The Digital Media industry requires a complex set of talents. Because the industry merges science and technology with art and design, individuals working in digital media need to have a strong grasp of a variety of skills.
Digital Media includes everything from interactive design to digital entertainment and games to e-learning. It also includes digital film, animation and special effects, mobile applications and digital healthcare. All of these fields require both technical skills ('hard' skills) such as programming, design and animation; and nontechnical skills ('soft' skills) such as team building, goal setting and project management.
Given the industry’s unique nature, some of the necessary key skills are often overlooked. When the Master of Digital Media program was developed back in 2006, we worked closely with the digital media industry to identify skill gaps in the workforce and how the MDM program could fill these gaps.
The following 6 skills are key success factors for people entering the digital media workforce and necessary for people who want to advance their digital media careers. These are the skills that are taught in the Master of Digital Media as an approach to building, managing and leading digital media projects.
6 Skills You Need To Become a Digital Media Leader
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1. Design Process
Understanding the design process is important for everyone on a digital media team. Whether you’re the project manager, programmer or designer, it’s important to know concepts like pipeline creation, rapid prototyping and ideation. Understanding the entire process will allow you to manage your role on the team and empathize with your team members—crucial for a cohesive, effective team.
Being self-aware of your own work and role on a digital media project is essential. Knowing how to set your own goals, being able to self-reflect, and document your work means that you understand your strengths and weaknesses, and can play to your assets while working on improving areas where you’re not as strong.
3. Time Management
Time management is important for any industry, but especially one as fast-paced as digital media. Being able to scope a project, set measurable goals and follow a pipeline can be the difference between missing a deadline and shipping on time.
The ability to articulate your ideas—to your team, your bosses and your clients—is an incredibly important skill. The ability to pitch your ideas clearly and concisely, understanding good body language and the ability to express your ideas in both written and spoken form means that your ideas will be heard and respected.
5. Information Literacy
Understand the digital media landscape and thinking broadly in terms of where it is going is another key success factor. Knowing creative rights so that you’re not breaking copyright law, understanding where the industry and technology is headed and who your competition is—all of this will put you way above your peers.
Teamwork is the most important skill you can bring to the table in the digital media industry. Being able to listen to others, trust fellow team members, resolve conflicts, and manage roles and responsibilities is crucial to the success of any team project.