In 2005 acts such as Uniting Nations and Scissor Sisters were at the top of the charts. Portsmouth were in the Premier League and Bob Geldof staged Live 8. Google launched something called Google Earth. Life was slightly different and certainly not played out on social media. We only made online friends in chat rooms, MySpace and Friends Reunited. YouTube had barely breathed.
The digital media world has changed enormously in that time, and so have the jobs that exist in its rarified atmosphere. According to a LinkedIn infographc from 2014, eight out of 10 jobs created in the past five years belong in the digital world. Yes, long-established roles still abound (and indeed flourish) but it’s impossible to create tradition and heritage. That’s why the digital world has changed so rapidly…
2005: Local journalist
2015: Content creator
Newspaper journalists still exist, but the job is in peril – Holdthefrontpage is replete with stories of ‘traditional’ reporters, sub-editors and editors bailing out of the industry.
The job titles of those remaining have changed in many offices to roles which still require training in law, writing and public affairs, but also photography, social media management, SEO and video composition. How much training they exactly receive, in an industry where readership is plummeting and newspaper groups are wrangling with massive debts, does not always match.
2015: Outreach expert/content producer/account manager
Where to start? Perhaps of all the roles that are listed on this piece the marketer has blossomed most noticeably, dipping toes into writing, SEO, social media and other skills. The content marketing matrix that attempts to fill in the gaps missing in a brand’s content output could not have been fulfilled in the same way without major investment far in advance of today – creating a movie for marketing purposes, for example, would almost certainly require the intervention of a specialist company.
The age-old marketing maxim of the four Ps – Product, Place, Price and Promotion – seems quite quaint now. Marketing giants Ogilvy and Mather believe that these have been replaced by Experience, Everyplace, Exchange and Evangelism. The multiple different routes to produce, monitor and create engagement allows a marketer to wear many hats at the same time. Agility is a vital skill; a decade ago the marketer was perhaps a triathlete, now they are more likely a decathlete.
2005: Press officer
2015: Social media manager/chief listening officer
The role of press officer/PR/communications officer for a brand still exists, but the avenues that require monitoring – once restricted to newspapers, Amazon reviews and website comment boxes – have exploded. Social media and review sites such as Trustpilot have opened up the chance for complaints to sit unheeded, which can be damaging.
A social media manager is expected to engage customers and stakeholders, to promote internal and external content if appropriate, to identify trends, and to respond to criticism or feedback within a short period of time, often at inopportune hours. Organisation, improvisation and a quick wit are tools that can reap big dividends, which would have been impossible to fathom a decade previously.
2015: Insight analyst/data scientist
Ten years ago a researcher probably still utilised print as much as the keyboard. Those times have changed as the information itself is more readily available; it’s the interpretation, the mathematical tools, and the usage of the data going forward that are the concerns of a data architect in an e-commerce environment; an exciting and interesting role for those with mathematical abilities of note. You can find examples of such roles here.
Scraping tools can extract raw number and information in moments, and it is that data that is the key in micro- and macroscopic form. Who likes your brand? Why? What else do they like? When do they like it? Using the data to develop further strategies, in combination and parallel to web analytics and coding tools, and with quite a dash of knowledge of the marketing sector in which you are working, is the 2015 and beyond methodology.
It would be remiss to say that blogging did not exist a decade ago, but as this article suggests it wasn’t regarded as a career as such, and was actually still inferior to a print version for many readers. But the power of Google, adword marketing and social media swirled to create the perfect platform to create their own niche of writing – one that can now be very profitable.
2015: Social media figure
If you’ve never heard of ‘Mr’ Cian Twomey, Dylan Evans, Levi Jed Murphy or some of the other ‘public figures’ to be found on social media then you may want to get up to speed; or alternatively, once you’ve watched them, you may wonder how the devil they’ve ever emerged into public consciousness in the first place.
In 2005, reality TV was hurtling into the mainstream (Big Brother 6 was watched by more than six million people on some weeks) and certain figures enjoyed fleeting moments of fame. The glossy magazines were still concerned with glamorous entities such as Tara Palmer-Tompkinson and Lady Victoria Hervey, and small halls and bars were the furthest many aspiring comics made it. Now, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, and others, anyone can potentially become a star – for now.
2015: App designer/developer
Programmers are still in great demand, perhaps more than ever before. App developers just didn’t have the platforms in the pocket that people now use to access them; imagine trying to access an app on a Nokia 62301, for example. Take that image and try to reconcile it with the 85 billion downloads from Apple’s App Store, as of October 2014.
We’ve taken the strands of developer and designer – two very different roles – but these can then be split further into iOS and Android developers (which have grown by multiples of 142 and 199 according to the earlier LinkedIn piece), UI/UX designers, hackers, scientists and many more.
2015: Sustainability manager
Again, this is another role that has grown in the past few years, and would once have been looked after by an employee who did not strictly look after green issues as part of their remit. It just so happens that they were the ones who happened to turn lights out or keep an eye on the books.
Now B2B companies should not only want to be ecologically sound, but must do it as a matter of course or they will lose out. The role does not just include sourcing green materials and installing best practices, but also saving money and allocating company resources accordingly.
These are not the only jobs in the digital world that did not exist ten years ago, or existed in their embryonic form. Cloud services specialists, vloggers, and many other exciting roles have arisen, and will continue to arise. It’s a good time to be getting into the industry – and those opportunities will only increase.
John Baker is an experienced features writer, who has contributed to several high profile publications. He is a former features editor for a regional newspaper and has also worked in local radio and the health industry.