Logging on to your digital career – what are the options?
From reading blogs and searching for jobs, to checking your social media profiles and shopping, almost everyone has a relationship with some kind of digital media or online platform on a daily basis. And the more we use the internet, the more career opportunities we're inadvertently creating.
Websites don't just appear by magic – they're normally built over an extended period of time by a group of dedicated individuals. From design and user interface to the content and architecture, every element of a website has been carefully considered, assessed and strategised. Nothing is there by accident. And the sector is vast: Google alone employees almost 54,000 staff worldwide.
From analysing the journey a user makes when visiting a website, to managing customer interactions and planning for future digital trends, websites need an incredible amount of skill, manpower and resources to run successfully. And this means they need to recruit employees with a range of skills and experiences. So just because you're not a computer scientist, it doesn't mean you can't have a successful digital career.
Here is a selection of the main categories that roles fall into:
Online marketingThis is a blanket term used to cover more niche areas, such as search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC) and social media. It includes any process involved in promoting a brand and raising its profile online. From interacting on Twitter to increasing a website's ranking on Google, there are lots of different elements which all require a number of different skills and experience. When it comes to SEO, PPC and SEM, a knowledge of the search industry and best practice is essential, while practical experience is favoured for social media roles.
Online contentThe natural choice for anyone who loves writing, online content covers everything you see on a website. From blog writing to video production, creativity is the name of the game. It's about creating compelling material which strikes a chord with the website's target audience.
You can start to pick up the skills you need by creating blogs and other online content yourself. This is easier than ever thanks to free platforms such as WordPress and Blogger. A degree in a related discipline, such as journalism or creative writing, can also help.
EcommerceJobs in ecommerce can be anything to do with buying and selling online. It could be digital sales and account management or more niche areas related to online advertising. The skills required depend on the role you're interested in. For instance, if you're interested in account and campaign management or sales, you need to have great people skills.
Web and software developmentThe web development industry is now more diverse than ever, with gaming, mobile and apps all being important areas. In this sector a degree in computer science or a related discipline can go a long way. However, it's a good working knowledge of things like coding and HTML, and experience with iOS, Android and Blackberry development that is really valued by employers.
Analytics and researchIt's no good having a website if you don't know how well it's doing or how it can be improved. That's where analytics and research roles come into play. Professionals use tools like Google analytics to monitor traffic coming into the site and conversion rates – data that is used to make improvements and predictions to help brands plan and strategise for the coming months and years. Needless to say these particular roles are all concerned with data and numbers so a strong analytical and numerical mind is essential.
Web and graphic designThe perfect choice for creative types, web and graphic designers are responsible for creating compelling onsite designs, graphics and images which fit with brand values. A strong portfolio is a must, while a good working knowledge of popular programmes like Photoshop, InDesign and Fireworks is also usually essential. Some knowledge of HTML and CSS could also help to secure a web design job.
LocationDespite what you may think, being based in London isn't the be all and end all when it comes to digital jobs. Thanks to things like MediaCity in Manchester and the Cambridge Cluster, other cities all over the UK are becoming digital hubs in their own rights.
The futureThe digital industry is growing at incredible rate and, with new platforms, websites and apps being released daily, it shows no signs of slowing down. There are a wealth of niche job boards, specialist recruiters and career sites dedicated to jobs in the sector, most of which weren't around a few years ago. So can you really afford to stand on the sidelines of the digital industry any longer? 2013 might be the year you get involved.
Amy Edwards is a search engine optimisation manager for Bubble Jobs