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I would like to find a job that combines Computer Science with Marketing, ideally in a position where you get to meet a lot of people and travel a fair bit. After having worked as a Front/Back Web App Developer I am getting a degree in Management of Technology, which also includes an element of Marketing.

How can I combine my two interests, Computer Science and Marketing, professionally, in a sensible way? Which positions should I be aiming for?

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Software Sales, but that doesn't actually involve computer science in most cases. But it does meet your meeting people and traveling requirements. –  Jarrod Roberson May 26 '11 at 16:13
Large software companies need these type of folks to do product demos, be managers, do product design, plain marketing. I have met people at my company who have done all of that and they were on fast track to becoming VPs due to their various skills. Having a good technology base will help you quite a bit - plainly said all else equal you will be smarter and more capable than the rest. Good luck, and don't forget where you cam from - do not be an ass to the lowly coders. –  Job May 26 '11 at 16:19
Technology evangelism sounds like what you're looking for. –  Anna Lear May 26 '11 at 16:43
@job 100% agree switch to an answer so I can vote it up :) –  Ominus May 26 '11 at 16:49
@Jarrod thanks but I hope to stay out of sales as much as I humanly can. At least the kind of sales where you get your performance measured in a spreadsheet at the end of the week. –  bjornl May 27 '11 at 9:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are a lot of positions where having a combined marketing and CS background can help:

  1. Business Development - While some companies use Biz Dev as another word for sales, Business Development often focuses around looking for potential partners, resellers, or otherwise custom sales. Depending on how complex the conversation gets, having a solid technical background will allow you find deals you would otherwise have missed or to guide the conversation through territory that would otherwise be too complex.
  2. Sales Engineering- Sales engineers are usually the customer facing technical staff that goes with the salesperson to help explain the product or to help plan out the customer implementation. Depending on the company and product this can go as far as actually writing some custom code, or your main focus may be on running software demos.
  3. Product Management - A product manager is responsible for understanding the customer and the target market, and creating the business-side requirements for the software. Generally the Product Manager sits between the technical and business sides of the organization, and having a background in both is extremely helpful here.
  4. Product Marketing - Different from product management, and as the name implies much more marketing focused. A good product marketing can take the technical features of the product line and figure out how best to craft the company's message about their software.

These are really high level summaries, but hopefully they at least get you thinking about some career options. In smaller startups these roles are often combined, and and you could easily find yourself doing some of each- no matter what your title is. I've been a Product Manager at several startups, and I find myself doing a little bit of everything.

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Thanks for the comprehensive answer, this will give me something to focus on for my job applications. –  bjornl May 27 '11 at 9:25

MS has a role called the Program Manager where the job is to be an interface between the team and outside world (could be other teams/customers/developers and so on). Your work involves completely understanding your product and being able to sell it to people. Involves a lot of meetings / talks / presentations / release management / goal setting. Fun stuff if that is what moves your boat. Check whether your friendly local company has a similar role.

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Yes and good ones make developers lives better and make the customer happy. –  Chad May 26 '11 at 17:40

A different way to look at it could be building a marketing system. Something like a CRM would allow you to at least think about marketing while still coding, as opposed to the other answers that suggest thinking about coding while doing marketing. This would probably be the better option if you leaned towards programming a bit more. I don't know too much about software sales, but I have a feeling the technical side of it would not satisfy many who are coders at heart. The sales people I have encountered have significantly less technical exposure than anyone in support at the same company, if any at all. An evangelist is probably the one position that straddles the two sides, but I'm willing to bet that those positions are not particularly common.

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