Careers

Google exec explains why tech firms aren't just looking for coders anymore

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Some people looking to secure a career in the technology sector might fear they are at a disadvantage if they lack technical skills like programming.

But according to the head of Google's co-working campus in London, technical skills are not a prerequisite.

"When I first came into tech, I was like, 'Isn't that just coders?'" Sarah Drinkwater told CNBC in an interview this week. "And that perception is just not true. When I look at a great company, they've got an amazing business development person, they've got marketers, they've got sales people, they've got technical people — great companies need all those skills."

Google's London campus houses several start-ups, giving them a space to work in and develop their business. These are start-ups that have nothing to do with Google; instead, the project is aimed at helping early-stage tech firms of all stripes mature.

The tech giant has taken more than 85,000 start-ups under its wing in the U.K. capital, and those companies have raised over £194 million ($261 million) since its campus building opened in 2012.

Drinkwater explained that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has meant that tech employees don't all need technical know-how as AI is able to automate a lot of the processes involved in running digital platforms.

"Obviously, technical skills are really important, but with the rise of AI, increasingly you're seeing technologies where someone who is not very technical like me can use that to put AI in my start-up," she said.

Drinkwater added that she had come from a humanities background and said firms in the tech sector are increasingly looking for talent from creative industries, as well as engineers.

The Google executive dismissed the idea of CVs as a way to indicate how successful someone will be in tech, explaining that the industry was increasingly looking for people with a versatile set of skills.

"I always look at CVs and think CVs are a bit obsolete," she said. "I think increasingly it's about skillset, increasingly it's about mindset. In a very small start-up you need someone who is very comfortable with coming in and getting stuff done."

vgajic | Getty Images
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