Categorized | Job Hunting

Internet Careers Are Here to Stay

Posted on 21 November 2008

Don’t let gloomy talk of Internet fatigue fool you. Cyberspace is very much alive, thank you, and coalescing from its initial chaos into a more orderly—and essential—tool for global business, education, and entertainment. On the “new” Internet, flexibility rules and career possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Technology Skills Are in Constant Demand
Today, the twin catalysts fueling the Internet are content and commerce. Both are data-driven applications. The telecommunications industry is finding itself in the enviable position of being a conduit to the world’s emerging economic engine. The industry is racing to install advanced technology and create the necessary alliances to manage the explosion of data traveling through its systems. The sheer volume means skilled database administrators will be in constant demand.

Programming skills are becoming an increasingly important prerequisite for landing almost any technology-related position. Visual Basic, C/C++ and Java are appearing in want ads, even for positions that typically have not required them, such as:

  • Project managers
  • Business analysts
  • Training managers
  • Technical analysts

Software engineers face unprecedented challenges in developing user-friendly interfaces for the legions of marketing managers, financial officers, customers and other non-technical types who are demanding the capability to manipulate data on a daily basis. As any business leader will attest, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

No matter what your area of interest, chances are good that some aspect of it will eventually involve the Internet.

“Business is still somewhat uncomfortable with technology,” says Angela Malezciuk, owner of IT consulting firm, Zipperhedz Technologies Inc., in Ottawa, Canada. “We do find a greater understanding when we talk to technical people. However, that’s starting to change for the better.”

Artists Team with Tech Experts
For those with a creative streak, one of the more interesting partnerships to develop from the Internet is the teaming of professionals in creative fields with technology experts who adapt their vision for the Internet.

“The Internet is a tool like other media,” observes Sheila MacLeod, president of Internet marketing communications and public relations firm, Sheila MacLeod and Associates, also in Ottawa. A lifelong fascination with technology has helped her gain the respect of IT professionals while interpreting complex subject matter for a business audience.

“As a communicator, I am constantly walking the line between two camps,” she notes. “Both sides are relieved to deal with someone who understands their point of view.”

Those with artistic personalities, as well as scientific, are finding rewarding Internet careers in creative pursuits such as:

  • Film production
  • Advertising
  • Copywriting
  • Music
  • Photography

Although techniques developed by these teams eventually filter through to not-for-profit fields like education and medicine, they typically make their first appearance in the business world.

E-business on the Rise
The Internet has been something of a disappointment as an engine for profit, but that, contends Bruce Temkin, an analyst with Forrester Research, Internet research specialists in New York, is already improving.

His recent study of e-business trends differentiates between the current, but fading, environment of e-commerce and the rise of e-business. E-commerce is the sale of tangible products to consumers (business to consumer, or B2C). E-business is a broad category encompassing the multitude of relationships involved in business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

The hallmark of e-business is networks, both technical and personal. If you have 90 names on your chat list, you’re already a skilled networker. Temkin believes the current crop of 16- to 24-year-olds will excel at dealing with the intricate web of marketers, procurement specialists, manufacturers and distributors from around the world that will shape the character of economic activity in the coming years.

Internet, Telework Remove Obstacles
There has been considerable discussion about the “new” Internet becoming perhaps more rigid than the early days of the cowboy dot-coms. While a more formal aspect is undoubtedly emerging, it has by no means eliminated the freedoms envisioned by Internet pioneers and early entrepreneurs. For every Armani-clad negotiator heading into a boardroom, there are legions of teleworkers whose uniforms of jeans and bathrobes is unlikely to hotwire any fashion trends. Many are parents, who have found the flexibility of Internet-based occupations the ideal solution to the careers/children conundrum.

“With increasingly sophisticated security and more systems open to the Internet, telework is becoming a much more diverse work experience,” says Malezciuk. Her company provides telework opportunities for military spouses, whose frequent relocation previously proved an obstacle to sustained career development. “The key is to find something you enjoy doing and are good at.”

No matter what your area of interest, chances are good that some aspect of it will eventually involve the Internet. Rounding out your skillset to include creative, business and technological expertise will ensure you a place at the forefront of a globally competitive labor market.

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