Changing Careers From Marketing to Software Engineering

Tech Career Hub
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
August 23, 2022
person sitting next to a computer

Explore the journey of transitioning from a career in marketing to software engineering, the challenges, opportunities, and necessary steps involved. This post provides insights for professionals considering a similar career switch.

Changing careers to a new industry or new type of role can be as daunting as it is exciting. You’re trying to gain as much knowledge as you can to make the transition while trying to find unique ways to leverage your past experience and apply it to new opportunities.

For those transitioning from marketing to software engineering (or vice versa!), it’s important to find the overlaps in skillsets so you aren’t starting from scratch; that way, you’re making this transition a natural, seamless part of your career trajectory rather than a massive leap between industries.

Let’s break down what a typical role in marketing looks like, what one in software engineering looks like, and where the two overlap.

What does a marketing role look like?

There are many roles under the marketing umbrella. Some are more technical and data-driven, while others are more creative and brand-oriented. No matter what role you hold on a marketing team, your end goal is the same: generate new business and retain existing business through marketing efforts.

Marketing, again, is sort of a blanket umbrella for everything that involves advertising, public relations, media planning and buying, targeting customers, and determining pricing for a product or a good. It’s strategy-heavy, and decision making is rooted in data and leveraging marketing trends.

What does a software engineer role look like?

Software engineering involves using programming languages and principles to develop software. This can be web applications, mobile applications, tools, and programs. By analyzing existing software as well as building new applications, software engineers create products that are user-tested and approved.

Contrary to popular belief, software engineering is a highly collaborative process. The decision-making process often involves multiple software engineers of different levels working together to create a solution. Software engineering is, at its core, data-driven problem solving.

Where do software engineering and marketing roles overlap?

Both marketing and software engineering are highly collaborative roles. Rarely, if ever, will you be a team of one.

There’s also a strong emphasis on data in both roles. Both marketers and software engineers use data to inform their strategy and decision making. At the end of the day, both roles are creating solutions for the end entity, be it a user or a customer. Scott Brinker, Chief MarTec, showcases that in this Venn diagram:

He goes on to say:

Messages are data. UI is rendered through a medium. In the digital domain, code implements mechanisms. The art of crafting delightful customer experiences is analogous to — and, in software-mediated touchpoints such as websites and mobile apps, directly equivalent to — user experience design. Arguably, these two worlds are not merely colliding. They’re becoming one.

What are some must-have skills to change careers from marketing to software engineering?

In order to change from marketing to software engineering, one of the most fundamental skills one would need to learn is coding. Luckily, for some marketers, that won’t be as daunting of a task. Languages like SQL, HTML & CSS, even Python and JavaScript are native to some marketers — particularly those who create web pages designed to the customer journey.

Developing additional coding acumen is the only foolproof way to be competitive as an applicant for junior software engineering roles. Over the course of your previous marketing experience, you’ll have developed critical soft and meta skills like teamwork, leadership, decision-making, and empathy (by really understanding what your customer needs and delivering on it).

Learn coding to make the transition from marketing to software engineering

If you’re considering making the transition from marketing to software engineering, learning how to code is the first step.

We created App Academy Open to give you a taste of what software engineering looks and feels like, and you can try it entirely for free today.

But if you want to guarantee you learn the foundational skills needed to finding a job as a software engineer, we recommend learning more about our bootcamp options.


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