within a company or on products for external customers. However, there are a few key differences to note between these roles. Product Managers focus on defining the product vision and determining markers for success. They manage communication with outside stakeholders. Product Owners focus on internal communications. Product Owners plan out the steps to success for the product, and manage the day-to-day actions to make sure the product meets their goals.

Technical Project Manager:​

Technical Project Managers (TPM) oversee technical projects. TPMs use both project management skills and technical skills. They manage the project by planning, delegating responsibilities, and tracking progress and outcomes. TPMs are also responsible for managing budgets, and collaborating with stakeholders. Technical Project Manager jobs can look very similar to Product Management jobs. The two roles are distinct from each other, despite their similarities.

Customer Success Engineer or Customer Solutions Engineer:​

Customer Success and Customer Solutions Engineers are the interface between users and the technical product. Depending on the company, the exact job title may vary. In general, these roles are either pre- or post- SaaS sales, and sometimes they may be responsible for both. Customer Support/Success Engineers work with customers to understand their needs. They demo products and suggest customer-requested features to the development team. They can also work with customers post-sales to train them to use the product, and troubleshoot any problems that arise. This role requires plenty of technical knowledge and excellent customer facing skills.

DevOps Engineer​

Developer Operations or DevOps engineers are responsible for optimizing the software that an organization uses. DevOps also refers to a philosophy that aims to automate as many processes as possible, and make software that can be changed quickly. DevOps engineers make sure the company’s software is efficiently maintained.

Technical Support Engineer​

Technical Support Engineers work at SaaS companies and help customers who have purchased their products. They are responsible for diagnosing, resolving, and documenting problems. Technical Support Engineers work directly with customers over chat, email, phone, and sometimes in-person. They may also help write and maintain product guides and support articles.

Technical Account Manager​

Technical Account Managers (TAM) typically work at SaaS companies and collaborate closely with the sales team. They assist customers with product inquiries and train them on how to use the product. They may also collect customer suggestions and feedback for the product team. TAMs sometimes travel to do on-site visits to train their customers or support the product launch at their company.

Solutions Architect​

Solutions Architects are responsible for creating the roadmap for a technical solution to a business problem. They may work on solving internal business problems or provide their services to clients. Solutions Architects typically have spent a few years working in software development. Though this is not an entry level job title, we think it’s important to discuss the skills needed to become a Solutions Architect.

Other roles to explore: Data Analysis, Cloud Engineering, Database Administration, Cyber Security, Technical Writing, Site Reliability, Solutions Consultant​

As we have just explored, there are many different career paths for people with skills in coding and web development. Now that you have a basic grasp of the ten roles we outlined above, we encourage you to take it a step further and do your own research on these additional roles. Once you have done your background research, come up with a short list of job titles you are interested in pursuing. Hold onto this list, as we’ll be using it again when you create your professional development plan.

Career Review​

As a part of your first career review, you’ll be submitting your short list of job titles you are interested in, and at least three additional skills you will need to develop to pursue each job title. Please save this list in the same Google Doc as your SMART Goals. You will submit this career review on Epicenter under the Internships class.

Options for Further Exploration​

The best time to dive into career exploration is right now. It may feel early, but this research will help you focus your skill development and job search. Here are a few options for how you can continue to explore future career directions:

  • Think about your interests outside of coding. These can include industries you’ve worked or volunteered in, hobbies, and topics you have studied. While they may seem unrelated to coding, your interests probably intersect with tech in some way. Come up with a list of a few topics or areas of interest, and explore how tech is involved. Are there any companies that do specific work in this area? What are some of the technical job titles you see at this company? Are you interested in working in this field after graduation?

  • Informational Interviews are a great way to learn about the industry. You can also learn about different career paths directly from professionals who have taken those paths themselves. Start by creating a short list of companies that you are interested in learning more about. Next, take a look at one of those companies on LinkedIn and navigate to the β€˜People’ section of their company profile. You can then filter their current employees by searching relevant keywords (ex: β€˜developer’, β€˜Portland’, etc). Look for developers on teams that look interesting to you. From there, you can use to find their email address, and reach out for an informational interview (full-time / part-time) to learn more about their career journey and get advice for your own. As a bonus, this is also a great way to build your network!

Additional Resources for Learning About the Industry​


News and Blogs​