WHAT? You may have heard the terms ‘big data’ and ‘data scientist’ before, but what do they mean? Data is the information we produce when we do something. Every time you send a text message, google a book, miss a dentist appointment, travel on a train, buy some fruit (you get the idea), you generate information that is useful to an organisation somewhere.
Imagine if people stopped buying fruit? This data might prompt the government to launch a healthy eating campaign. Imagine if a rail route became very popular? This might prompt the rail company to run more journeys, or put on a bigger train. A data scientist works for an organisation and analyses data to find trends.
WHY NOW? We have tonnes more data! We have more data than ever before because everything is digitised. Everything from our supermarket shopping to the bus journeys we make is recorded and digitised.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Excellent maths skills, analytical skills, great attention to detail.
WHICH COMPANIES? Government departments, supermarkets, communication companies, specialist data companies like EMC, PWC, ACCENTURE, IBM, ORACLE.
WHAT? UX stand for ‘user experience’, and a UX designer makes sure that websites and apps give users the best possible experience. Some UX designers have technical skills – they know how to write code and software – but many don’t. A UX-er will think about the layout of a website, where the menu tabs should go, where pages click through to and why.
Think of it a bit like mapping. Imagine a website was a city, a UX-er would decide where the hospital would go, the library, the schools and so on. Their job is to make the journey around the website a great experience.
WHY NOW? We have a lot more apps and websites now than we did 10 years ago! Plus many companies are in the process of digitising their information. Think about all the resources a university or college has. A UX designer would be part of a team figuring out where to put all that information on the university or college website.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Creative, analytical, methodical and problem solving skills. Some UX designers have coding languages, but not all. You’ll also need an eye for good design too.
WHICH COMPANIES: Tech companies that build websites and apps, and digital agencies.
OFFSHORE WIND FARM ENGINEER
WHY: A combination of global warming and decreasing fossil fuels (oil and gas) means we need more alternative sources of energy, like solar, hydro and wind. So lots of governments and big companies are putting money into funding wind farms.WHAT: Alternative energy – or ‘green energy’ – is big news and offshore wind farms are often making headlines. An offshore wind farm engineer is a structural or civil engineer who builds winds farms out at sea. Pretty cool.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED: Strucural and civil engineering skills.
WHICH COMPANIES: Siemens, RES, Aeolus Power, REG Windpower.
WHAT? App designers design apps for smart phones and tablets. The design them for iOS (Apple products) or Android (everything else). Some are designed to make our every day lives easier and more efficient (think Google Maps), while others are to entertain us (think of magazine apps and Angry Birds). An app designer will work closely with the app developer to make an app look appealing and work smoothly. So app designers focus on the design and graphics of an app, whereas an app developer does the techy bit.
WHY NOW? There are over a million apps in the world, that’s why. Our appetite for apps is huge – and some apps make big, big money. Another reason why there are so many apps and app designers today is data. A lot of apps pull in existing data from websites and other apps to make new apps. One example of this is the Citymapper app, which uses data from Google Maps and Transport for London to make a whole new app.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Some specific coding skills, design skills
WHICH COMPANIES? Tech companies that build apps, digital agencies, you! Anybody can make an app (there's lots of free infomration online) and lots of people do – there’s more than one million apps, remember! If you’ve got a good idea for an app, go for it.
WHAT? Bloggers blog. I’m blogging right now. You’re reading my blog post right now. Bloggers blog about anything that’s bloggable. Careers (like this one), food, clothes, films, gardening, pigeons – anything. Some are often professional writers (like me), while some do it in their free time. Some blogs get so popular that the person writing them gives up everything else they’re doing just to focus on their blog – and they make through advertising and endorsements. Some blogger blog for other people’s blogs, like me: I am writing for the YouRock blog.
WHY NOW? There have never been so many blogs and bloggers! Many companies now have their own website blogs. This is a way for them to engage with their audience. It’s useful for their customers and makes the business look good too. Sometimes a company might produce a really useful blog post on something which become very popular and gets shared on social media. This is called content marketing because the content of the blog post ends up marketing the company.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Excellent writing skills and a specialism
WHICH COMPANIES? All companies! Online magazine and news outlets, digital agencies, content marketing agencies
SOCIAL MEDIA PLANNER
WHAT? This isn’t about sitting on Facebook all day, sorry. But it is about having an excellent understanding of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and all the other social media that’s out there. As a social media planner you’ll be part of a marketing team and responsible for creating a social media strategy that helps the company communicate with customers. You might work for one company “in house” or work for a digital agency that hires you out to lots of companies on a contract basis.
WHY? There are two reasons. First, we have more social media channels now than before. Second, brands are trying harder and harder to reach out to customers through social media. This is because they need to respond – if somebody says something bad about Coca-Cola on Twitter, it’s useful if Coke can respond. But more importantly, a business will now advertise itself and its products on social media platforms.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Understanding and knowledge of social media platforms, communication
WHICH COMPANIES: Large corporate companies, digital agencies
WHAT? Many businesses now have a legal duty to be more sustainable, which involves producing less waste and recycling more efficiently. A sustainability expert will also help a business reduce its carbon footprint – so how much energy it uses – while helping it streamline (update and refine) its operations. As well as waste reduction and recycling, a sustainability expert might come up with new ways a business can be more environmental, such as growing a roof garden or keeping bees, for example.
WHY? In some countries, large companies are bound by law to be more sustainable – and can gain tax breaks if they prove they are being ‘greener’. Meanwhile also lots of business owners and managers feel a moral obligation to run their businesses better, and know that it will please their customers too.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Some training in environmental science and/or business management.
COMPANIES? Individual companies, consultancies that specialise in sustainability
YOGALATES / BARRE / AQUACISE INSTRUCTOR
WHAT? Despite rising obesity, people are keener than ever to take part in fitness classes. Every month there seems to be a new trend – such as yogalates (yoga and Pilates combined), aquacise (exercise in water) and barre exercise (exercise based around ballet exercises). These instructors help people get fit and stay fit by putting on specialist classes.
WHY? We seem to love working out more than ever, that’s why!
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Training in at least one specialism – whether it’s barre, yogalates, aquacise.
WHICH COMPANIES? Fitness centres, leisure centres, sports clubs
WHAT? Ever wondered what makes a website appear on the first page of a Google search? It’s having good SEO that does it. SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and is about making your website fit (optimised) for search engines (Google). SEO specialists keep up with the latest developments at Google to make they’re employing the right techniques to keep a website ranked high.
WHY? Websites are becoming increasingly important – and there’s more and more of them! So brands have to compete with each other to make their website appears high in the Google search results.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Technical, analytical, specific SEO courses
COMPANIES? Any company with a website. Digital agencies.
CLOUD COMPUTING EXPERT
WHAT? 10 years ago nobody had heard of cloud computing, so don’t worry if you’re not sure what it is! Cloud computing is the action of storing information in a cloud – which is a database held and managed on the internet rather than on a hard drive or a local shared drive. If you make a Google doc that is key in the Google cloud. Similarly, if you store anything on Dropbox, you’re also using cloud computing. Cloud computing expert manage systems and install systems.
WHY? Slowly but surely everything is moving from local drives to cloud computing. This means information can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This has huge repercussions for technology, apps and websites.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED? Software development, analytical, technical
COMPANIES? Corporations and technological consultant companies like IBM