Any role that has a direct business goal that doesn’t involve full time programming to build the product.
Programming is done to understand the product, to communicate the features of the product, to better assist engineering teams, and to guide customers (and their developers). Programming represents less than 20% of the daily responsibilites.
- Customer Success Engineer
- Solutions Architect
- Sales Engineer
- Technical Support Engineer
Developer as a customer/stakeholder:
- Developer Evangelist/Advocate or DevRel
- Technical Community Manager
- Technical Content Writer
- Product Manager who wants to get their hands dirty
- Product Marketing Manager who wants to get their hands dirty
What makes these roles special
I believe that there is a special breed of folks out there who are usually self-taught programmers and who enjoy both coding and the business side of things. These roles could be perfect for you as they bring together the best of both worlds
As a self-taught developer, I honestly cannot see myself working in a full-time programming environment, nor am I comfortable with revenue or management roles where I don’t get to work closely with the product team. Programming, to me, is like magic, while business operations feel quite natural and impactful on an organizational scale. By being on the business side, I know how I am impacting the company, how our product is being used by customers, and I can incorporate ideas directly into our product while being conscious about the engineering investments, timelines, and realities.
For my personality, I do not believe in a strong hard line between technical and non-technical departments. I think that if I draw lines like that, as a business team guy, I will fail to empathize with the folks who keep the business running, and as a programmer, I will forget who I am working for at the end of the day: the customers and developers using our product.
I understand that there are rockstar sales folks and engineering wizards who just want to focus on their stuff uninterrupted and make significant impacts to the organization. But yeah, I am not that kind of guy, and maybe you are not as well.