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Blog about Digital Asset Management


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How much do Digital Asset Management professionals earn?

What to pay a Digital Asset Management (DAM) professional, especially a position your organization may not have had before, is a frequently asked question (FAQ). It is asked even more frequently as the DAM community continues to grow year over year. As a Digital Asset Management (DAM) professional myself,  the goal of this blog post is not to state what I earn per year nor start ‘salary fixing’ what it costs an organization to employ one or more DAM professionals. Instead, I would like to encourage everyone in the global DAM community to take the anonymous survey which is gathering this specific salary data.

Yes, there is a such a survey started by the DAM Foundation which is collecting salary data. The DAM Foundation’s Human Resources and Talent (HR & T) Committee is requesting more Digital Asset Management professionals to please take this survey so this data set can grow and everyone can get a better understanding of this growing market.

Job Market

There are quite a few jobs in the ‘Digital Asset Management’ job market and there will be even more coming soon. Interest in DAM is growing rapidly. This is shown by the increasing number of people attending DAM webinars and DAM conferences this year. Even more so by the number of organizations looking into, implementing and using DAM to their benefit.

Some DAM vendors pride themselves in the number of new clients they have. Some DAM vendors and consultants suggest specific roles to be established within an organization to support ongoing DAM initiatives and well after implementation.

New to many organizations

Digital Asset Management is new to many organizations. Since technology (the DAM system) is only part of the solution, it still needs people and processes as well. These specific people, processes and technology often do not yet exist within an organization or are not formally organized. When it comes to people, this is part of the job market that most people did not specifically go to school for nor did these jobs widely exist before. Fear, uncertainty and doubt often stall timelines and roadmaps for DAM implementations. Getting an experienced professional to help walk an organization through many of the common pain points of DAM is an option before you pick out a solution.

Supply and Demand

The number of experienced DAM professionals who are available in the job market may currently be low in many areas at the time of this blog post, but this number is increasing due to rising interest. Anyone hiring for such positions will find this out as soon as they filter to the experienced and qualified candidates.

Since there is a low supply and high demand for these experienced DAM professionals, guess what happens to the cost to the organization needing these professionals to manage their digital assets? It goes up.

Digital Experience Required

When it comes to education, I did speak with one person who has a Master in the Arts of Digital Asset Management (MADAM) named Romney Whitehead. While many of DAM professionals (including myself) do not have a degree in DAM,  Library nor Information Sciences, one option is look for graduates with a MLIS degree who have real digital experience. Organizing physical materials vs. managing digital collections are quite different, so keep this in mind when hiring. Note that most library schools and i-schools (i is for information) do not teach about the process nor the technology of DAM with a few exceptions, however some of the DAM fundamentals and categorization are better understood by MLIS graduates with experience organizing digital collections and use of metadata.

DAM is not just about photography. Knowing how to manage digital photography (after use of the camera) is a good start to DAM.

Staff or Contract

There is multitude of reasons for having either staff and/or contractors, however Digital Asset Management is not a temporary task. DAM is an ongoing task. Keep this in mind since the organization will need consistency in how digital assets are managed in order to find them again. Your organization is likely accumulating more and trying to manage more assets than ever before. Who will do this continually within your organization?

Having a DAM professional is a mutual commitment by the people and the organization.

Job descriptions vary based on many factors including the experience of candidate, the organization and their needs for the position.

Trust but verify

Since DAM professionals are new to many organizations, people often do not understand what they are supposed to do within their role once hired nor how they do it.

Digital assets have a value (known or perceived) to acquire them, create them and use these assets. The organization may need to search, find, use, reuse and re-purpose them legally and with ease to get the best ROI. How a DAM professional gets this work done may take some level of feedback and trust, but they should be able to produce reports with measurable results in meaningful numbers which can be verified. Professionals should be able to communicate who, what, where, when, why and how something is getting done with these assets, with enough relevant context and content for any audience.

Interview Questions

There is quite a few levels of experience when it comes to Digital Asset Management. If you want to discern between individuals who have similar DAM experience, a hiring manager could ask:

  • How many different DAM solutions have they worked on?
  • How many different organizations using DAM solutions have they worked with?
  • How long did they use the DAM and how often?
  • How many DAM solutions were successfully implemented and are still in use today?
  • How many users does the DAM solution serve?
  • How many assets are managed? What kind?
  • How do they measure ROI using DAM?

The answers will vary per person, but you will quickly find out how knowledgeable that person is in terms of Digital Asset Management. Now let us figure out how DAM professionals are valued.

