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Mandy Brown: No one is “non-technical”

When we talk about the makeup of our teams, there’s often an impulse to break people down into “technical” and “non-technical” roles, as code for “engineers” and “everyone else.” The latter comes up often when discussing internal tools or systems, which by definition have to be accessible to those “non-technical” folks. Sometimes the language bleeds out to refer to users of a product, especially if the product has both a developer-facing experience and orientations for other kinds of users. I’ve even used the “non-technical” language myself, bemoaning the lack of a better alternative. But that right there should have been a tell: there’s no suitable synonym because the concept is a fiction. There’s no such thing as a “non-technical” role; there are only different techniques.