Why get into Internet, digital & interactive media?

Over the last ten years the internet industry really has exploded. Virtually every business relies on it and individuals get withdrawal systems without it.

Newspapers, magazines and other publications are beginning to disappear as digital media gets bigger and better. Social Media, cloud computing and 3D experiences are the norm now.

Considering that some of the largest companies in the world are in this arena (e.g. Google, Apple and Microsoft), opportunities for employment are now vast.

The internet is now deeply entrenched in our lives and influences almost everything, from medical records and banking, to flight tickets, news, and clothing. Even our social lives are now played out on the internet.

With the industry growing dramatically year on year, more graduate jobs need to be filled as new positions are created. For example, the position of social media manager didn’t even exist five years ago.

What will I actually end up doing in an Internet, digital & interactive media career?

Your career in this arena is likely to focus on one of four areas:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Content
  • Management.

Design can focus on anything from how Woody looks in Toy Story 3, to the colour of the button on the homepage of Facebook. The vast majority of designers in this industry must be absolute experts in one of the many software programmes available (e.g. Photoshop). It’s not paper and pencil these days, ladies and gents!

Development is serious business. The founders of Facebook (two of the youngest billionaires in the world), Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, are both ‘coders’ that develop using a variety of programming languages.

There are lots of programming languages out there; some are more design focused and others are more technical and build everything that we use on the internet. Programmers and developers are incredibly valuable to organisations and can demand huge sums for their services.

Content functions in much the same way as newspaper or magazine journalism really. The key difference is the immediacy of information online, with a simple click uploading, changing or deleting a story. Print runs no longer exist in the online world.

Management in this industry focuses on what you’ll generally find anywhere else: looking after clients, organising a project and ensuring that everybody and everything is paid on time.

People specialise in different types of design, whether you’re working in the web, film or animation industry. However, you’ll generally be known as ‘the designer’.

What do I need to get into an Internet, digital & interactive media career?

As with most roles, formal qualifications are a plus but not essential, so long as you have a very strong portfolio, are able to demonstrate your skills effectively and have shed loads of enthusiasm.

Development is all about what skills you have! Qualifications are irrelevant if you’re a whizz-kid web developer who can create a magnificent website in a matter of days.

Web development is a very mathematical discipline. Numbers, equations and algorithms are the call of the day here.

Knowledge of SEO (search engine optimisation) and web analytics are all hugely important. After all, monitoring the performance of a particular site can be the difference between making a pittance and making millions for an e-commerce project.

What else can I do in this industry?

Producing content in this industry follows much the same process as working in print journalism or publishing. Usually the first rung on the ladder is as an editorial assistant, where you’ll be proofreading, researching and investigating topics.

Alternatively, you might focus your efforts solely on the copywriting side of things. As you progress, you will most likely move into the position of a web content editor.

On the management side of this industry, you are likely to find account handlers, account managers, new business managers and most other organisational roles here.

Most companies are now diverting a huge amount of their money to advertising via the internet or through any form of digital or interactive media. This is mainly because of the level of accountability they can find. Every click, view or movement of a mouse can now be measured and attributed to a ‘sale’. If it doesn’t work, it’s gone.

The kind of roles in this part of the industry usually include media planners, web analytics gurus, marketing strategists and project managers.

If you’re a fan of surfing (the internet) and you can knit together a great web (site) then a career in internet, digital and interactive media might be the one for you!

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