A reader recently asked what specific skills should Digital Asset Management professionals have in order to be competitive in the job market today.
Previously, we have explored:
- Some of the things it takes to be a DAM professional
- The levels of DAM experience
- Where to find DAM jobs
- DAM pay
We can explore the skills the job market is commonly asking for now as well as other skills to consider (even if not yet realizing it).
Learn the Basics
I would encourage everyone to continue growing your knowledge and skills of how to work smarter with:
- Spreadsheets because they are a necessary evil. Live it, learn it and love it once you understand how to make data format and flow properly through the fine art of filtering, sorting, pivot tables, vlookups and using other formulas rather than creating basic, monolithic data entry tables with little purpose and lacking smart automation. Character validation for metadata is also possible here.
- Word processing because you can do more than write letters and resumes with it. Explore the awesome world of macros to empower you and text.
- Presentation software because you may need to give a few presentations and sometimes even make them for others. If you want your points understood by anyone, think more visual and less bullets. Since presenting is a well known fear which some considered worse than death, I recommend facing your fear (presentations, not death). Learn from the masters and practice presenting regularly.
- Collaborative software tools because it allows people to share information as group, discuss it and make decisions together. You might not be working in proximity with some people now or in the near future (such as people working remotely or even globally), but that does not mean you can not share ideas, discuss topics and decide as a group by referring to other people for their experiences, ideas, insights and perspectives.
Meet with real people (not just friends, co-workers and family). Not just online. Not just at parties or because there are drinks available. When you meet someone new who you want/need to continue the conversation with, connect with them online professionally and follow up on the conversation. This is called networking. Real relationships are a give and take (not just one way). Remove your blinders regularly and meet other people around you who may have different interests and perspectives. You may be surprised what you can continually learn by meeting other people. Relevant communication is key.
Whichever project management methodology you happen to study (Agile, PRINCE2, Waterfall), these are invaluable business skills to keep projects:
- on time
- on budget
- within specifications/scope
Learn the principles and key skills such as:
- Business analysis techniques
- Work breakdown structures
- Program sequencing techniques
- Risk management methods
A working knowledge of the following coding languages can be very helpful:
You can grow your skills further by learning the full LAMP stack.
Learn to create regularly
Everyone should practice an art of creating something regularly. It does not have to be fine art, but learn to:
- take photographs
- record sound
- shoot video
- create something on your own (or as a group) that can be shared
- digitize it if it is a physical creation
Learn to edit
Learn to edit so you can do something constructive with what you create. Learn to see how you can improve things by sharing it with others who will give you constructive feedback. Learn what can be done about issues before they are created (and sometimes how to fix them afterward). Improve your skills as you learn to edit various media which you may be managing at some point as DAM professional. You will literally see and hear the results.
- Text editing is a very useful skill. Sometimes it is easier to edit someone else’s text than your own.
- Photo editing is process like any other. You can start with editing and managing your family/friend/sports/pet photography as it grows over time. The key is to learn how to manage your photography for the long term (think years) beyond simply the week the images were captured. This can be the beginning of learning the process of digital asset management using photography assets (which have value to you) along with related metadata (so you can search for them easily) and understanding the efforts involved.
- Audio editing is as complex as you want to make it and is often layered. This skill also helps to fine tune your ears. You can read all about how I create a weekly audio podcast which accompanies this blog called Another DAM podcast
- Video editing is another set of skills to learn how to piece multiple types of components together with some continuity in order to tell a story.
Learn how to use metadata
- Learn what metadata to apply (take a look at some of the variety of metadata standards available)
- How to apply metadata (embedded vs. associated)
- Why apply metadata (to search and find assets based on common fields and values applied)
When it comes to managing whether an organization has the licenses and permissions necessary to legally use, reuse and re-purpose any digital asset acquired from external parties, this requires a dive into the field of rights management. While this is often a forgotten liability for many organizations, external vendors are pursuing copyright violations more than ever to recover their lost revenue through image recognition technology among other technologies. Having the skills to understand the rights, communicate the media needs, license media properly for usage and limit liability is a plus for any organization.
Stress does not automagically go away by itself. Learn to deal with stress in a health way. Do not attempt to work all 168 hours per week. The work will still be there if you go home. Avoid procrastination, but take short breaks as needed. Keep in mind that worrying about something does not resolve anything. Do something about it. Focus your energy on either communicating the specific issues with recommended solutions or resolving the issues after weighing the possible solutions.
Learn to manage your time and your tasks wisely by prioritizing. Learn how to prioritize anything. Time management can be applied to all aspects of your work and life, especially if you thrive on accomplishment. Keep in mind that tasks are not successfully completed without the necessary time to accomplish them.
What specific skills should Digital Asset Management professionals have today?