Lewis Husbands works in digital marketing and he has some great advice for those entering technology fields.
Apart from finding excuses to travel to new countries in my spare time, I work in digital marketing as a digital advertising and project manager. I'd say I'm more of a generalist than specialist. I try to work across different aspects of digital. I've had to get to grips with data and more mathematical aspects, something that I wasn't very good at at A-Level.
I enjoy the variety of my work. One day I can be training staff on using social media to reach out to customers and the next I can be planning a digital campaign, everything from the messaging and imagery to analysing the data, audience groups and targeting as well as mapping out the customer journey.
I definitely have an entrepreneurial streak. I'd like to work in a start-up again, something that I did soon after University and found to be a great experience, or collaborate on a new project or initiative. I really enjoy working with people and teams that have different backgrounds and experiences.
Having a degree isn't the only way to get into digital. So much of what we do involves technology. For example people who are good at art often end up in designer roles helping to design websites, but also the best Social Media candidates have good design skills. Some are self-taught but are pros with Adobe Photoshop.
The other main areas to hone skills are technical and mathematical/data.
Getting started in any career these days is tough. The types of careers now are very different from even 10 years ago. If you really want to get into a career don't wait for someone to give you a job. Start doing it - create a website or social media profile to demonstrate your hobby/knowledge.
I think some of the experience and opportunities I gained from St James were invaluable. I moved from Scotland to Twickenham aged 16 and felt really welcome at St James. I was impressed that everyone knew each other. The headmaster knew your name and would speak to you in the corridor. But it wasn't just him: the teachers, pupils, administrative and kitchen staff.
I spend a lot of time problem solving so when you're concentrating really hard it can be easy to get distracted. I didn't embrace meditation at school or after but I did get into yoga years later and found that a good way to relax and found some parallels. I think for most teenagers you don't really appreciate school or everything that's going on around you but I enjoyed my time at St James and I really enjoy being part of the alumni community.
One other thing I learned at St James was about individuality. Companies aren't looking for personality-less pieces of clay. They are looking for interesting and passionate individuals. Businesses that want to invest in you will ask about your hobbies and want to see how seriously you take them. The idea is if you're an expert at one thing it's easier to become an expert at another. So if you used to play an instrument or sport or even a computer game remember what made you good at that or how you got to that level of proficiency. Lastly, stay humble. You might be great or be the boss but we're all still human. Staying grounded is important and I'm pretty sure this was Macbeth's downfall too if my A-Level memory serves me right.
Tim Boddy (1995) tells us what he has been doing since leaving St James.
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