Thomas@ Bdf19 2

Future Talent: Our Career Journeys and Digital Job Advice for Students - Part 3

  • 10 mins read
Graphite
by Graphite

Published on Monday 1st June 2020

Digital Career Journeys - advice for students

Part 3

 

This is Part 3 of our Future Talent blog series that aims to help students who want to work towards their future digital careers remotely. If you haven’t already, read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

In the final part of this series, three more team members share their digital career advice for students and aspiring digital professionals. Below you will hear from another member of our Design team, our Managing Director and our Marketing Consultant.

Design

Product Designer - Anthony Kelly

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

I discovered that UX design had similarities to Human-Factors Engineering, which I had previously studied and thoroughly enjoyed. After this realisation, I knew that the digital industry and UX design was the right field for me. As a bonus, I had always been interested in innovation & business.

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

1) Don’t feel like you must master all of UX or UI principles, you will just stress yourself out. 2) Attend a few design events (if you can), so that you can learn how experienced designers present their work. This will help you have a better understanding of how you could improve your design presentation for interviews. These events will also help you to network with other designers and keep updated on what is changing in the industry. 

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

I would recommend doing an unsolicited redesign of an app or website as a side project. Doing this might help you along the way to landing an internship or a job. 

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

Since the industry is ever-changing with new technologies, I would suggest that aspiring designers join Hackdesign.org to learn new skills. The platform provides weekly articles, tutorials and lessons that will help you put your design skills into practice.

How did you get your first job in UX Design?

By building a mobile application.

What training did you do for your role? Did you need any specific qualification?

I studied Psychology at university.

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

Don’t settle down, always be curious!!

Graphite Journey Mapping Design 2 1

Business Leader

Managing Director - Rob Verheul 

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

I was first inspired by a presentation I saw from a local business agency MD who created games for big brands - I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and that really sparked my interest to pick up some magazines and start to learn for myself.

A few of my friends had already made websites, and they were focusing mainly on the technical angle, which they excelled at, and they helped me to learn the basics. My preference was for design, and I absolutely relished the opportunity to create something original and share it with the world in next to no time.

I’d always hoped to become Managing Director at some point - however I wasn’t sure how I’d get there. My route was first in design, then account management, and after a few years I was given the opportunity to run Graphite, which I leapt at. With very few commitments, the time was right and I got stuck in; that was nearly 11 years ago.

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

I don’t know of any Managing Directors in Digital companies who didn’t start with an initial digital skill - be it Design, Development, Marketing or another, so if you are an aspiring MD I would recommend focusing first on a skill or two, and then developing your people and commercial skills. If you start a company you’ll pick the people skills up through necessity, but you’ll be in a strong position if you can rely on a strong initial digital skillset.

How could aspiring digital professionals use their time at home to start preparing? 

Now is a great time to start preparing for a digital role. I’d recommend the following at this time:

Explore - First thing is to research and explore the different areas of the digital industry to find out what you are interested in.

Focus - Once you’ve discovered an angle you’re interested in, pursue it. Learn what you can from online courses and videos.

Begin - Put your skills into practice, set your own projects and tasks - there’s an amazing opportunity with digital to just come up with an idea and go for it, don’t wait to be asked.

For more of my thoughts on this keep an eye out for my ‘How to get started in a digital career’ video, which was featured in the 2020 Wired Sussex Talent Festival and will be featured in another Future Talent blog post soon.

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

I recommend idea.org.uk, it’s all you need to explore different skills and areas of the digital sector. 

There’s plenty online to discover and do. If you’d like a course there are loads on offer, Google Digital Garage, Udemy, Lynda provide practical starting points.

 How did you get your first job in digital? 

I contacted a number of different agencies, showing them my design portfolio and offered to work. At the time I didn’t know how much my time was worth so I ended up being very cheap to them, but it felt like a lot to me at the time. 

What training did you do for your role?  

I did a degree at Brunel University called Multimedia Technology and Design. It provided a great way of exploring a lot of the different areas of the digital industry.

Did you need any specific qualifications? 

I think experience and personal connections are more beneficial than qualifications in this industry. For some people the way they get both of these is through University or a course, others can make it without.

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

Go for it! There’s no time like the present to learn new skills, and all the information you could possibly need is online. So explore, focus and begin!

Graphite Class Colour

Marketing

Marketing Consultant - Kerry Manley

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

I like every day to be different and I’m interested in a variety of things including strategy, planning, creating content, understanding customers, psychology, innovation, communication and achieving financial objectives. Working in digital marketing allows you to blend all of those skill sets together in one role. 

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

1) Think about the digital marketing that reaches you now as a consumer. What have you been moved by? What has motivated you to take action? Find out who created that activity and how they approached it. It should give you a good intro to what’s involved. Many agencies share case studies that take you through how they achieved results. It’s always a good source of learning. Try The Drum. 2) Be ready to learn for life. Digital marketing is constantly changing and it helps to have a curious mind and be ready to learn continuously and grow. 3) Testing is a fundamental part of digital marketing and you’ll learn from running tests and experiments. It helps if you have both an analytical and creative mind. 4) Start by getting a broad digital marketing skill set and then focus down on getting a deeper knowledge in a few areas of your choice like Content, PPC or SEO. It’s unlikely you’ll be a master of everything. 

How could an aspiring digital marketer use their time at home to start preparing? Are there any apps, tools or online courses that you would recommend to aspiring learners?

You can learn so much online - resources such as HBR, Hubspot, eConsultancy, SmartInsights, Moz, Buffer are all really useful sources of learning. I also recommend reading books on marketing strategy so you understand why you are doing what you are doing. You need to create a good foundation and purpose to your marketing activity - the book ‘The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization’ is a good starting point.

How did you get your first job in marketing?

My first job in marketing was as a research assistant, I was gathering data for new products and then I shadowed people, networked and moved up from there. I tried to make sure I was always saying yes to opportunities and achieving something in each role. The results I achieved helped both with promotion and finding new opportunities. 

Did you need any specific qualification?

Yes - I qualified via the Chartered Institute of Marketing and also IDM. Many people enter the industry via other routes though.

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

Take some time out to think about what you like doing, what do you enjoy? Your job is a big part of your life so make sure you enjoy what you do and have some fun along the way. Digital Marketing is a varied industry with a wide variety of roles which can be very different from each other, find out about the different types of roles within the industry to see what might suit you.

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.

Get in touch