Let us know when you are ready for some vendor neutral consulting on Digital Asset Management and if you need to find some talent for your DAM system.


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What are some DAM job descriptions?

“Mind readers wanted.”

This is first line from an actual Digital Asset Management (DAM) job description posted this year. More on that later.

Aside from asking where to post and find DAM jobs, several people are asking what are typical DAM job descriptions. After presenting this information during a DAM Conference, here are parts of actual DAM job descriptions and knowledge shared by several DAM professionals on the job market today.

This is part of the equation that involves people along with process and technology for DAM.

While some people may use Digital Asset Management (DAM) sometimes within an organization, there is an increase in the need for people who may work full-time on DAM within an organization. We’ll explore several of these positions so you can have an idea of what some organizations have for talent and resources for those who do this type of work.

Here is a part of a job description for a Digital Asset Manager:

  • Responsible for leading overall strategy, implementation and workflow of the Digital Asset Management system for [organization]
  • Acts as primary liaison between [organization] and various photo studios with regard to image names, new photography and archiving
  • Responsible for assigning appropriate metadata for assets to ensure accurate usage rights
  • Manages the Digital Asset system and facilitate the uploading of assets as well as maintaining and upgrading the system
  • Registers internal and external users to the Digital Asset Management system based on permissions
  • Facilitates retrieval of previously cataloged images/shoots
  • Processes raw images using the appropriate software
  • Archive assets as necessary
  • Generates asset download reports
  • Maintains accurate procedures and records for the system
  • Keeps informed of latest Digital Asset Management technology trends and innovations
  • Other duties as identified and assigned

What are we looking for when filling the human resources gap with people needed to help manage your organization’s digital assets?  There are no hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines. Any of these could be staff or contractual positions:

  • Administrator (DBA)
  • Archivist
    • With Digital, not just analog (print) experience
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
    • Either an internal, permanent staff for ongoing consultation OR an external (temporary), outside perspective looking in with a fresh viewpoint
    • Advisor, coach and/or functional role
  • Digital Asset Manager
    • Support DAM system and users
    • An industry expert in the field
  • DAM Specialist/Coordinator
    • Organize and upload assets
    • Metatag assets
  • Data Entry Specialist* (depending on volume)
  • Engineer/Developer/Programmer/Information Architect
  • Help Desk
  • Intern
    • Temporary position (more on this in a future blog post)
    • Willingness to:
      • Learn about DAM
      • Work on metadata and taxonomy
      • Upload assets
  • Librarian
    • With Digital, not just analog (print) experience
  • Metatagger (aka “Metator“)
  • Project Manager
  • Sales
  • Taxonomist

What we call the position (job title) is less important than what they actually do.

DAM professionals who communicate with management need to have an understanding of high level business needs and how DAM can meet those needs. Why? Because it is important to quantify:

  • Cost savings
  • Time savings
  • Reductions in risk (with knowledge of rights)

Yes, Digital Asset Management is a business need, not just a technology or another database.

If you are looking to hire a DAM professional, such as Digital Asset Manager, have potential candidates include their answers to the following questions as part of the job application:

  1. Have you worked with a Digital Asset Management System? Where? How long?
  2. How much experience do you have creating Metadata Schema?
  3. Do you have any training experience? What type?

That should help gauge the level of experience of most candidates.

Now about that “mind reader” job posting. Often, management and human resources do not know what DAM professionals are supposed to do (a bit difficult to write a job description that way), but they are slowly realizing there may be a need for Digital Asset Management and that is followed by realizing the need to fill a position with a DAM professional. That professional may be assigned (or volunteered) within the organization. The professional may be hired from the outside. Beside that, DAM professionals should use best practices and notice common behaviors when these practices are not followed. How?

  • Communicate
  • Evaluate
  • Recommend
  • Reference
  • Document
  • Estimate
  • Train
  • Plan
  • Budget
  • Deliver
  • Report
  • Anticipate
  • Follow up

That does not take any mind reading. I am not a mind reader. I am a Digital Asset Manager.

Besides, I forgot my mind reading hat at home.

What is your DAM job description?

Administrator
Business Analyst
Consultant
DAM Architect
DAM Director/DAM Manager/Digital Asset Manager
DAM Specialist/Coordinator
Digital Archivist/Librarian
Engineer/Developer/Programmer
Intern
Project Manager
Taxonomist/Metatagger (aka Metator)