Tech jobs are for everyone
Plenty of job seekers coming from non-tech backgrounds see a tech firm as insurmountable mountains. They believe you need to be a pro at all things computer-related just to get inside the door – but that’s a myth.
Firstly, the “tech” part of a tech firm is often constrained to the product areas, while the rest of the company functions like any other, welcoming people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse skills in their midst. This phenomenon is only amplified by the immense growth of tech-related industries, which has boosted hiring.
Secondly, tech firms are often the most susceptible to the idea of career reinvention, as they know first-hand how the status quo requires continuous innovation from individuals and businesses alike. Considering how quickly tech trends change in this digital era, tech firms are unlikely to mind that you are on a steep learning curve yourself – in fact, they will demand it.
All in all, applying to tech firms may offer you not only greater odds of scoring a job, but potentially the ideal workplace environment in which to start your career. A look at VTEX, one of the newest tech unicorns out there, can prove it.
The job diversity inside a tech firm
VTEX is an ecommerce platform. In other words, it offers the necessary infrastructure and tools for retailers to sell products or services online so that you, the end-consumer, can in turn buy and enjoy them. Established in Brazil twenty years ago, VTEX powers over 3,000 customers spread across 42 different countries, including global brands such as Sony, Whirlpool, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Muji, and Stanley Black & Decker. Hundreds of employees, albeit currently working remotely, are ascribed to 16 offices in locations such as London, New York, Barcelona and, most recently, Singapore.
For such a mammoth operation to run successfully, a myriad of internal roles are necessary. Indeed, a big chunk are tech-related. A small army of engineers is handling everything from payment integrations (you know, the likes of Klarna or Samsung Pay) to marketplace integrations (e.g. Amazon). Others are juggling the popularity of headless commerce, or ensuring the platform’s architecture is scalable and stable enough to withstand big retail events like Black Friday, or even innovating with tools like an AI-driven search engine. Thus, if you do actually know a thing or two about programming, there are countless opportunities to build the future of commerce with VTEX and to power unique projects like a marketplace for cannabis-based products, online shopping malls or digitalising a B2B giant. Similarly, there are special education programs and internships ready to teach you more should you want to give it a go, regardless of your race, sexuality or gender – who says that women can’t code?
Fret not if you’re not a programming-enthusiast, though! A well-oiled machine like VTEX heavily depends on other disciplines, too. For example, the sales and customer support areas are crucial – how else would the company win and maintain customers to stay alive and then grow? A finance team is also imperative, as is legal expertise, for all aspects concerning revenue, compensation, taxes, M&As, and everything else in between. HR is of utmost importance, too, as they’re directly involved in talent acquisition and employee satisfaction. Marketers are equally significant, because they uncover new opportunities and promote the company with the help of writers and designers. Looking further afield, we also have translators engaged in all processes, ensuring that multiple audiences can be approached and included in the conversation.
The list of areas can go on. Bottomline, the more the company grows, the more diversity it will need to prosper, whether in roles, backgrounds, nationalities, seniority, or education levels.
What will unite all employees is not the knowledge of some open-source programming language, but rather an interest in digital commerce, coupled with the boldness to actively build upon it. Our writers, for instance, do not need to know what a specific line of code does, but they do need to understand what they are writing about, just as our designers need to understand the elements they are trying to illustrate. If everyone is striving to become fluent in digital commerce, no matter their expertise when first joining VTEX, our tasks and goals are bound to be better understood by everyone, thus accelerating their fulfillment. As an ever-evolving tech company, that’s really all we can ask for.
From Philosophy, Politics and Economics at King’s College London to Marketing at VTEX
Back in May, I was in the middle of my last ever uni assignment of my PPE course and I was slightly dreading the end of it, because my post-uni life was not yet sorted out and the pandemic had only made the prospect of getting a job even more difficult. But then one of my classmates posted on our course’s group chat about a job in Marketing at a tech company I hadn’t heard about before – VTEX.
I knew I wanted to go into Marketing and learn more about branding and content strategy, as they had been fascinating me for a few years, but I was also painfully aware that I did not have any formal qualifications in the field. Moreover, I had no in-depth knowledge about ecommerce, nor was I capable of any intricate software programming. Thus, I thought the odds of me securing this role would be rather low, but I applied nonetheless – no harm in trying, after all.
To my surprise, I was shortlisted. I had five interviews (including one with the Co-CEO), one psychometric test, and a couple of writing tasks, all whilst wrapping up my academic responsibilities.
Throughout the process, I never once felt disadvantaged because of my formal background, as VTEX was more interested in establishing whether I wanted to learn more about ecommerce and marketing rather than dismissing me for not being an expert already. And while I might have considered myself “subpar” for the role, VTEX did not: it saw my curiosity and dedication as assets that will undoubtedly bring value to the company with the right guidance and training. VTEX made that confidence official by hiring me.
While this openness might be atypical for most hiring companies, it will become the new normal soon enough, especially for tech-related firms. The world is changing so rapidly that what you have learned yesterday might already be obsolete by tomorrow. It’s not knowledge per se that matters now, but the ability and willingness to adapt and learn as you go – without a finish line in sight.
Thankfully, King’s has more than prepared me and the other seven King’s Alumni in the London VTEX team for this future-proof career. Regardless of whether we finished PPE, Business, or Marketing, we’re not afraid of asking questions, we engage in critical thinking and lots of self-studying, we are both autonomous and team players, and we are top performers. That’s what allows us to successfully write stories about our customers and products, interview C-level executives, provide analyses and advice – and help the company grow.
So next time you’re browsing job opportunities, don’t shy away from tech firms like VTEX – they will welcome you with open arms, no matter the background, and they’ll be lucky to have you considering them for your future-proof career.
Originally written for King’s Business Review.