Digital agency roles: Explained

To mark BIMA Digital Day 2021, we've profiled some typical digital agency roles along with the key skills that would help you to succeed within them.

A photo of the Graphite team working together

BIMA’s Digital Day initiative is focused on giving young people across the UK an insight into the world of digital careers and ensuring that these kinds of opportunities are on their radar when they start planning for the future. 

The digital industry is growing rapidly. It offers diverse and flexible career paths and the chance to work with exciting clients of all sizes and across all different industries. 

It can be difficult for young people who are still at school or university — as well as those that are teaching them — to have a good understanding of the different roles within a digital agency. This makes it difficult to decide on the path of study or training that can help them get there.

There is also a misconception that careers in digital are only an option for people with either a deep understanding of technology — for example, things like coding, or development — or people who are extremely creative and artistic. 

Using some of the roles within our agency, Graphite, as an example, we wanted to show the variety of roles within a digital agency along with some of the key skills that might make you a great candidate for a career in this field. 

Project Manager 

What? A Project Manager oversees the planning and execution of different projects. They work with colleagues from across the agency to ensure that deadlines are met, budgets are stuck to, and the resources needed to complete the project are always available. They use a range of different tools, platforms and technologies on a daily basis.

Department: Delivery Team

Key skills: Organisation, Communication, Planning, Problem-solving, Teamwork, Decision-making

Useful subjects: IT, Maths, Sciences, 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

FutureLearn: free online project management courses with options for all levels and interests

Digital Project Manager How-to Guides: free step-by-step guides on project planning, initiation, controlling and closing

Trello: start creating mini-projects in real life to get familiar with new software

UX Designer

What? The role of a UX Designer is to create user-friendly experiences for audiences when navigating through a product. They are responsible for mapping out and planning the pages in a digital product, such as a website or app. They think about what elements are used on those pages and how the user will click through them. They set the groundwork for a UI Designer to apply styling onto the design layouts.

Department: Creative Services

Key skills: Planning, Wireframing, Looking at the ‘bigger picture’, Creativity, Empathy

Useful subjects: Art, Graphic Design, Psychology 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events: 

User Defenders: podcast on all things UX

Google Material Design: design guidelines from Google 

Interfacely: Instragram account for design inspiration 

FutureLearn: free online courses in UX and UI design 

A photo of Graphite team member, Jolijn

Account Manager 

What? An Account Manager acts as the key point of contact between an agency, and the clients they work with. Their main focus is to build and retain strong relationships with key clients to ensure that their needs and business goals are being met, while addressing any problems or concerns in a timely manner. They also have a commercial focus, working with existing clients to grow the account through new opportunities. 

Department: Client Services / Sales

Key skills: Communication, Negotiation, Problem-solving, Relationship building, Leadership, Social skills

Useful subjects: English, Business Studies, Drama, IT, 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

Account Management Skills: Resource and podcasts from industry experts within Account Management field 

Creative Agency Account Manager: podcast with tips and advice and interesting profiles

Idea.org: free online courses to enhance your digital knowledge

UI Designer

What? A UI Designer works closely with a UX Designer to produce seamless interfaces for websites, apps and all systems that require user interaction. They are responsible for the ‘look and feel’, creating colour and typography styles that can be rolled out across the product. They will think about the way a page can be displayed on different screen sizes and how each touchpoint will look and be interacted with. 

Department: Creative Services

Key skills: Creativity, Eye for detail, Problem-solving, Collaboration, Visual Communication

Useful subjects: Art, Graphic Design, Psychology 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events: 

HackDesign: online platform to learn new skills with weekly articles, tutorials and lessons

FutureLearn: free online courses in UX and UI design 

WeLoveWebDesign: Instagram account for digital design inspiration

Marketing Manager

What? A Marketing Manager is responsible for promoting an agency’s services and building a positive reputation for the company brand. It is a varied role that requires both creative and analytical skills. Common responsibilities include writing blog posts, creating content for social media, organising events, and updating the agency website. 

Department: Business Development

Key skills: Communication, Organisation, Creativity, Planning, Copywriting, Attention to detail 

Useful subjects: English, Psychology, Media Studies, Business Studies, Languages, Humanities, Advertising 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

Google Digital Skills Garage: free online digital marketing courses

HubSpot blog: articles and how-to guides on all aspects of marketing

Marketing Week website: the latest industry news and trends

The Pretty Little Marketer on Instagram: easy to digest marketing tips and tricks

A photo of Graphite team member, Leanne, smiling

Product Designer 

What? A Product Designer is responsible for the overall user experience of a product. Although typically associated with the visual, tactile aspects of a product, they can also play a role in the information architecture and system design of a product. Product Designers often play the part of both a UX Designer and a UI Designer.

