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What non-programming jobs should someone look for who doesn't have the passion for programming?

There are a percentage of people who make it through a computer science type of degree but do not have the passion for programming. I have worked with many people who have a programming background but became a project manager or tester and it has made my job as a programmer easier... and our products better.

This is not a failure of the system or person... they are just finding where they fit. So, I wonder what non-programming jobs benefit from having someone in them that is a programmer and why does it make that person a stronger or weaker candidate for that job? For instance: Programmers make good project managers because they may be able to express requirements in a detailed fashion that makes sense to the programmers that will work on those requirements. But they may be to accustom to talking about things in a technical way that the customers may not understand and they may have a tendency to try to communicate a design for a solution instead of presenting the problem in a raw fashion.

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closed as off-topic by MichaelT, Kilian Foth, GlenH7, Dan Pichelman, gnat Oct 8 at 2:49

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this question has been asked and answered at Workplace: What are possible career transitions for a seasoned software developer? –  gnat May 11 '13 at 0:40
I'm not really asking about a seasoned software developer... more one that isn't a great developer went through the schooling and got a first job but programming all day long didn't work for them. It's a really different question and the answer there doesn't fit. –  Beth Whitezel May 11 '13 at 4:39

4 Answers 4

I'm not sure this question has an absolute answer.. However, I've always though technical Recruiting would be lucrative opportunity for someone with some programming skills (if you have the gull for Sales). Recruiting to me seems like a good fit because you can truly qualify the candidate and know what level of programming their skills are at, and then match that person to a job where their strengths can be best taken advantage of. I've heard these guys can make good money.. but on the other side of the coin, I hang up on them all the time (after i politely refuse their service a reasonable amount of times)

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That is one I had not thought of. As a person hiring... yes that would be nice to have someone that could recruit that really knew the difference between java and javascript and that could assess technical ability to find the diamonds –  Beth Whitezel May 11 '13 at 0:24
Oh and yes, you are right it doesn't have an absolute answer but the information is useful! –  Beth Whitezel May 11 '13 at 0:26
The best recruiting agent I ever used (as a contractor) had a programming background. He understood how various technologies / skills are related and put me forward for jobs that most Agents would not. Most agents just match your skills (by Name) with job requirements, they do not understand that if you have abc you will pickup xyz in no time. –  Bruce Martin May 11 '13 at 1:00

A programmer might consider becoming a scrum master or agile coach, or perhaps an agile product owner. The ideal person for the scrum master or agile coach role needs to understand programmers, what motivates them, how they work, etc. This role allows you to stay in product development but not do any actual coding.

Not all programmers could be good scrum masters or agile coaches, though. This role also requires really, really good people skills which programmers are not particularly known for having.

Being a product owner with a programming background makes you a bit more understanding of all the work that is required to deliver a product. You'll be less likely to think "a few hours of coding, an hour of testing, and BOOM! you're done! Why do you think this will take a whole week?".

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Programming isn't about coding--it's about thinking through problems in new and sometimes convoluted ways. Any career that requires that kind of thinking is a good fit for a programmer. The other thing programmers (hopefully) do well is convert knowledge into different domains (it's how we make customer requirements into code and turn that into something usable). It seems to me there could be a great opportunity in textbook publishing.

That said, programmers ought to avoid jobs with human contact. One party (or both) is usually left feeling awkward and sometimes offended.

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:-) What? Programmers awkward and offending? No! I will have to say that is a generality... a good and mostly true one but I think some of the people who end up not quite having as much passion for the coding want/need more interaction with people in their job. But maybe that means they just need to be on a different kind of development team? –  Beth Whitezel May 11 '13 at 0:29

If those persons don't like programming they should take a job they like. There aren't universal best jobs for them; if we recommend some, they might not like just as they don't like programming.

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Why was this downvoted? –  m3th0dman May 11 '13 at 15:05
I down-voted because I don't think this answer is useful to anyone who fits the description in the question. "pick a job you like" is not helpful, and I think the statement that there aren't any suitable jobs is wrong. The question isn't asking about a best job, just alternatives that someone with a CS degree can take advantage of. I think there are several jobs that fit that description. –  Bryan Oakley May 12 '13 at 0:13
@BryanOakley I know that but the reason they don't like programming is subjective; how do you know that some of the jobs recommended would be liked by them? Maybe they don't like the field and then they wouldn't like similar jobs. –  m3th0dman May 12 '13 at 6:34
Are you saying that because someone might not like a particular job, there's no point in recommending any jobs to anybody with an education in computer science? Again, that doesn't sound very useful. –  Bryan Oakley May 12 '13 at 12:34

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