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Four Tech Jobs That Are Cooler Than They Sound

The opportunities for jobs in the computer tech industry are ever increasing, but there’s a problem. Many of the job roles within the field sound dry and dull or just plain baffling. But now we’re blowing their grey, dusty covers off. We’ve picked four jobs that have been posing as boring IT roles but are, in fact, amazing. And we’ve given them names that they deserve.

1. Computer King (Systems Software Engineer)

From the Egyptians to the Victorians, engineering has always been a pretty cool profession. The designers of sacred temples, arching bridges, vaulting railway stations and even underground sewage channels have garnered respect and admiration for their handiwork. But for some reason, you include the words “Systems Software” in the job title and all credibility is lost. This is hugely unfair. A system, after all, is an intricate thing, and understanding or manipulating its intricacies can be hugely fulfilling, even beautiful. It’s also necessary. Whatever their technical merits, a bridge that leads to nowhere or a sewage channel that bypasses the water treatment facility is not much use to anyone. And software? Well, you wouldn’t get very far on your phone without it. Hardware and software are the yin and yang of computing systems – dynamic, interactive and mutually dependent. It’s not their fault that they have boring names.

So what does a systems software engineer (sorry, computer king) do? Well, it depends on the system and it depends on the software, but they’ve basically created, repaired or improved every interesting thing your computer and phone does! He or she might be researching and designing new programs, testing and developing existing ones, creating the code that enables programs to work together, or working closely with other people to understand their technical requirements and put their ideas into practice. In reality, systems software engineering can be applied to a huge scope of work and the opportunities within the field are increasing. A broad foundation in computer science is essential for any software engineer. We recommend our beginner programming courses in Java and Python to see if it’s the sort of thing you’re interested in.

2. Designer of Alternate Futures (Previz Artist)

It might sound like a strange job title but it is actually a great opportunity for animation artists in the film industry. Previz is short for previsualisation, a part of the pre-production process when it comes to making movies, and it means exactly what you’d expect: seeing how things could look ahead of shooting. The Previz Artist uses 2D or 3D computer graphics to set up rough animations (called “animatics”) of what a movie scene might look like. They play around with the timings, angles and positioning of characters, props or digital effects. In big-budget films, there will be a team of Previz Artists, each assigned to manipulate a small part of the overall scene. The Director can then review the different options and decide how to proceed. Unlike other animators, the previz artist is less concerned with the fine aesthetic details of their creations than with the effectiveness of the overall visual effect. At this early stage of the production process, they need to work quickly and might only spend a few weeks at a time on a project. A background in computer animation and an understanding of cinematography are prerequisites for getting into the previsualisation team or, indeed, most areas of animated film production. Check out our 2D Animation and 3D Animation courses at Fire Tech Camp for an introduction to animation techniques.

3. Machine Maker (Hardware Architect)

Ok, admittedly this is already a pretty cool sounding job but there are probably more specialisms within the field of building computers than you realised. The Hardware Architects of this world are helping to create our laptops and smartphones of course, but they’re also ensuring that supercomputers can make calculations in nanoseconds without falling apart, they’re building drones that look like insects or designing wearable tech that checks your health. Many traditional elements of architecture are also crucial in the computer-based specialism. The Hardware Architect will work with engineers to make sure their designs are technically possible and software compatible (it’s that yin and yang again). They’ll also check with the people who are going to be using the product that they’re actually developing something that is wanted! There’s a lot of creativity, drawing, testing and prototyping that goes on before the real deal is built. If you’re interested in circuit boards and soldering, there are tonnes of starter kits out there to help you build your first computer or electronics system. Or you can sign up to our five-day Arduino course, which offers teens an introduction to hardware development.

4. Guardian of Knowledge (Database Administrator)

No, this is not the person who makes sure the Excel files are up-to-date. Think bigger, because big data is big news at the moment. The ability of computers to aggregate records and analyse vast swathes of results is growing, bringing with it potential benefits for a range of fields – from scientists seeking to understand the spread of disease, to historians needing to carefully preserve and usefully filter masses of information, to retailers trying to market the most relevant products to their customers in the most efficient way. However, the industry is not without its drawbacks and risks. Enter, the Database Administrator. This person will tend to their database with loving care, ensuring above all the security and the accuracy of its contents. A critical thinker and a problem solver, the experienced Database Administrator will be able to spout out strange acronyms like SQL (Structured Query Language) or RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) faster than you can type in your secure password. There is likely to be a lot of on-the-job training with this role because of the specialities and idiosyncrasies of different systems, but an understanding of computer programming and familiarisation with operating systems is usually required.

These jobs are just the tip of the techie iceberg. If you think they sound interesting then shout down the nay-sayers and make sure people realise just how much potential they have. Obviously, we don’t need to convince you that Fire Tech Camp Tutor is the best job of them all. That goes without saying!