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Alternative Careers are to look out for if you are a Programmer: 
Going off the beaten Developer Path!

By Vahid Haghzare, Director Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment &
Armie Garcia, Marketing Associate, Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment



One of the top IT Recruitment Agencies in Hong KongDubai, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Singapore, and Japan, SVA Recruitment is an IT and employment agency that provides jobs, executive search, and recruitment services.

You might be surprised to know your programming skills can be utilized in a variety of different work aspects. Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment has identified a lot of lucrative careers to consider besides the typical jobs out there, and we have listed other options if you would rather go on a different path than other mainstream jobs. 

Typical Programmer jobs and career paths

First, let’s look at some of the prevailing programmer jobs, most of these are the positions you’d see on job boards, IT recruiters, and company advertisements. SVA Recruitment certainly has plenty of these on offer on our jobs page!

  • Computer programmer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Software Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Quality assurance (QA) engineer

With the right skill, experience, knowledge, and confidence applying to these careers will be easy. And although a career path here can be substantial, competition can also be very high too. Smaller companies and businesses are more lenient and may offer better stepping stones if you are just getting started. Big companies have high qualifications and may even require you to have hard to achieve a portfolio of existing work. 

Alternative Programmer jobs and career paths

But there are still other careers you can pursue as a Programmer, here are some alternative paths you could explore:

1.  Journalist / Technical Writer

If you can code and write, you can be a writer, editor, or both of content related to programming. Both independently or for a company—website, agency, publisher, and so on.

Apart from programming know-how, your main task will be to grasp things like grammar, spelling, content writing, and editing for the benefit of casual and formal readers.

2.  Teacher

You may also think about teaching others about encoding than mostly applying it to yourself. This may be a very rewarding change for your career and can be much less demanding in terms of work and schedule.
Demand for instructors will continue to rise alongside that for programmers, and a variety of new languages and skills that come around so frequently every year. 

To do this job, you need to make sure your communication skills are strong. 

Pick the subject to specialize in which you know best and can handle, as your knowledge makes it easier to demonstrate and explain it to your listeners for them to understand. 

If you land a job at a school, you need to think all the time about the best ways to teach your lessons and topics. And get up to speed personally on areas where perhaps your knowledge is not so strong.

You may want to try a different approach, by starting a blog or vlog / YouTube channel, offering a Udemy course, or other range of content and mediums. 

3.  IT Recruiter

If you are a confident communicator- maybe even good at influencing or selling- and love interacting and meeting new people frequently, then maybe a job as a Recruiter could be for you! 

A Recruiter’s career usually starts off working in a specialized Agency, before going in-house, or setting up their own practice. But freelance recruiters are also starting to become widely common. 

You need to be at ease being articulate when talking, good at reading people beyond just their words and have a thick skin in order to get through the load of rejections and dropouts that you will inevitably have to deal with.

You will have a huge advantage as an ex-programmer / Engineer, over other IT Recruiters out there. Being able to fully understand an employer’s technical requirements or the skills on a candidate’s CV and assess them properly during your calls, will differentiate you from 99% of the other recruiters out there, who are just keyword screening.

Your income can reach very high levels in Recruitment when you start to work ‘360’- you find the clients and fill their jobs at the same time. It is normal for productive 360 recruiters to take home +$1-2m HKD per year. 

4.  Video Game Developer

Programmers are the ones behind every awesome game that everyone enjoys; they create and calibrate the coding and make sure that the interface, controls, action, sequences, dialogue, and audio function efficiently.

Prepare yourself for this career by creating your own games and fabricating mods for titles can be a great start to this career. 

Once established, you can work as a freelancer or for a studio. Big companies are once more quite difficult to get into unless you’re already super skilled and have a terrific portfolio. Otherwise, you can try your luck with smaller names in the gaming business.

A video Game Developer’s job includes:
-   Coding with industry-standard languages, most commonly C++, C#, Java, and HTML5
-   Using software like Unity and Construct 3
-   UI/UX design
-   Programming a game into a playable experience
-   Fixing bugs both during development or updates after a game’s release

5.  Audio Programmer

If you have an interest in music, podcasts, or anything that is sound-based, this could be for you. This job needs someone who is an expert in designing, adjusting, and repairing audio using sound-based software. 

An audio programmer has a wide scope of opportunities, this includes computer development, video games, audiobooks, podcasts, television, and a whole lot more. You have the freedom to be as creative or simple as you want and can go freelance, in-house, or agency in this field.

Music and podcasting are extremely profitable industries, as the proliferation of gaming and online videos made audio even more critical. 

Here are some of the skills you should have as an audio programmer:
-   C++ programming
-   Audio editing with tools like Wwise and Adobe Audition
-   UI/UX design
-   Knowledge of audio development (eg 3D effects, or memory management)
-   Experience in fields with an audio component

You may also consider a career in audiovisual programming if you already have mastery of audio programming. With the growing digital and broadcasting opportunities, additional knowledge and experience with an image or video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Cyberlink are ideal to start with. Other popular tools to know include Crestron and AMX.

6.  VR/AR Developer

One of the most exciting and challenging industries of our times. There are 5.5 million units of VR and AR headsets shipped around the world in 2020, based on current VR market reports. The only things that hinder its growth are content offerings and user experience.

It surely is a high-income industry that offers a lot of opportunities. Some of the tasks as a VR/AR programmer includes:

-   Software engineering- Coding in C#, C++, Java, and others
-   3D modeling
-   Video editing
-   UI/UX design
-   Handling VR/AR hardware (e.g. Oculus Quest, HoloLens)

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in VR and AR development, you first need to have good knowledge in terms of the terminologies and relevant coding in this area. 

You don’t need to worry if you are still not a complete expert yet, your skills will evolve swiftly in this career.

7.  Mobile App Developer

Today, mobile technology is an ideal industry to look into. Developing and designing apps can be really fun and a great platform for creativity but it is also technical and require good programming skills.

Hone your skills in coding languages and other relevant areas such as software development, familiarization of different devices, platforms, and mobile gaming. What’s important is the apps you create are functional, educational, efficient, and fun. So it is also great that you have a passion for mobile technology.

Whether you want to stick to the traditional career path or go a different way, we would love to hear from you and help you along the way. Please check out our latest jobs, or reach out for a confidential chat



Visit our Job page for more Job opportunities and the Current Candidate page for available candidates.



Silicon Valley Associates is ideally positioned to support the continual demand from tech companies and IT Departments looking to hire in Hong Kong, Asia, and Worldwide. Please let us know if you would further advise on the above topic or your hiring needs


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