Times have changed. Kids are no longer constrained of dreaming to become lawyers, nurses, teachers, doctors, accountants, engineers, pilots, and the rest of fun but analogue careers. Today is a digital day that has come with new and exciting careers that we did not even think would exist 10 years ago. As it is, most of us in these careers actually find it hard to explain to our parents what exactly we do for a living because these are completely new fields which most people still struggle to understand.
Professions are bound to keep cropping up and changing, courtesy of the internet, robotics and anything that is likely to be adversely impacted by technology. Such careers provide fast growth as they are still being explored and for those who are interested in fast-paced and exciting careers, this is the way to go.
- Social media/ community manager
Facebook and Twitter were launched in 2006, while Instagram was launched in 2010. All these social media platforms were initially used for social interactions only and most people did not take them seriously. Your parents probably hated the way you were always glued on your device chatting with people you only knew through the internet.
However, all these platforms are now the reason many people are getting full time jobs, something that did not even exist when they were launched. So important has social media become, that it is now part and parcel of any meaningful marketing strategy. All these social media platforms have also become important platforms for consumer engagement, giving companies the feedback they need instantly as well as engage in brand management.
This is definitely a job that did not exist a while back and your parents will probably think you are a joker if you tell them that your job is to monitor social media. But, this is one of the most lucrative jobs in the new millennia.
- App developer
It is estimated that half of the world’s population owns a smartphone yet the iPhone was launched in 2007 and the android phone followed shortly after. What this means is that the world has a huge appetite for apps which are customized to each consumer’s needs.
Nearly every company has an app that can be downloaded for free or at a fee. The general rule is to ensure that customers can access services conveniently and hustle-free, which is every brand’s dream.
This demand for apps has, therefore, generated a huge demand for app developers whose main job is to create and improve apps which help to improve customer experience. For example, the Google App Store had a total of 1.5 million apps and the Apple App Store had a total of 2 million apps as of July 2015 and this is just but the beginning.
Bloggers have all kinds of reputation in Kenya, mostly, negative. But, before you dismiss them as idlers or political pawns, think again. Some blogs such as bikozulu.co.ke, silvianjoki.com, magunga.com among others employ their owners by virtue of sharing content and attracting thousands of followers together with advertisers to their blogs.
So popular are some blogs that corporates and political parties buy huge advertising spaces to get their messages to their target market at the click of a button. The trick is to create great content, which attracts viewers so that you can sell advertising space. Additionally, Google also places advertisements on the big blogs and pays their owners per click.
It is pretty easy to start and maintain a blog on the available content management sites for free. Blogging is not a career that existed 10 years ago as content was owned and distributed by large media companies which made billions from the advertising revenue that was not widely distributed.
As the world changes, individuals can own and distribute content on their own, which gives them access to a piece of the advertising pie. Additionally, companies are now starting their own blogs in a bid to add value to their customers by providing them with information on their services and industry. They thus employ content managers to take care of their blogs by creating engaging content for users.
This was not something that your parents would have been able to do in their youth as they had to fight for the limited space on the available media companies, a tough task by any means.
- Digital strategist
We all know a person who seems to have so much time in their hands that all they do is post on social media. Well, it turns out they are not idlers. In fact, these are people who earn handsome fees just by being able to put up brand-related posts on their social media pages.
These are people we like to call influencers or bigwigs. Their work is to advertise different brands to their thousands of followers in return for handsome fees. They are what we now refer to as one-man advertising agencies. They also advise companies on how to harness the digital field for marketing and customer relations.
A digital strategist is now an integral part of any company’s digital team as the digital space has become very popular in recent times and organizations need to make use of it to reap maximum benefits. 10 years ago, if you wanted to get into the advertising industry, you only had the option of offline advertising, which was limiting. Digital marketing has now become mainstream and it is more than just social media so the demand for people who specialise in the whole digital marketing spectrum is on the rise.
- SEO specialist
As organizations try to be more visible online, there is a scramble for appearing on the top pages of search engines’ result pages. This is important because every company wants to be the go-to place for search queries relating to its field.
Meanwhile, Google algorithms have gotten more strict and smart, ensuring that consumers get maximum value for their time. The result is a healthy competition for pages appearing on page one of search engines.
This is where SEO specialists come in. Basically, they help organizations improve their websites through proper optimization of content so that they can get a spot on page one. They help companies to improve their chances of appearing on search engine result pages through best practice.
- Data specialist
Everything in business is driven by data. Data speaks volumes because numbers don’t lie. But, data is now available in different forms; structured, unstructured and semi structured.
Organizations now rely heavily on data to make important decisions and this means that they need to be able to read and interpret data in order to make informed decisions.
This is where data analysts come in. Their job is to read tonnes of data that is in any structure and give coherent information based on the data. They help organizations mine available data so as to remain competitive in the market.
- Cloud computing specialist
We are in 2016, the year where information is now more liberal and can be accessed from anywhere. But just how is this information stored such that you can access what is stored in your computer from anywhere, anytime?
Cloud computing is the science that makes this possible, by allowing you to store information on the internet and retrieve it from any location and on any device.
Cloud computing became popular in the early 2000s and the role of a cloud computing specialist is to interpret the mechanisms, technologies and devices used in cloud computing, for organizations to store data and access it remotely.
As remote management and virtual offices become the norm, cloud computing specialists will be on demand as data will need to be readily accessible from multiple locations and on demand.
- User experience designers
Everything is going digital but not many people know the technical aspects of placing and retrieving information online. That is where user experience designers (UX) come in. their main job is to make the interaction between websites and their users is smooth.
They are responsible for creating user-friendly interfaces for websites so that even users with limited computing knowledge have a stress-free experience with websites. They analyse and improve websites to ensure that they are easy to access and navigate because like we all know, people have become impatient and unpleasant user experiences quickly drive people away from websites.
UX designers have especially become popular with the rise of ecommerce sites such as pigiame, where users want to quickly view and purchase items conveniently.
- Uber drivers
The revolutionary app that has created shockwaves in the taxi and public transport industry has created a job that did not exist last year in Kenya and 8 years ago in the world. Although the taxi business has existed for ages, it has mainly been a cartel-like industry with territories that are manned like private entities.
Enter Uber from the skies and virtually anyone who meets the threshold can become an Uber driver. So lucrative is the business that some people have converted their cars into Uber taxis and operate them over the weekends as side hustles. You definitely couldn’t be an Uber driver even 8 years ago, anywhere in the world.
Lights, camera, job! 10 years ago, you couldn’t become famous and employed by sharing video content. This was exclusively dominated by those who could get their content on television, a platform that was limited to a select few.
Now, with just a good camera and great content on virtually anything, you can create and share video content on the revolutionary Youtube channel or any other video sharing platform. So great is this new service, that individuals now own entire channels on Youtube, where they interact with their fans and make money out of it.
Seasoned youtubers now have companies paying for advertising space on their channels, making them employed and enabling organizations to reach their target audience with precision.
The next time someone asks you what you want to become when you grow up, you might just want to mention any of the above careers for a change. These are evolving careers that are bound to change and grow as the internet grows and demand for new skills emerges. These are not the tried and tested careers that have existed for centuries and this means that there are enormous growth opportunities for those who want something different and exciting.