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Communication sector - New Media (Digital Media and Social Media)

New Media is commonly used as a generic term to describe those products and services that in some shape or form involve digital technology e.g. the Internet, CD-Rom, WAP, DVD, 3D and virtual reality, digital TV, video games and more recently the ipod, ipad, iphone, smart and android phones, ebooks and kindles up to the latest ‘augmented reality’.

It encompasses "multimedia" (originally used to describe standalone media applications i.e. not online) as well as "hypermedia" (which emphasises interactivity, the ability to link from one form of content to another). Perhaps one of the most important themes in New Media is "convergence" - combining traditional media with computer and telecommunications technology. New Media lies at the crossroads of digital technology and traditional media like newspapers, radio and television.

New Media also sometimes refers to where the worlds of the Internet and advertising meet – about making the most effective use of the Internet to promote a business. Lots of similar jobs here to traditional advertising (account management etc) but with additional roles for people with technical understanding.

What skills are required?

Old and new media skills often overlap and combine into new and diverse skill sets. Often roles require not only a solid background in computer technologies but also in the older media styles that came before. Planning and project management are important transferable skills, along with creativity, curiosity, communication, team working and the ability to adapt to change. Skills required also depend on what the New Media is being used to do - whether to entertain, educate or promote a product or service.

Design Roles

Employers usually require a recognised qualification in design but also an understanding of how design is used in media. Designers need a firm grasp of both elements in order to know what is technically possible - HTML, JavaScript and Macromedia's Flash are important skills to acquire. Keep up with industry news and developments.

Editorial/Business Role

The key skills needed here are ideas, writing ability, basic editorial skills and an awareness of the potential of digital technology. For some areas e.g. New Media's role in advertising, sector specific skills are also important.

Technical Roles

These roles demand a solid understanding of the technical side of web and interactive media. An ideal skill set would include HTML and Java, plus other relevant programming languages and knowledge of the software development process. Those considering technical roles need to start assembling a portfolio.

  • Digital Media including non technical roles
  • Manchester Digital is a network of companies. An independent trade association for this thriving sector in the region.
  • Prolific North Digital media & tech companies. Search profiles to find companies with particular skills or expertise.

Social Media jobs and career opportunities

Closer to home – check out our Media Club and articles on the Blog.