Not a coder? Is the startup entrepreneurial route for you?

Not a day goes by I’m imagining when you don’t hear about startups, and the tech, digital and Web industries.

And like most people, unless you’re part of these industries, you’re very likely to think that it is a specific and quite narrow set of skills and aptitudes, mostly technology focussed, that are in high demand.

And while these capabilities certainly are in high demand they are by no means the only skills needed as everything is transformed by software (As prominent Venture Capitalist, and originator of the first popular web browser Netscape Marc Andreeson puts it “software is eating the world”).

“But”, I hear you cry, “I can’t code!”

Well, it’s not just the ability to program that’s in demand.

Firstly, Design skills are in very short supply. And not just design in the sense it’s traditional thought of, what things look like (visual and graphic design), but design in Steve Jobs’ sense of “how things work”. Design as problem solving, driven by research, and a focus on the user.

Many of the most prominent designers at some of the best known companies in the world do not have traditional design backgrounds.

A great place to get a sense of the pathways and opportunities in design for those from non design backgrounds is How to become a designer with zero design background by Product Designer (from a humanities background) at General Motors, now working on autonomous vehicles, by way of VR at Facebook, Stephanie Engle. Stephanie only graduated, with a degree in public policy, in 2016!

Understanding users is increasingly key to a successful product or service. And this is where capabilities often honed by Arts degrees, of research and observation are increasingly critical.

When thinking about the sort of seemingly unlikely people in demand in emerging industries, my mind often turns to anthropologists. In many ways you’d think a very unlikely-to-be-in-demand role, after all, right now at SEEK, there are a sum total of just 4 jobs when you do a search for anthropology. It doesn’t sound all that promising.

And yet, there are anthropologists at prominent technology companies, agencies and consultancies all over the world. It’s just they are rarely called that. They are “design researchers”, “user experience researchers”, “design strategists”. People like Genevieve Bell and Jan Chipchase with academic anthropology backgrounds are genuine superstars in the world of design and technology.

And before I sign off, a final area that is emerging as crucial in private enterprise and the public sector, in education and beyond is what we might loosely call “storytelling”. Whether written, photographic, or video based, story tellers are increasingly prominent in all communications.

It’s likely you already have many of the capabilities in demand for the most fast growing sectors and companies, and augmenting your existing knowledge and abilities with additional in demand capabilities in design, video making and editing, and even programming (many many developers do not come from a traditional IT or computer science background) stands you in very good stead in a market place where many of the traditional career pathways no longer make sense, but whole new opportunities are emerging.

But it’s precisely because these fields and opportunities are so new, and fast changing, that simply relying on a single path, for example a university degree alone, to prepare you is selling yourself short.

Educate yourself about the opportunities.

Seek out meetups in areas that interest you (there are hundreds a month in major cities from machine learning to interaction design to design research and much more) where you’ll connect with industry professionals keen to meet you, get as sense of what’s happening in these fields, as well as often getting a decent dinner and a drink or two for free.

Look out for free, and inexpensive courses in the sorts of area that interest you – video making, writing, design thinking, web design–there is a lot going on.

Above all, take responsibility for your career–the opportunities are genuinely amazing (and take it from someone who has been around these industries for over 3 decades, we’re still only in the early stages of so many fields).

These are exciting times of great opportunities. Seize them!

Guest written by John Allsopp of Web Directions