Graduating Soon? Here are 3 Digital Careers on the rise in Alberta
By Lauren McMullen
It’s no secret that the tech industry is growing. With the future of Alberta's oil and gas industry in question, post-secondary graduates face the tough decision of what industries will provide them with a sustainable career. Luckily, Alberta has a variety of digital jobs that are currently on the rise.
(The data for this list has been curated from alis.alberta.ca, a career planning and employment information resource.)
Search Engine Optimization Specialist | Avg. Salary: $69,140 | Emerging Occupation
How often do you venture onto page two of Google? If your answer is “never,” you’re like most other internet users. In fact, over half of all website clicks go to the top five results on Google. Someone working in search engine optimization (SEO) is responsible for using paid and unpaid (organic) tactics to get a website ranked higher in search engine results. This is done through tools like metadata optimization, keyword analysis, internal/external linking strategies, and more.
If you’re someone who likes organization, marketing, and coding (even just a little), a job in SEO might be for you. Typical responsibilities can include performing audits on existing websites, consulting on the building of a new website, or contributing to the overall digital marketing strategy of a brand through tasks like paid advertisements and blog management.
Since this is an emerging occupation, it is difficult to find formal schooling in the topic. However, most SEO professionals have a background in marketing, communications, computer science, or other related disciplines.
Although many SEO professionals work for larger organizations (such as finance or software development), this occupation is also a great candidate for freelance work with so many small businesses launching their own websites.
If you’re interested in SEO and want to learn more about the subject, we recommend the podcast SEO 101 (on Apple Podcast and Spotify), or this beginner guide from Semrush.
Social Media Specialist | Avg. Salary: $69,165 | Emerging Occupation
“Social Media Specialist” can mean many things. More commonly, you might know this position as “Social Media Manager” or “Digital Marketer.” But what remains the same is that individuals who work in social media are often in charge of “creat[ing] and manag[ing] an organization’s public profile on social networking websites” (quote source).
Even though it may seem straightforward to work in social media (aren’t we all on social media 24/7 anyway), it takes a specialized set of skills in writing, audience targeting, and strategic thinking to be successful as a social media manager. In this role, you may be in charge of coordinating an organization’s activity on upwards of 5+ platforms. After all, social media management is about more than just posting content; it’s about having the skills needed to turn internet users into conversions.
You may be suited to work in social media if you enjoy fast-paced work and interacting with people—the field is ever-changing and a good portion of your day will likely be spent doing stakeholder management. However, you may also enjoy this work if you consider yourself creative yet analytical. It can be highly rewarding to watch your campaigns succeed and bring increased business to your client.
Freelancing and contract work is common in the field of social media, but if you want a job working with an established organization, you will likely need a four-year degree in a subject like marketing, communications, public relations, or business.
Interactive Media Programmer | Avg. Salary: $84,120 | High Demand
Interactive media programming is an occupation in high demand in Alberta. Currently, there are over 13,000 Albertans employed in this field. Unlike the other occupations discussed in this list, an interactive media programmer needs to have a working knowledge of coding, as they are in charge of developing animations and features for websites and applications.
Like most jobs in the technology industry, employees are expected to have sharp critical thinking skills and an appreciation for puzzle-solving. Because the tools and technologies used in programming rapidly change, you should also have skills in research so that you can stay on top of industry trends. Interactive media programmers work closely with teams that may include graphics designers, project managers, other programmers, and more.
Although it is easier than ever to learn coding through self-taught methods and through coding bootcamps, most employers are still looking for candidates who have at least 2 years of schooling in a subject related to information technology.