Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management


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What specific skills should Digital Asset Management professionals have today?

rights 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:

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.

Social skills

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.

Project Management

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

Coding Languages

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:

  • write
  • 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

Once you have created and edited digital files over time, you will want to search for these. Not just visually search because that does not scale over time. This often requires 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)

Rights Management

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 management

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.

Time Management

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?

Let us know when you are ready for consulting or assistance in finding Digital Asset Management professionals for your business.


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How is Another DAM podcast created?

Since September 2010, I regularly create Another DAM podcast and release it weekly. Most of these podcasts are interviews of Digital Asset Management (DAM) Professionals from anywhere in the world. Sometimes I will create an audio version of some of my most popular blog posts.

Equipment

If I am interviewing someone in person, I find a quiet room and use my smart phone to record the conversation. I find this to be the easiest method to record audio. Testing the audio with myself with the person I am interviewing, I can position the smart phone/microphone for the best results. Several podcasts have been recorded at conferences, hotels and offices very successfully using this method.

If I am doing an interview over the phone, I use Google Hangout or Skype to make the call. As a courtesy, I call the person I am interviewing directly whether they have a Skype account or they just use their phone. Using Callburner (PC) or WireTap Studio  Call Recorder (Apple) allows me to record both sides of the conversation directly from Skype. Of course, I tell the person I am interviewing when I am recording the audio conversation (many areas require this by law).

Audio Quality

Skype or Google Hangouts is best audio quality when using headphones with a microphone. Fair audio quality are with landline phones and the worst audio quality are mobile phones.

Editing

Using Audacity (PC/Apple) or Garageband (Apple), editing and formatting the audio file is relatively easy to learn and accomplish. If you don’t want to edit the audio yourself, there are a number of services you can send the audio for editing as long as you listen to the audio yourself first and then list exactly what you want the edited with time codes.

Who do I interview

I interview men and women involved in Digital Asset Management from all over the world. Yes, I look for new people to interview all the time. I do not interview DAM vendors since I am vendor neutral.

Scheduling an interview

Most often, I find the people to interview in the field based on my contacts and their contacts. Yes, networking helps a lot. I often send the person an email with the following information:

  • The intent of the podcast interview
  • A listing the questions I plan to ask them during the interview so they can ponder the questions ahead of time
  • A link to my earlier podcasts for them to review if they want to
  • My contact information

Since some of the people I interview work for an organization which may need a PR/media relations/communication person to give prior approval, I leave them time to do so. Once I find a person online or in person who agrees to be interviewed (and gets approval, if needed), it is a matter of finding a good time for both their schedule and mine. This often means dealing with different time zones (which can be an advantage sometimes). Most people prefer to schedule an interview during their weekday working hours.  I often try to schedule the interview early in the morning or in the late afternoon to not conflict with my schedule.

Time

Aside from finding the scheduled time to do the interview and the edit the audio, it takes me (after the initial learning curve) about one hour to record and edit a 5 to 15 minute podcast. This is why I send the audio to someone for editing at minimal cost and sparing my effort.

Approval after the interview

After the interview has occurred and audio has been edited (by myself) to the desired content, volume and format, I apply metadata to it. After editing, I send the person I interviewed a link to download and review the audio. I  give them the choice of either accepting the audio as I first edited it or tell me specifically what needs to be edits. Many approve of the audio as-is. Some go through several rounds of audio edits with me. Some re-record the podcast again. Occasionally, they edit the audio themselves and send me back another audio file with approval.

Release of the podcast

Once the podcast is approved in writing, I add it to a queue of podcasts to be released. I release a new podcast on Thursdays. When the podcast is released, it is aggregated to multiple channels. The release is also publicized on LinkedIn and Twitter among other locations.

Measure what you manage

In order to see what content works best, what are the most popular topics and measure what means of publicizing brings the most traffic, I watch analytics weekly and adjust accordingly.

Why I do not record video (yet)

I do not record video podcasts because I do not see the value of talking heads (including mine). Editing video takes much more time than audio alone. A finalized video is often a larger file size and takes longer to download. If I ever needed to record video (from Skype or even as a screencast), Vodburner is available among other tools.

Listening

You can find, stream, download and even subscribe to this podcast which can be heard on your computer or MP3 player.

The podcast is available here:

Why this is free

Well, it is a podcast. Who pays for podcasts today? Simple answer: no one.  Earlier, I covered why I do all this free of charge.

Enjoy Another DAM Podcast.