Department: Creative Services

Key skills: Ability to zoom in and out of product details, Problem solving, Organisation.

Useful subjects: Art, Graphic Design, Psychology

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events: 

Design Better: useful guides and ebooks on all things design

UX Planet: a one-stop online resource for everything related to user experience

FutureLearn: free online courses in UX and UI design 

Operations Manager

What? As an Operations Manager, you are responsible for the running of the back-end of the agency and keeping ‘business as usual’ running as smoothly as possible. People in operations have lots of contact with teams across the business, often encompassing or works closely with Finance, Human Resources, IT and the senior leadership team. 

Department: Operations

Key skills: Organisation, Communication, Problem solving, Teamwork, Initiative

Useful subjects: English, Maths, IT, Management, Finance 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

OpenLearn: free online operations management course

Idea.org: free online courses to enhance your digital knowledge

Finance Assistant 

What? A finance assistant oversees the day-to-day spending and budgets within the agency. They create, send and follow up on invoices, and ensure that teams and departments stick to their budgets. They should have great organisational skills and attention to detail. They usually have contact with most people across the agency. 

Department: Finance 

Key skills: Organisation, Attention to detail, Communication, Analytical skills, 

Useful subjects: Maths, Accounting, Finance, IT, Science, English 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events: 

Association of Accounting Technicians: website with useful resources from an official accounting body  

FutureLearn: free online finance and accounting-related courses 

Simplified Accounting: Instagram account with finance and accounting tips and tricks

UX Researcher 

What? A UX researcher is responsible for conducting all of the user and product research as part of a design team. They seek to make a product, app, or website more intuitive and satisfying for the end user. They use both qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct research which is then used to inform design decisions.

Department: Creative Services 

Key skills: Communication, Problem-solving, Curiosity, Attention to detail, Organisation 

Useful subjects: Psychology, Sociology, Sciences, English

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

UX Booth: Beginner’s guide to UX Research

Keving Liang: UX Researcher and YouTuber providing content and advice for juniors wanting to begin a career in UX Research

David Travis: Pioneering UX Researcher who provides great mini-series on YouTube for UX Researchers

David Travis Udemy Course: Excellent introductory online course for those wanting to enter the field of UX Research and Usability

Books: Think Like a UX Researcher (David Travis & Ian Hodgkinson), The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman), Emotional Design (Don Norman), Research Practice (Gregg Bernstein), Just Enough Research (Erika Hall)

A photo of Graphite team member, Leeya

Business Development Manager

What? When working in business development or sales, your primary responsibility is to look for new clients and opportunities for your agency. Working closely with the marketing team, you try to start conversations and form connections with new partners through email, social media, attending events, networking, and making phone calls.

Department: Business Development

Key skills: Negotiation, Relationship-building, Communication, Presentation skills, Time management

Useful subjects: English, Maths, Business Studies, Economics, Psychology

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

HubSpot Sales blog: articles and how-to guides on all aspects of sales

Coursera: free online courses in sales and business development 

Head of Talent

What? A Head of Talent is responsible for overseeing the recruitment of new staff and ensuring the wellbeing and satisfaction of current staff. This includes advertising roles, interviewing candidates and hiring people, as well as other day-to-day tasks such as administering pay, benefits, and leave, and enforcing company policies. They may also be known by other titles, such as HR Manager, Head of People or Recruitment Manager. 

Department: Operations

Key skills: Communication, Administration, Leadership, Relationship-building

Useful subjects: English, Psychology, Maths, IT, Marketing, Finance 

Useful resources, courses, networks, or events:

CIPD Resources: a range of resources from an official HR accreditation body

Redefining HR: podcast exploring all things talent — HR, people operations, recruiting

FutureLearn: free online HR-focused courses 

Every agency is different, so this is not an exhaustive list of all the different roles that are available, but we hope it’s a useful overview of some of the key positions and the skills and traits that may make them a perfect fit for you in the future!

We passionately believe in engaging with young people and nurturing future talent by offering practical experience in the digital industry. 

We work closely with local and national organisations to facilitate these initiatives, including Spear Brighton, Wired Sussex, Coast2Capital, the University of Sussex, and BIMA. At least twice per year, we also organise work experience programmes to give young people a taste of digital agency life.

We are growing rapidly and regularly advertising new roles with entry-level positions available in areas such as Project Management, Marketing and Design. Make sure to follow us on social media for updates on future opportunities, or get in touch with us directly if you have any other questions. 

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