How I Landed My First Gig in Tech! (with a non-tech background)

Updated: May 29, 2020

Get your foot through the door? I say, KICK that front door with a BAM.

Nothing beats the power of constant determination, an eye on your Northern Star, and relentless grit.

Read on to follow my journey, where I started, and how I made all my dreams to enter the tech world with minimal tech background come ALIVE.

This one is for the career change-makers, the trailblazers, the dreamers, and the hustlers.

This post is for:

  • Career changers

  • Non-traditionalists in technology careers

  • Challengers of straight-forward career paths

  • Breaking and pushing boundaries

The Context

Prior to my journey in tech, I was a Graduate Medical Research Scientist. Always inquisitive, along with my unrelenting curiosity bred my passion for the sciences, everything chemistry and analytical.

Paired with this, I have always enjoyed teaming up with similar minds and working towards the greater good. Helping others, bettering people’s lives, making a positive impact, you name it.

I still do. I figured chemistry as a pre-medical course was the most logical path towards this goal. Hence, I strived towards that.

Whilst chemistry was one passion, I had another passion in my pastime, that I felt so connected to. Yep, you’ve guessed it. Writing. Naturally, writing on blogging platforms led my curiosity to the world of coding. I then started experimenting, learning about web development and coding.

THIS is the power of technology.

I was so curious about the technology and the tools that power, influence the way we live, and do things today.

I figured if you can build a website with a string of logical words, imagine what you can do and what you can build for anything and everything!

Imagine how you could change a simple administration process, or streamline a task by writing code, and better people’s lives through technology.

Coming from a med-sci background, I was curious how this would play out.

HENCE, I decided to embark on a career path in tech that would eventually marry into medicine & the health sciences.

SO, here’s the good stuff. And all you’ve been waiting for. What does it take to change career paths?

Honey, it takes EVERYTHING.

To my fellow trailblazers, I hear ya sista and brotha. All your questions answered below:

How hard is it for someone who does not hold a tech background?

Honestly, not so difficult.

As long as you have a plan and directed approach towards your goal.

Do I need a computer science/technical degree?

Again, from my experience, no. But that is entirely your decision to make.

I wasn’t too worried about the years of education, but rather, how effective would this be in terms of industry experience and how much it would benefit me long term in the future workforce.

The answer for me was: minimal benefit.

Having a degree can perhaps serve as your ticket ‘through the door’ for an interview. Employers may recognize you over someone who does not hold a computer science degree.

But it doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance if you don’t hold a University/College degree in technology.

This is not to say qualifications are disregarded or useless. Again, it is relative to each individual, what your goals are (personal or professional; like if you want to attain that Masters’s degree for higher qualification than you go get it, honey. Hell, maybe years down the track I may even pursue a Master’s degree purely for my own personal sense of achievement, who knows, you do you)

Regardless of your background, in the workforce and in life there are two things that are highly valued:

1. Determination: are you willing to do it.

2. Desire to grow & learn

Again, just to reinforce, this is coming from someone who did not graduate with a computer science degree, minimal business acumen & oblivious to the world of tech.

But my desire to make this happen, ambition, and passion to achieve my goals served me well. How did I make this all work? Let me break this down for you into steps that got me here today.

1. Curiosity Led Action

I am a curious being at heart. I always wanted to explore and discover new things.

My curiosity in the tech space is no stranger. I explored every corner and inch of the tech environment. From the roles, opportunities, upcoming projects to the latest tech trend. I read up about the technology companies out there, their purpose, their business goals, and their contribution to society.

In doing so, I was curious to gain some experience and exposure to this industry. This curiosity led me to take action including:

  • As demonstrated above, the initiative to learn and do research

Learn about tech and it’s language to create and build meaningful things such as applications, websites, services, etc.

HENCE, leads me to point 2.

