A Look at Digital Media

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Digital media is one of the few bright prospects of the Irish economy. It has grown despite the recession, and is one of the few industries where jobs are regularly on offer. But how many of you are unsure as to what exactly is digital media Let s start with the basics

Digital media encompasses the vast range of skills and careers that are involved in producing media for the internet. This includes design (mobile applications, websites and software), editorial (or content as it s usually referred to), computer programming, advertising, marketing and strategic professionals. Specialists such as animators, digital film makers, audio engineers and photographers also form part of the digital media spectrum.

Alan Coleman is CEO of OnlineAdvertising. ie and a Gold Medal winner at the 2011 Digital Media Awards 2011. He believes that Ireland is in the middle of a media bubble . With traditional media such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines moving online, as well as the explosion in popularity of applications such as Facebook and YouTube, there is a huge amount of opportunities for anyone entering the industry.

But is all this frenetic activity within the grasp of non-media and computing specialists Is it possible to re-train on a part time basis for a career in digital media

“Absolutely, 100%,” says Alan. “Most people are in the industry out of passion. Very few have a degree in computer science; they might have been a chef, or anything. In my own case, I came from advertising.”

The online world values a wide range of skills. Traditionally, explains Alan, the demand was for visually creative people. That demand is still there in terms of web design, animation, etc, but increasingly employers require more logical, scientifically minded people who can manage and structure vast amounts of data in order to, for example, ensure their website appears as high as possible in Google search results.

Indeed, Alan puts a lot of his success down to many misspent (at the time) hours during his college years mastering the strategic and highly statistical computer game Championship Manager! He therefore sees great prospects for people with backgrounds in areas such as accounting, engineering, and science.

Another area with good prospects within digital media is content writing and copywriting. People with writing skills are in dire need according to Alan.

“Websites are being designed at a rate of noughts,” he says, “but there is a big bottleneck in terms of copy.”

In truth however, all digital media roles are experiencing growth. “There is no recession online,” asserts Alan. The absence of international borders online is a big reason for this, and online trade in Europe for example, rose by 36% during the 2009-2010 period. “The internet effectively doubles in size something like every 2 years it s a growing space,” he adds.

But which course to choose

“A lot of courses are quite broad,” says Alan, who also lectures in digital marketing. “Participants will learn a little about a lot and are well placed to decide in which area to specialise. Jobs in digital media tend to have very specific skills requirements, so you re better off being world class in a particular role like web design, or SEO [Search Engine Optimisation].”


Frank Bolger

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