What is a Digital Career?

Dr Thomas Montague, State Manager (Victoria and Tasmania), Digital Careers writes his thoughts on digital careers.

These days the big name technology companies like Google employ people with all sorts of backgrounds and capabilities.  You don’t necessarily need to be able to cut code to have a Digital Career. Nor do you necessarily have to have a university degree, though admittedly it does help.  What really counts is passion – a passion to learn, a passion for people and a passion to create.  Of course a sense of humor, some motivation and persistence goes a long way too but generally speaking in the future, businesses of all sizes will need a range of skills to deliver their products and services and chances are these skills will be digitally based.

So what do you need to do to develop the skills necessary to build your fabulous digital career?  Well it depends on what you like to do and where your skill sets and passions lie but it also depends on types of problems you are trying to solve or services you are inclined to provide.  A helpful tool here is a career map produced by the Australian Computer Society foundation (http://www.acsfoundation.com.au/static_promo.cfm ).  The 60 or so careers identified by the ACS are just the tip of the iceberg and like and like the shape of an iceberg the types of digital careers available are evolving all the time.

A good place to start is with some foundational knowledge in coding and what an operating system is, as this will give you an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of the technology. The type of code commonly used will change over time but knowing one will help you learn others later on if you persist with coding.  It can also enable you to make and maintain you own websites and the look, feel and performance of your hardware whether the hardware is a quadcopter or the latest e-textiles.  Yes digital will soon be part of the very fabric of the clothes you put on, just as it is part of the car you drive or drive in, your phone and the sound, lighting and heating systems around you.

In the future you won’t be able to avoid using digital technologies so why not know about them and how they work?  Being a consumer is not quite the same as being a creator yet it’s the creators and innovators that will start and grow the businesses of the future whether it’s in digital design, health technology, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing or agriculture.  Opportunities abound for those that understand and appreciate how digital technologies work, what they can and can’t do and for those with new ideas of how the technology can be used to solve problems, educate and entertain people.  The image above of the fountain in Adelaide shows the art created using lighting and valves controlled by digital processors and programming.

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