At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am going to take one more stab at emphasizing the number one skill you must acquire to break into the tech industry in 2014: basic knowledge of programming. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, “Don’t Know Computer Code, Well, Then You Don’t Know…” and “Suddenly Everyone’s a Techie These Days“, please do because they give some background to the discussion here.

Techie or Not: You Need to Know Code

In these posts, I have been emphasizing the need for basic understanding of computer code that has quickly become a requirement for all staff (tech and non-tech alike) at many companies. As I mentioned, you don’t necessarily need to become an advanced programmer, but you should be able to talk the talk. In other words, ignorance of what it takes for engineers and programmers to build the back end of a project by the sales team or marketing staff is no longer acceptable. For example, if a client asks how long a project build is going to take, it helps to understand something about the challenges involved in coding that type of project before you answer, and it helps to know what makes your company tick…literally.

Getting Educated

With so many tools out there, finding resources to help you get better acquainted with the various programming languages should not be difficult. The infographic provided here by Pythonforbiologists.com is a great example. Dabbling in Python would be a great place to start. Learning about APIs would be another.

Figure Out What Isn’t Working

It might be hard to believe, especially for the non-techie among us, but brushing up on your knowledge of computer code will help you on the personal branding/career management side. With the plethora of job openings in the tech industry, and a shortage of talent (aka “a shortage of talent that the companies want”), in the 2014 tech job market, it pays to listen to what they are asking for, despite whether you have hands-on tech experience or not. So if you can figure out how to brand your experience with this new knowledge of coding, you could be well on your way. And better yet, if you can tie in how you can use this knowledge to improve processes in your area of the company, you are well on your way.

So fix the errors. Take a course. Learn the lingo. Speak Geek.