Want to get paid to post fabulous Facebook content or to come up with engaging messages in 140 characters or less? Maybe you’d like to lead the online presence for major brands like Clinique or Channel 4 or design and develop the next Angry Birds? It’s about time you took a closer look at the digital industry. But wait a minute, isn’t the digital industry only a good fit for web developers and graphic designers? That’d be a ‘no’.
You see, the digital industry is extremely vast – and while it is a great fit for established web developers, there’s much more to it than just building and designing websites. Think about it; websites don’t just appear from nowhere – there’s a whole team behind them and the actual build of the website is just the beginning.
From the words that appear on a website to the things a company tweets and the mobile apps you download, it’s all controlled by employees in the digital sector – and guess what? Only a small percentage of them have a ‘traditional’ technology degree like Web and Software Development or Graphic Design.
History, English, Economics, Maths, Business – they might not be the first degree subjects that spring to mind when you think about the digital industry, but the skills and experience that come with them are needed right across the sector right now. What am I talking about? I’m talking about skills and experience in things like qualitative and quantitative research, statistics, data, linguistics and business strategy – you name it, they’re all needed by the world’s biggest online brands, including Amazon, eBay, Google and Facebook (to name a few!), every day.
The digital industry is big and it’s getting bigger by the day as the internet becomes more and more ingrained into our lives. This means there are lots of jobs available, not just in the UK, but in exciting places like California, Sydney, Amsterdam and Paris too. It’s an industry that is changing and adapting all the time as new technology evolves, so if you like the idea of a fast-paced environment it could be a good fit for you.
Right, let’s give you a brief overview of what’s involved.
- What Is It? The process of building web pages, websites, online tools, software and applications (both mobile and web) for direct brands and clients.
- Key Job Titles: Web Developer, Mobile Apps Developer, Software Engineer, PHP Developer, Front End Developer, Web Programmer
- Relevant Degrees include: Web Development, Computer Science, Computing, Software Engineering, Mobile Computing, Web Applications
- Skills & Experience: HTML, CSS, Android, iOS, XML, PHP, ASP.Net
- What Is It? The process of building a brand’s reputation online and driving traffic to a website, both organic (natural – not paid) and paid.
- Key Job Titles: Online Marketing Executive, Copywriter, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Executive, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Account Manager, Content Manager, Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager
- Relevant Degrees include: Marketing, English, Journalism, Media, Communications, History, Geography, Film Studies, Creative Writing, Drama and Theatre Studies
- Skills: Great people skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail.
- Experience: Using Twitter, Facebook and Google+ in a commercial setting, blogging, online copywriting, experience with paid and natural search optimisation.
- What Is It? The process of buying and selling products and/or services online.
- Key Job Titles: eCommerce Manager, eCommerce Marketing Manager, Account Manager, Business Development Manager, Digital Sales Executive, Media Buyer, Media Planner
- Relevant Degrees include: Maths, Economics, Business Studies, Law, Accounting & Finance, Business Management
- Skills: The ‘gift of the gab’, highly organised, can regularly hit targets/work to deadlines, outgoing.
- Experience: Experience selling and negotiating in a commercial environment, keeping up to date with the latest industry trends.
Analytics & Research
- What Is It? The process of analysing website performance using data and predicting future trends within the industry.
- Key Job Titles: Games Analyst, Website Analyst, Digital Analytics Lead, Data Analyst, Customer Insight Manager, Market Intelligence Analyst
- Relevant Degrees include: Maths, Economics, Physics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry
- Skills: Highly numerate, great with statistics and sorting through large amounts of data.
- Experience: Analysing data, experience using Analytics software like Google Analytics
So how do you get into the digital industry then? Well, just like any other industry at the moment, it’s not exactly easy but your existing skills and experience, along with the fact you’ve grown up with things like video-on-demand, social media and eCommerce should definitely put you in good stead.
When it comes to digital careers, employers are looking for candidates who are keen to learn, enthusiastic and committed – and they’re also looking for candidates who have experience in their chosen field. From setting up your own blog or website to managing a local charity’s social media accounts, it’s fairly easy to pick up work experience in a non-commercial setting but it’s also a good idea to try and pick up some work experience within a digital agency (like Manchester’s Carat, Creative Spark or McCann) and with a direct brand (like Bupa, Google and the BBC) too. Keep your eye out for digital internships and don’t be afraid to approach digital businesses directly with your CV. My top tips? Do your research, be enthusiastic and be willing to take on anything you’re offered (remember, everyone has to start somewhere!).
Just to clarify, I’m not saying the digital industry is the right fit for every student and graduate but it is definitely worth considering when assessing your future career options. To find out more about the digital industry visit the Bubble Digital Career Portal.
Amy Edwards (Bubble Jobs)