Breaking into Tech: The Comprehensive Guide for Teachers

6 min readMar 26, 2024


Breaking into the tech industry offers an exciting opportunity for professionals from various backgrounds, including education. Teachers, with their unique skill set, can find rewarding careers within tech, particularly in roles such as Manual Quality Assurance Specialists or Sales Engineers. This guide explores how former teachers can transition into the tech industry, highlighting the transferable skills that make them ideal candidates for these roles.

Why Tech?

The tech industry offers several advantages, including the potential for higher salaries, flexible working conditions, and the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation. For former teachers looking for a change, tech provides an array of roles that can suit different interests, from more technical positions like QA Manual testers to client-facing roles like Sales Engineers.

The Role of Manual QA Testers

QA (Quality Assurance) Manual Testers play a crucial role in the development of software by identifying bugs and issues before the product reaches the end-users. This role requires a keen eye for detail, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think critically — skills that teachers develop through curriculum planning and assessing student work.

The Role of Sales Engineers

Sales Engineers combine technical knowledge with sales skills to provide advice and support on a range of products. Teachers, particularly those who have taught STEM subjects, may find this role appealing as it requires the ability to explain complex technical information in an understandable way, a skill honed through teaching.

Transitioning from Teaching to Tech

The journey from the classroom to the tech industry may seem daunting at first. However, many skills that teachers possess are highly valued in tech roles. For instance, their ability to simplify complex concepts, manage multiple tasks, and communicate effectively are assets in any tech position.

Teachers contemplating a switch to the tech industry bring a wealth of transferable skills that can significantly benefit roles like QA Manual Testers or Sales Engineers. This deeper exploration into how these skills apply in the tech context aims to illuminate the path for educators aiming to pivot their careers.

Communication and Presentation Skills

In Education: Teachers excel in breaking down complex concepts into digestible lessons, engaging diverse audiences, and fostering an environment conducive to learning.

In Tech: As a Manual QA Tester, clear communication about bugs and how they affect user experience is crucial. Sales Engineers must explain complex technical solutions to potential clients in a way that addresses their needs and concerns, paralleling the educational skill of making complex subjects accessible.

Example: A Sales Engineer might use analogies, similar to teaching strategies, to explain how a software solution can streamline a client’s operations, ensuring the technical aspects are understood by all stakeholders.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning

In Education: Educators constantly adapt to new teaching methods, technologies, and curriculum changes, showcasing their ability to evolve with their environment.

In Tech: The tech landscape is ever-changing. QA Manual Testers must stay abreast of new testing methodologies and tools. Sales Engineers need to continuously learn about new products and market trends to provide relevant solutions.

Example: A QA Tester might learn new automation tools that complement manual testing efforts, showcasing an ongoing commitment to skill enhancement and process improvement.

Problem-solving Skills

In Education: Teachers frequently need to think on their feet, whether managing classroom dynamics or tailoring lessons to meet varied learning needs.

In Tech: In QA testing, identifying the root cause of a software issue requires analytical thinking and a methodical approach, akin to diagnosing and addressing learning gaps in students. Sales Engineers solve client problems by matching product capabilities with client needs.

Example: A QA Manual Tester uses problem-solving skills to trace a software bug back to its source, ensuring a targeted and effective fix.

Project Management

In Education: Managing a classroom involves coordinating schedules, resources, and learning objectives, often with limited resources.

In Tech: This translates into managing testing cycles or product demonstrations, where timelines, resources, and scope must be meticulously planned and adhered to.

Example: A Sales Engineer leads a product demonstration, coordinating with the product team to ensure all technical requirements are met, mirroring the orchestration skills of a teacher planning a school project.

Empathy and Understanding

In Education: Teachers understand their students’ emotional and educational needs, adapting their teaching styles accordingly.

In Tech: Empathy is crucial for QA Testers to anticipate user needs and for Sales Engineers to understand and address client concerns genuinely.

Example: An empathetic QA Tester considers user frustration points, ensuring the software is intuitive and meets user expectations, mirroring the teacher’s role in fostering a supportive learning environment.

Teachers possess a rich skill set that can be invaluable in the tech industry. By understanding how their abilities translate into tech roles like QA Manual Testing and Sales Engineering, educators can navigate a successful career transition. This journey not only leverages their existing strengths but also offers a pathway to continuous learning and growth in the dynamic tech landscape.

Making the Leap: Next Steps

Expanding on the journey from teaching to the tech industry, particularly for roles such as QA Manual testers or Sales Engineers, involves a strategic approach centered on upskilling, networking, and leveraging existing skills. Here’s a deeper dive into making this career transition a success:

Upskilling and Education

To bridge the gap between educational expertise and technical proficiency required in tech roles, upskilling is crucial. For Manual QA Testers, understanding software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes, and proficiency in tools like JIRA, Selenium, or TestRail is essential. Online platforms such as Careerist, Coursera (Coursera) and Udemy (Udemy) offer courses specifically designed for these skills. For instance, Careerist “Manual QA” course can be a great starting point.

Sales Engineers need a solid grasp of the technical products they are selling, alongside understanding customer needs. Platforms like Careerist, LinkedIn Learning (LinkedIn Learning) provide courses on technical sales and product knowledge. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical sales professionals, including Sales Engineers, are expected to see a 6% job growth from 2019 to 2029, indicating a steady demand for skilled professionals in this area (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Networking and Mentorship

Building a professional network within the tech industry can significantly influence your career transition. Participating in tech meetups, online forums such as Stack Overflow, and LinkedIn groups can connect you with like-minded professionals and potential mentors. Websites like Meetup (Meetup) are great for finding tech groups near you. Mentorship, particularly, can provide personalized guidance, and platforms like MentorCruise (MentorCruise) offer access to mentors in various tech fields, including QA and sales.

Leveraging Your Teaching Experience

When transitioning into tech, it’s essential to articulate how your teaching skills transfer to your new role. For example, the project management skills acquired from planning lessons and assessing student progress are analogous to managing QA testing cycles or coordinating technical sales demonstrations. Teachers’ ability to communicate complex information simply can be highlighted as a key strength in customer-facing tech roles.

Moreover, any involvement with educational technology, whether it’s integrating software into the curriculum or managing online learning platforms, should be prominently featured in your resume and cover letter. Highlighting such experiences showcases your practical engagement with technology, making your transition to tech roles like QA Manual Tester or Sales Engineer more relatable to potential employers.

In conclusion, while the transition from teaching to tech involves navigating a new industry landscape, the fundamental skills acquired through teaching — such as communication, adaptability, and continuous learning — serve as a strong foundation. By focusing on upskilling, leveraging professional networks, and effectively translating your teaching experience to meet the demands of tech roles, you can successfully embark on a fulfilling career in the tech industry.


Transitioning from teaching to tech is a path filled with opportunities to leverage your existing skills in a new and dynamic industry. Whether you’re drawn to the problem-solving aspects of QA Manual testing or the client-focused role of a Sales Engineer, the tech industry has a place for those with the skills and dedication to learn and adapt. With the right approach, former teachers can make a successful and fulfilling transition into tech, opening up a world of possibilities for their careers.

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