Digital Career Journeys Jpg

Future Talent: Our Career Journeys and Digital Job Advice for Students - Part 1

  • 10 mins read
Graphite
by Graphite

Published on Thursday 2nd April 2020

Digital Career Journeys & Advice for Students - Part 1

At Graphite, we are passionate about inspiring students to get involved in the world of digital. We want to help open as many doors as we can for young people, as someone once did for us. In addition, 1.2 million more technical and digitally skilled people will be needed by 2022 in the UK alone (Evening Standard), so ensuring that young people are aware of the industry and the varied roles available is extremely important. We run a Future Talent programme which includes running work experience, facilitating workshops, office visits, speaking at schools and colleges and running events.

Schools, colleges and universities are going through an unprecedented experience, exams are cancelled and we can no longer run our Future Talent programme as planned. During this time we want to help students and aspiring Digital Designers, Developers, Project Managers, Marketers and Business Leaders even more. So we are producing a series of blog posts to help those who were due to take exams.

In part one of this mini series, we asked Graphite team members in different digital job roles to answer 8 questions about their digital career journeys and offer their advice, top tips and suggest resources. The aim is to help aspiring digital professionals work towards their future career remotely. In this post, you will hear from our Design, Marketing and Development departments.

Web Design 

Product Designer - Marietta Mifsud 

What appealed to you about the digital industry and your job role?

The ability to be creative with a purpose and solve problems to make the user's everyday-life easier.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in Product Design?

Get an internship, it will put you miles ahead of your peers.

How could aspiring Product Designers use their time at home to start preparing? 

Keep up to date with what your favourite websites are doing and think about why they might have made particular design choices. Look at both the visual experience and user experience. Apply them to your assignments or side projects.

Are there any apps, tools or online courses that you would recommend to aspiring learners?

SuperHi for both code and design, Udemy, Skillshare, Lynda. These all require payment.

Free resources include; Youtube tutorials, Medium UX Collective and Design Better by Invision has lots of helpful podcasts and ebooks.

How did you get your first job in Product Design? 

I built a good portfolio (looking back at it now, I don’t think it was very good, but it must have done the trick!). My portfolio showed off a few key personal projects that I was proud of and confident in.

What training did you do for your role? 

I started training as a Web Developer but I quickly realised that it wasn't for me. I transferred onto a Graphic Design and Interactive Media course, when my university later introduced it which allowed me to use both my creative and digital skills to create digital products without the need to code.

Did you need any specific qualifications to get your job? 

In the creative industry, qualifications help but are not always required. Having passion and drive to work on side projects allows you to showcase your talent and skill set through a portfolio which will put you on the right track.

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for school, college and uni leavers about to take their next steps?

Don't be worried about not having any experience and make sure your university or side projects are well presented in your portfolio. Having a digital portfolio is essential in this industry. 

Graphite Journey Mapping Design 1 1

Digital Marketing

Marketing Executive - Lauren Robinson

What appealed to you about the digital industry and your job role?

I liked how exciting it seemed! It is a very creative and innovative industry, things are always changing and there are always new campaigns and challenges to work on.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in Digital Marketing?

Take every opportunity to learn that comes your way. Attend conferences, shadow colleagues, ask to be shown how to do things. Have a strong work ethic and be innovative.

How could aspiring Digital Marketers use their time at home to start preparing? 

Read as much as you can! There is so much amazing content out there and there are always new skills to learn in the marketing world. The industry is always changing and keeping up with trends is a must.

Are there any apps, tools or online courses that you would recommend to aspiring learners?

The Google Garage Digital Marketing course is an amazing, free online resource that introduces you to the basics of marketing through short video lessons and memory quizzes. There is also an advanced level course you can take afterwards to extend your base knowledge. This is also a great resource to refer back to if you ever come across something you don’t understand.

Smart Insights is a helpful online platform that provides marketing tools, training and downloadable templates. You can access some content for free and some require a subscription.

Useful blogs to follow are Hubspot and Hootsuite.

How did you get your first job in Digital Marketing? 

I joined Graphite Digital as an Apprentice and I couldn’t recommend apprenticeships enough! Being able to study one day a week and having the ability to implement your learnings in a real life work environment whilst getting paid is the way forward in my opinion! I was also able to learn from my colleagues. I was taken on permanently as Marketing Executive after graduating from my apprenticeship.

What training did you do for your role? 

I left college with A-Levels in Media, Sociology, English Literature and English Language. After 3 rounds of interviews I was offered the apprenticeship at Graphite, studying a Level 3 in Digital Marketing alongside the job. Although I have since been taken on as a permanent member of staff, I am continuing to study towards a Level 4 Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Digital Marketing qualification alongside my job.

Did you need any specific qualifications to get your job? 

It helped that I had 3 semi-relevant A-Levels, but I didn’t need any specific qualification to get my apprenticeship.

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for school, college and uni leavers about to take their next steps?

Definitely do an apprenticeship if you can and you feel that it would be a better alternative for you than university. If you want to learn more, I have written a couple of blog posts about apprenticeships and my journey; How to kickstart your career through an apprenticeship and Becoming a Digital Apprentice.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone whenever you can and show that you are determined to succeed!

Lauren@ Bdf19

Tech & Development

Senior Front-end Developer - Carl Wood  

What appealed to you about the digital industry and your job role?

I loved writing code and seeing a website take shape every time I saved the file. To me, that’s the beauty of working in frontend. I found that the digital industry  and teammates were incredibly friendly, supportive and talented.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their career in Development?

As a frontend developer, I suggest that people slowly build up a portfolio of websites. Look at other websites and try to code them in HTML and CSS or create a fictional company site. If you’re more into JavaScript, try to build simple, small applications. Learn the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript and you can set yourself up to be a Junior Front-end Developer.

 How could aspiring Front-end Developers use their time at home to start preparing? 

I’d echo my answer above. Immerse yourself in frontend code, look at other websites and learn the basics. Build simple projects and show them off on your portfolio website.

Are there any apps, tools or online courses that you would recommend to aspiring learners?

I’d recommend downloading and using Visual Studio Code, a great free code editor. CodeAcademy is a great learning resource, as is Udemy, where you can find cheap courses led by talented tutors. CSS-tricks and MDN web docs are both great resources to learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

How did you get your first job in frontend development? 

In my final year of my BSc Web Design course, I was approached by a company to join them as a Junior Front-end Developer. I did a little bit of web design there too.

What training did you do for your role?  

Most of it was learning on the job where I’d investigate ways to code a design and how to create JavaScript interactions. Google was my best friend and I quickly found out the best resources to improve my craft.

Did you need any specific qualifications? 

I don’t know if I needed my qualification, but I do know that the first company I worked at actively sought developers graduating from relevant university courses. In my opinion, qualifications aren’t necessary. You can learn and do so much from home: everything is open and you can code a website from a simple text editor!

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for school, college and uni leavers about to take their next steps?

Build a small and simple portfolio, be honest in where your passions lie and write a solid cover letter so you can repurpose it for various job applications. Reach out to experienced developers and seek advice. People love to help others. Good luck! 

Carl Tech Development

If you have any questions or would like any further advice from any of our team members, please feel free to reach out via our contact form below and we’ll make sure that it gets to the right person. 

If you found this post helpful, read Part 2 and Part 3 of this blog series to hear from more of our talented team as they discuss their digital career journeys and offer their advice.

Get in touch