20200
P
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20100
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2070
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2050
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2040
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2020
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7

Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

“Communication proficiency must be taught in a digital product context to prepare students with relevant and desirable skills, regardless of job title.”
  • Front-end developer for Gannett
  • Digital marketing specialist for Texas Restaurant Association
  • Active channels specialist hiring software engineering interns at Google
  • Application developer for Accenture
  • Creative specialist at GoDaddy
  • Marketing automation consultant for cloud technology startup Motiv
  • Audio/visual content creator for a consultancy working on a Google product
  • Search-engine-optimization specialist for Internet marketing company TopHat
  • Inaugural engineering fellow at The Texas Tribune

These are just a few of the positions that have been secured over the past year by students from our digital media programs, both graduate and undergraduate, at Texas State University. Many of our more experienced alumni now work as digital editors, digital content managers, product managers, digital advertising creatives, and user-experience designers. Some have quickly advanced to executive leadership in digital and innovation roles.

Is your college’s media program preparing students for these jobs and future leadership positions? In 2020, media curricula will need to be overhauled to cater to the demand for these emerging roles and others that don’t even exist yet. That means preparing students for in-demand skills, not job titles.

These could be positions at innovative media organizations that are exploring a range of products for disseminating news and information to the public. These could also be positions at companies like HEB, a major grocery chain in Texas that’s developing a mobile app to support its curbside and delivery services. These could be jobs at technology companies, big or small, who need good communicators to navigate the critical intersection of ethics and technology culture.

Every company is trying to figure out how to become its own version of a technology company, and that means there are numerous competencies in high demand. Take a look at some of the common skills on a few descriptions across a range of job titles, and you’ll see what I mean: analyze data, track and report metrics, HTML/CSS and interactive programming languages, social marketing skills, experience with social media platforms, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, prototyping, user-centered design, multimedia editing, design thinking, understanding of the technology landscape…

But these descriptions often also require strong communication and leadership skills, collaboration and strategy, problem solving and the ability to learn — exactly what a student should be getting from a modern media degree.

This could seem like an overwhelming list of items to add to a media curriculum. A culture shift is necessary to move your program’s center of gravity toward product thinking and digital product management, in which these competencies integrate naturally. Communication proficiency must be taught in a digital product context to prepare students with relevant and desirable skills, regardless of job title. How will your curriculum address these trends in 2020?

Cindy Royal is a professor and director of the Media Innovation Lab at Texas State University.

  • Front-end developer for Gannett
  • Digital marketing specialist for Texas Restaurant Association
  • Active channels specialist hiring software engineering interns at Google
  • Application developer for Accenture
  • Creative specialist at GoDaddy
  • Marketing automation consultant for cloud technology startup Motiv
  • Audio/visual content creator for a consultancy working on a Google product
  • Search-engine-optimization specialist for Internet marketing company TopHat
  • Inaugural engineering fellow at The Texas Tribune

These are just a few of the positions that have been secured over the past year by students from our digital media programs, both graduate and undergraduate, at Texas State University. Many of our more experienced alumni now work as digital editors, digital content managers, product managers, digital advertising creatives, and user-experience designers. Some have quickly advanced to executive leadership in digital and innovation roles.

Is your college’s media program preparing students for these jobs and future leadership positions? In 2020, media curricula will need to be overhauled to cater to the demand for these emerging roles and others that don’t even exist yet. That means preparing students for in-demand skills, not job titles.

These could be positions at innovative media organizations that are exploring a range of products for disseminating news and information to the public. These could also be positions at companies like HEB, a major grocery chain in Texas that’s developing a mobile app to support its curbside and delivery services. These could be jobs at technology companies, big or small, who need good communicators to navigate the critical intersection of ethics and technology culture.

Every company is trying to figure out how to become its own version of a technology company, and that means there are numerous competencies in high demand. Take a look at some of the common skills on a few descriptions across a range of job titles, and you’ll see what I mean: analyze data, track and report metrics, HTML/CSS and interactive programming languages, social marketing skills, experience with social media platforms, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, prototyping, user-centered design, multimedia editing, design thinking, understanding of the technology landscape…

But these descriptions often also require strong communication and leadership skills, collaboration and strategy, problem solving and the ability to learn — exactly what a student should be getting from a modern media degree.

This could seem like an overwhelming list of items to add to a media curriculum. A culture shift is necessary to move your program’s center of gravity toward product thinking and digital product management, in which these competencies integrate naturally. Communication proficiency must be taught in a digital product context to prepare students with relevant and desirable skills, regardless of job title. How will your curriculum address these trends in 2020?

Cindy Royal is a professor and director of the Media Innovation Lab at Texas State University.

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