The world today is immensely different than the world of ten years ago. Ten years ago, the internet was abuzz with talk of “Web 2.0,” people were most concerned about setting their top-eight friends on Myspace and the world was just being introduced to the first iPhone.
Since then, the internet and all things digital have continued their rapid growth. That’s no surprise there, as you’re most likely reading this article from a mobile device. This new age of widespread interconnectivity and the accompanying business growth spurred by it is now being referred to as the digital economy. The digital economy encompasses all the services, products and businesses that lay within the web.
As more and more products are being sold online, the digital economy grows, and with it, new jobs are created to keep up with the volume and demand of services. These jobs did not exist ten years ago, but combine traditional fields such as business, sales, marketing, design, finance and management with up-and-coming technology and you’ve got today’s digital economy.
“E-commerce has changed the job market significantly because there is a huge demand for website development, website design, copywriting, digital marketing, paid online advertising and much more.” Cody Clifton, director of e-commerce at Wholesale Lanyards says. “Many of these jobs did not exist ten or fifteen years ago.”
Sound interesting? We rounded up some of the most in-demand and fastest-growing jobs created by the digital economy to help you explore your options and understand how traditional fields are changing to flourish in the digital economy.
8 Jobs formed and flourishing in the digital economy
1. Digital marketing specialists
The marketing industry has rapidly evolved to acclimate to the digital economy. Gone are the days of many print advertisements, and here are the days of online sales and digital downloads. Marketers are scurrying to keep up with the boom in e-commerce, creating a slew of roles to best target internet users. One of these roles is that of digital marketing specialists.
Digital marketing specialists work to create strong online marketing strategies; they want to attract and engage customers on their organization’s website, social media and other digital platforms. The sheer amount of data collected from internet users has allowed digital marketing professionals to create sophisticated messaging campaigns that reach very specific audiences, which makes digital marketing an exciting frontier for the entire marketing profession.
2. Data analyst
One of the biggest trends in the digital economy is the collection and processing of data. Jobs in data are experiencing very strong growth. Employment of market research analysts, for example, is projected to grow of 19 percent through 2024.
As a data analyst, you would be tasked with using both business and technology skills to collect and interpret data relevant to your organization. Data analysts are responsible for finding patterns and statistics that can help inform and improve your business’s internal and external operations decisions. For example, tracking weather and sales patterns to potentially find a correlation between cold weather and customer behavior, and then using that pattern to devise ways to boost sales. For instance, pushing a 10 percent off coupon on cold-weather days where people are less likely to make a purchase.
3. IoT solutions architect
IoT, or the Internet of Things, is one of the most up-and-coming trends in technology. The Internet of Things refers to a connected network of devices. This doesn’t just mean a network of computers, though; think of being able to lock the doors to your house with your phone or adjust the temperature of your refrigerator from a tablet.
The idea of devices communicating with each other isn’t new, but the digital economy—along with advancements in mobile connectivity and technology—has transitioned the IoT from science fiction to a viable reality. The Internet of Things is an innovation that will transcend the digital economy and affect almost every industry. IoT solutions architects are thus needed to coordinate this integration of technology with physical everyday items.
4. Social media manager
According to a study conducted by the Social Media Examiner, 96 percent of marketers surveyed said that they were using social media marketing. Ninety-two percent of marketers also said that social media was important to their businesses. With nearly two billion people on Facebook alone, social media is crucial to attracting consumers. As such, businesses are seeking professionals who can convey brand standards on social media while engaging with the audience through promotions, content and discussions.
5. User experience (UX) designer
This job has technically been around for a while in different capacities, but as businesses put more stock in their online presence, user experience has become increasingly relevant. User experience (UX) designers work to optimize the accessibility and usability of products and websites. In the digital economy, this means creating websites that are intuitive, streamlined and efficient.
UX designers help ensure the best possible user experience. A similar role is that of a user interface designer, which focuses more on the design aspect. Whether your interests lay more toward web development or more toward graphic design, both jobs are expected to grow faster than average, thanks to increased demand for web-related design work.
6. Inbound marketing specialist
Inbound marketing is one of the newest branches in the marketing family. Compared to traditional outbound marketing where brands and businesses push their message out to the public, inbound marketing is less obtrusive, less expensive and oftentimes more effective.
Inbound marketers are focused on answering the questions and concerns of customers at all stages of the sales process. Search engines like Google are what help enable this marketing niche—marketers seek out relevant questions and searches from consumers and create content that helps address those questions and searches. The goal of an inbound marketer is to present their employer as the go-to source of information for users searching for relevant terms. For instance, an inbound marketing specialist for a dog food manufacturer would likely create content to answer searches like, “What to look for in dog food nutrition.”
7. Information security analyst
Information security analysts are cyber security pros. They work with businesses to help protect their computer networks and systems and to step in when security breaches occur. How does this relate to the digital economy? With more data being stored online—think of credit card numbers and Social Security numbers—criminals are looking to breach systems and obtain sensitive data. Target, Home Depot and Sony are only a few examples of major corporations that have been hacked in recent years.
With an ever-expanding collection of valuable data flowing to and from businesses and the computer networks that support them, the need for information security analysts has steadily grown. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analyst employment is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016–2026.
While freelancing isn’t exactly a new concept, it has seen a massive boost due to changes brought on by the digital economy.
“The largest new category of jobs in the digital economy isn’t a job at all. It’s self-employment,” Robert McGuire, editor of Nation1099 says. “The growth of digital technologies have empowered the growth in freelancing, from cloud-based collaboration tools to online freelance job marketplaces.”
This freelance job marketplaces include apps and websites such as Fiverr, UpWork, Freelancer and even Craigslist. They let freelancers showcase their skills, attract clients and build flexible schedules. And while the term freelancer can encompass many professions—from skilled positions such as writing and design to manual labor—the overall trend of freelancers in the U.S. is growing exponentially. In fact, a study conducted in 2016 found that 35 percent of the total U.S. workforce were freelancers or independent contractors. This boom can mostly be attributed to the digital economy and improvements in technology. So no matter what your future profession is, you may still find your skills useful in the digital economy.
Stay in the know
The digital economy and all its components has changed the world drastically in the past ten years. While we may not be fortune tellers who can predict what will be in store in the next years to come, it is safe to say that jobs will be shifting and those who prepare for this shift now will be the most successful later on. Keeping up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the tech world is a start. For more tips on staying in the know during this changing climate, read our article, “4 Elements Crucial to Professional Success in a Digital Economy.”