In a world filled with technological innovation, it’s easy to assume that the tech industry is solely comprised of technical wizards and coding geniuses. However, the tech sector actually thrives on a diverse range of talents and expertise, including non-technical roles that are equally crucial to its success. In simplified terms:
- Account managers act as liaisons between clients and technical teams, ensuring clear communication and project alignment.
- Project managers orchestrate the intricate dance of development, guiding teams to meet deadlines and deliver outstanding results.
- Sales and marketing professionals are the storytellers of tech, bridging the gap between cutting-edge products and eager customers, and driving growth and market presence.
- Corporate services such as accounting and HR provide the crucial infrastructure that keeps tech companies running smoothly, managing finances, nurturing talent, and ensuring compliance.
Together, these and other key non-technical functions form the backbone of the industry. We searched within our organization to uncover unique perspectives on what it’s like to work in a non-technical role within our dynamic industry. Hear from Pacxa’s own:
- Courtney Schauf, Account Manager
- Jodee Sakamaki, Associate Project Manager
- Marianne Pedro, Account Executive
Q: When did you start at Pacxa? Did you have prior tech-related experience?
Courtney: I started at Pacxa in April 2021. Prior to this role, I had worked in everything from nonprofit, marketing, sales, and hospitality. My most technical projects were managing a donor and client database and doing backend website testing.
Jodee: I started at Pacxa as an intern at the beginning of 2021 after graduating from college in the midst of COVID. I was looking for a full-time, tech-related position but had no prior tech experience.
Marianne: I started in June 2017 with no prior tech-related experience. My previous background was in the finance industry.
Q: How would you describe your role?
Courtney: I serve as a liaison between our clients, internal management, and internal technical teams. I ensure that we are planning, executing, and completing appropriate solutions from simple troubleshooting tasks to full-scale projects for each client’s individual business environment. It’s very relationship-focused, which I enjoy, and every day brings a new challenge.
Jodee: As an associate project manager, I work on various projects helping to keep them within their set timeframes, scopes, and budgets. I work on various client projects and collaborate across Pacxa.
Marianne: My role is to drive growth for our Consulting Services unit by establishing and maintaining key accounts and developing sales strategies. My role focuses on securing a steady pipeline of projects to drive business development.
Q: What’s it like to work in a non-technical role at an IT company?
Courtney: There has definitely been a learning curve. Each industry has its own dictionary’s worth of TLA (three-letter acronyms) to learn, and tech is no exception. Learning and getting comfortable with the vocabulary was the first battle. Coming from a non-technical background, I am perfectly positioned to ask the right questions for our non-technical clients.
Jodee: There was definitely a big learning curve at first. Once I familiarized myself with the terminology and processes used, everything clicked together. Now, whenever I start a new project with a service/product/feature I’m unfamiliar with, I carve out time to do some background research to help me operate and continuously learn.
Marianne: Working in a non-technical role offers a diverse and stimulating environment. While my position doesn’t involve hands-on technical tasks, it provides valuable opportunities to gain insights into contemporary technologies and their strategic deployment to enhance efficiencies and tackle client challenges. Additionally, my role allows me to contribute a unique perspective when assessing various situations.
Q: Why do you like working in the tech industry?
Courtney: Every day is different, and there are always new things to learn and expand my knowledge base. I especially enjoy working with my Managed Services teammates—an incredibly smart and helpful group of individuals. They go above and beyond to create an inclusive environment and help me better understand technical services and concepts.
Jodee: I love that the tech industry is never stagnant. Every project I’m assigned to is a little different from the last one! I’m always learning something new because of how quickly the industry is changing with new innovations.
Marianne: I see Pacxa playing a pivotal role in bettering our community by delivering technology-driven solutions that benefit not only our Hawaiʻi businesses but also our state and local agencies. Being a part of this team, committed to our clients’ welfare and helping to propel Hawaiʻi forward, is truly rewarding.
Q: What’s your advice for non-technical professionals looking to break into tech?
Courtney: Be curious, ask questions, be patient with yourself while you’re learning. Also, celebrate when you finally start to understand and communicate in a higher capacity.
Jodee: Take free online courses! There are so many great free resources that can help build your skillset and understanding of the platforms and services a tech company (like Pacxa) offers and utilizes.
Marianne: Start by pinpointing your specific interests within the tech landscape. If you aspire to transition into a technical role, it’s essential to first identify the particular role or type of technology you want to immerse yourself in. On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a non-technical role, there are abundant opportunities to capitalize on your transferrable skills.