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You Can Be Technical Without Writing Code

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The phrase “being technical” generally brings up an image of an individual coding for hours in a dark room lit only by screens and powered by caffeine. However, after spending a decade working in the software industry, I've come to learn that being technical is more than writing code.

Actually, you can be very technical and never write a line of code.

This article is for those who aspire to be technical but don't enjoy coding, such as software testers, designers, business analysts, manual testers, and others.

Writing Code is Awesome

Learning to program is undeniably valuable. Developers use it to build, automate, and solve difficult problems. But you must understand that there is more to being technical than coding.

Most people in tech do not code daily even though having a solid grasp of the technical aspects of your role is imperative. Aggressive growth in the tech industry depends on this, as becoming more operationally effective can significantly impact a business's growth.

For example, manual testers verify software quality, business analysts convert business needs into technical requirements, and designers produce user interfaces that work and look good. Each of these roles requires a high degree of technical skill without necessarily involving a single line of code.

Let’s explore how to be technical without writing code.

Understanding System Architecture

The most prominent way to be technical without coding is to inculcate a strong understanding of system architecture. This involves learning how different software system components interact and the concepts applied during the system design.

There are a few key areas you need to focus on to understand system architectures.

  • Architectural Diagrams – Learn to read and understand architectural diagrams, such as entity-relationship (ER) diagrams, class diagrams, flowcharts, and network diagrams.
  • Infrastructure—Understand your system's underlying infrastructure and the roles played by each component, including servers, databases, and cloud services such as SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and so on. Mastering how to troubleshoot in the event of a failure will make you stand out.
  • Communication Protocols – You may already be familiar with APIs such as Rest and Soap services. Understanding how the data flows across the system is also vital. Additionally, understanding web sockets, web services, and other protocols like message queues come in handy, as well as how each protocol differs and how they are used within the system.

By mastering these concepts, you can effectively communicate with the developers, understand the system's technical limitations, and contribute to system design discussions by suggesting new ideas to enhance capabilities and overcome existing limitations.

Mastering Testing Tools and Frameworks

Have you ever considered why it is crucial to use various testing tools and frameworks?

These tools enhance your productivity and allow you to focus more on creative tasks than repetitive tasks. They simplify the management of daily activities, such as test case management and bug tracking.

  • Test Case Management Tools — Applications like JIRA, TestRails, or Zephyr help to manage test cases, track defects, and generate reports to evaluate the progress of the project. Learning how to use them gives you an advantage.

    Beyond that, you may need to configure the application suites to your needs. Knowing how to customize the tool according to the project's needs is a bonus.
  • Automation Frameworks – Every day a new test framework or a technology pops up in the market and learning how to use each and every tool is impossible.

    However, you can have a basic idea of the test frameworks or tools in the industry, what tools are getting more traction, what the core features and functionalities are, and what the limitations are, which will eventually help you advocate for your team when required.
  • Performance Testing—While assuring the application's functionality is important, assuring its performance is equally important. However, over the years, I've observed that performance testing often receives low priority, partly due to the lack of skilled performance testers within teams.

    Surprisingly, performance testing tools require little to no coding experience when benchmarking parameters are clearly identified and defined. This area offers ample room for growth as a non-coder.
  • API Testing Tool – API Testing is something I encourage you to get familiarised with as it is easier than you might think and simpler compared to end-to-end or user interface testing.

    Generally, end-to-end or user interface tests are cumbersome to maintain as they have a higher probability of failing. However, API tests are more stable and can be tested with the help of user-friendly tools like Postman.

    You need to focus on getting familiar with one of these tools, learning to interpret API documentation like Swagger, and then understanding the requests, responses, and status codes.

Managing code repositories and Processes

We don’t speak about this in the industry very often, and we assume that code repositories and process management require extensive coding skills. The reality is far different; we really don’t need extensive coding knowledge to manage repositories or their processes.

  • Version Control Systems – Understanding version controllers and familiarity with tools like Git and SVN, as well as how to create branches, merge code, and execute tests in the CI/CD pipeline, can be learned without coding.
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment – Architecting and designing CI/CD pipelines require a lot of technical knowledge but don’t necessarily require a lot of expertise in programming. You can design robust pipelines using tools like Jenkins, Travis CI, or CircleCI. Don’t stop there.
    You can use static analysers to verify the code quality, and then you can add code quality checks and code coverage checks with tools like SonarQube and so on.
  • Agile Methodologies—Being proficient in Agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, and knowing how to use project management tools like JIRA or Trello to keep track of project progress and design and manage workflows is a great option that doesn’t require any coding.

Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills

I've saved this point for last to emphasize that the core of being technical lies in the ability to think analytically and solve problems.

  • Critical Thinking- Analysing available facts, evidence, and observation to discover solutions to problems, breaking them down into smaller understandable components, and thinking logically about possible solutions.
  • Data Analysis - Using data to drive decisions, whether it’s through simple spreadsheets or more advanced tools like SQL, Tableau, or Power BI.
  • Root Cause Analysis- Identifying the underlying causes of issues and finding effective solutions, whether they are technical bugs, process inefficiencies, or design flaws.


To be technical, you don’t need to drink caffeine or write code. You are technical if you have the literacy to understand technical documents and if you use applications and tools to enhance your day-to-day work.

Remember, being technical is about understanding and applying technical concepts and not just writing code.

Sajitha Tharaka Pathirana

Written by Sajitha Tharaka Pathirana

A Test automation enthusiast, passionate to help the teams to enhance their testing journey with his decade of experience in the field, developing automation platforms and tools to optimize the overall testing process.