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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What is your DAM title?


While seemingly more unimportant nowadays, business titles within an organization can sometimes explain a person’s functional role, authority, seniority and/or pay grade.

I have blogged about a variety of DAM titles used within the Digital Asset Management field, like Digital Asset Specialist (DAS), Digital Asset Management Manager (DAMMmmmm), DAM Director (DAMD), DAM VP or the title I have at this time… Digital Asset Manager.

I hosted a podcast where I interviewed someone who has a DAM title that will catch people’s attention.  Instead of calling himself Digital Asset Manager, he was creative enough to come up with Darth Lord of the DAM and includes this on his business card.

Better than some other business cards I have heard of.

It sounds better than DAM lord. That is similar to another movie I saw. And he likely prefers it his way. No helmet required.

If you work in the field of Digital Asset Management, what is your DAM title?


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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)


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Where can I find some DAM jobs?

Despite current economic times, Digital Asset Management (DAM) jobs are listed on a regular basis throughout the United States and the world. While many positions are clustered around major cities, there are often 100+ jobs listed at any one time. So the question is if you have relevant job experience (according to the individual job description) in the field of DAM, where do you look?

Here are several online job sites which display DAM jobs regularly:

As many DAM professionals know, metadata is important. Specifically, keywords.

Keywords which work well when searching within relevant job sites are:

  • “Digital Asset Management”
  • “metadata”

Keywords which do not work as well are:

  • “DAM” (unless you really are looking for jobs related to hydroelectricity or any other word with the letters “dam” in it)
  • “Asset Management” (often yields financial or real estate positions)

What if you do not have relevant job experience? If you are a college student, consider a DAM internship.

If you are a working DAM professional or between DAM jobs, consider seeking the skills of a talent scout or head hunter with experience in placing individuals with those technical skills. And experience.

It is not a secret that Digital Asset Management is a technical field, but the DAM users are not necessarily technical people. DAM professionals need to be able to ‘translate’ the complex blah blah blah into terms non-technical people do understand. As a Digital Asset Manager, I am a bridge between creative and technical groups. There is a lot of hands-on activity and training which involves plenty of hard work and, of course, metadata. Like many positions, this job is not for everyone. If you are job hunting, do yourself as well as the hiring managers a favor: Don’t apply if you are not qualified according to the job description.

Nowadays, many employers only accept digital copies of your resume and cover letter when applying. Human eyes may not even see your completed application unless it first passes filtering technologies. As with most resumes, Human Resources may read them in less than 30  seconds. Depending on a variety of factors, there may not be a line forming outside the door for DAM job applicants.

Many people may not understand what DAM professionals do for a living nor how digital asset management works. In order to get hired as a DAM professional, you need to know what this involves and be able to explain it to people clearly.

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

Where do you find DAM jobs?