Can I have a Career in Data with a non-technical background?

Whenever I talk about the future of work, I often hear the following: “Can I transition into a Data Career? I don’t come from the field of engineering and informatics.”.

My short answer to this question is YES.

Let me explain.

It has by now become relatively known that digitalization is changing the world of work and causing the emergence of new types of jobs. I wrote more about this here.

The top three positions in growing demand, according to the Future of Jobs Survey 2020 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) are roles related to Data Analysis. Other roles in the area of Engineering, Cloud Computing, and Product Development are also on the rise. On the decreasing side are jobs that have a high chance to be automated.

Growing Job Demand ↗:Decreasing job demand ↘:
Data Analysts and ScientistsData Entry Clerks
AI and Machine Learning SpecialistsAdministrative and Executive Secretaries
Big Data SpecialistsAccounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
Digital Marketing and Strategy SpecialistsAccountants and Auditors
Process Automation SpecialistsAssembly and Factory Workers
Business Development ProfessionalsBusiness Services and Administration Managers
Digital Transformation SpecialistsClient Information and Customer Service Workers
Information Security AnalystsGeneral and Operations Managers
Software and Applications DevelopersMechanics and Machinery Repairers
Internet of Things SpecialistsMaterial-Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks

The Data Job Cluster, which contains jobs related to Data, is different from the Job Cluster Engineering and the Job Cluster Cloud Computing. The latter two contain jobs like Full Stack-, Backend-, and Frontend Developers (Engineering) or Site Reliability-, Plattform-, Cloud-, DevOps Engineer (Cloud Computing). They primarily employ professionals transitioning from current IT and Engineering fields.

The Data Job Cluster contains jobs like Data Analysts, Data Scientists,  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning Specialists as well as Big Data Specialists. According to the WEF survey, the growing Data field is accommodating professionals from various backgrounds. Here lies an important distinction from other Jobclusters.

72% of Data and AI bound transitions originate from a different job family“.

WEF Survey

Next to Engineering and IT, employees in Data-related fields come from Research, Education, Business Development, Human Resources, Sales, Media and Communication, Project Management, etc.

This shows that especially in Data-related careers the odds are looking good for people from non-technical backgrounds.

If you’re interested in more details as well as in country specific information, you can find the full report here.

Picture: own analysis with the help of Tableau.

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