2. Self-directed Learning

I started to learn the language of code through every possible resource available to me such as Youtube tutorials, Udemy and Coding Apps on my mobile. Additionally, learning off free coding websites really helps. Naming a few:

Ultimately, I would apply my knowledge by coding my own websites, doing projects, freelancing, and learning from others to be familiar with the industry, best practices & more.

It also helps to build a portfolio such as on, the world’s largest community of developers and tech geeks!

As long as you have a collection of your works and technology you’ve built, which you can showcase to your employer during interviews.

3. Desire to Grow & Improve

Part of my journey involved a commitment to learning and motivation to grow each day.

Not just in my working career but also in physical, emotional, and mental health.

I was driven to develop good habits to go to the gym daily or do intense workouts as early as 5 am. This in itself links to good bedtime routines such as getting good sleep in order to easily wake up, rise, and shine.

I had a purpose in each of my daily habits. I wanted to have more structure to my day, hence I would set out to work out at 5 am in the morning. I mean, nobody is that crazy right?

Learning and growing is not a task but is embedded in our lifestyle.

4. Network, Network, Network

You can learn so much through research, news, and TV. But another important resource that can solidify your knowledge of your relevant industry is to network.

Getting out there and talking to others was one of the biggest challenges I faced. Signing up to free workshops, success talk nights, and networking events in technology was a way for me to immerse myself in the technology and work culture.

Nevertheless, the beauty of this was a chance to meet your future employers, to get your name out there, and to build a relevant connection that can ultimately boost you in your career.

My first networking event was the start of many more.

5. Be BOLD. Take RISKS

If you wanted something so much, you would do anything to go for it. You would not think twice about it.

My journey was not an easy one for sure. I had doubtful nights, imposter syndrome day in and day out, uncertainty was my friend walking alongside me.

BUT, these were all emotions that stood in the way of a higher cause. My ambition to break into the tech field was like an undying flame. I made decisions and took action to ensure nothing got in the way of what I aspired for.

Have GRIT. Be Audacious. Be Bold.

6. Stand Out From The Crowd

To succeed in a game, you first must know how to play the game.

As we know, the workplace environment is a competitive one. Applying for jobs is one thing, but applying strategically is another.

There are many people who are looking for jobs daily. Employers and hiring managers from all sorts of companies and workplaces are looking at resumes every day.

On average, recruiters spend 5–6 seconds reviewing a resume. That is only half a page to make an impression!

Getting them to stay longer is all about an eye-catching or attractive detail about your resume that gets them thinking ‘’oh wait, look at this…”

My previous resume was the usual cookie-cutter type. I knew that despite my lack of experience in tech, that doesn’t stop me from creating an impeccable resume that can grab a recruiter’s eye.

I spiced up my resume, added interesting features, gave myself an outstanding headline and BAM.

That week I submitted my resume, I had multiple phone calls over 3 days.

I was a wanted individual ;)

I had a list of companies I had my eye on. And out of them all, 3/5 companies contacted me for an interview! I was ecstatic! Dreams can happen if you strive for it.

Last but not least, BE A TRAILBLAZER

Humans seek comfort in the norm, things that are familiar to them. Indifferent to change.

So you want to stand out in this world.

As far as I know, tech is moving faster than ever.

It is an emerging industry and slowly will expand into other industries as a powerful tool to optimize business processes, solving real-world problems, drive change, and of course, make our lifestyles easier and better.

Tech is always one step ahead. They are always thinking about the NEXT big thing, the NEXT big move.

For me, recognizing this was a pivotal moment in my life. A calling for me to strive for better.

Hence, be a trailblazer.

This is someone who is an innovator, a change-maker, a dreamer, a hustler, and a goal seeker. Seeking change and BEING THE CHANGE.

So thank you for reading & welcome to my journey in the world of tech.

Katie @The Katie Kode

#strivetothrive #womenintech #girlswhocode #coder #womenwhocode #careerchangers #softwareengineer #femaleinstem