Demand for iMedia Skills Continues to Grow

You’ve probably started to notice the shift. #iMedia17 has shared details about projects, offered insight about class assignments, and now, students are preparing for the end of their 10-month graduate school journeys. With just a little more than two months left before graduation, the job search is on and the pace for life after iMedia will be soon be set for these budding professionals.

And there’s a lot to look forward to. A quick internet search sheds light on how much digital and creative skills are in demand in a wide range of industries. Look further and you’ll learn more about the benefits of working in digital careers, key skills needed and the most sought-after job titles.

With help from CNNMoney and Payscale, let’s take a peek at a few iMedia-friendly positions and the job outlook of each. In the Best Jobs in American 2017 list, these sources highlight the “top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” Here are 10 jobs from the list that are popular among iMedia graduates.

               JOB  MEDIAN PAY 10-YEAR JOB GROWTH
#1 – Mobile Applications Developer $97,100 19%
#14 – Webmaster $61,200 27%
#26 – Community Relations Manager $63,600 10%
#30 – Brand Manager $89,800 9%
#42 – Social Media Manager  $57,400 9%
#47 – Front End Developer/Engineer $81,000 27%
#56 – Videographer $49,600 12%
#57 – User Interface Designer $73,800  27%
#68 – Content Strategist $84,400 19%
#99 – User Experience Designer $85,900 13%

Visit CNNMoney for the complete list. For more about the Elon M.A. in Interactive Media program, visit elon.edu/imedia.

 

Advertisements

Sunny, with a Chance of Employment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the weather.  Last week, parts of New Hampshire acquired about two feet of snow.  Temperatures hovered around eight degrees.

My mom was pulling out battery operated lamps and preparing food for a power outage.  My dad was bundled in several layers of clothing with his “Nook of the North” hat nestled safely over his ears, pushing a 200-pound snow blower back and forth.  img_9984While my parents desperately tried to alleviate Mother Nature’s damage, I was hiking across a soft bed of pine needles with my foster dog, Raina, panting at the end of her leash.  Clad in only a tank top and shorts, I was enjoying the 78-degree day here in North Carolina.  The contrast of distance and weather felt like a direct correlation to the contrast of time and opportunity.  Although I joked with my parents about our vastly different agendas, it sparked a few realizations, some even deeper than the fluffy snowdrifts back home.

Last year, I was trudging through the inevitable end of my undergraduate career; I felt weighted by the pressure to succeed in the coming months.  I was scared that I had not yet reached my full potential as a student; I was terrified of being buried in debt and being left too far under to ever accomplish my dreams.

Although the thought of stuffing all of my belongings into my 16-year-old minivan was intimidating, the challenge to finish my education was one I thought was worth it, and one I was willing to accept.  Now, I recognize the stark difference that just a year can make.  When I made the move from New Hampshire to North Carolina, I not only left behind the unfriendly weather, I left behind uncertainty.  Now, my horizon is bright with more than just sun; it is bright with possibility.

Elon’s iMedia program has provided opportunities beyond belief.  I have discovered that I am stronger than I ever knew; my breaking point is now nearly impossible to reach (with a coffee in hand, of course).  img_9947
Through a few months of intense study of theory, user experience, content management, videography, web coding, graphic design, and photography, I have absorbed more knowledge than I did in four years.  I developed a passion for photography, and I met many like-minded individuals, developing friendships that I will continue to cherish many years from now.  I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to Reykjavík, Iceland, assisting Frumbjörg, a social innovation center, with the production of their first 24-Hour Innovation Day.  Two weeks later, I was able to help present the final project at Elon.

This semester, I will finish my journey by learning more about digital branding, multimedia storytelling, and media economics.  My capstone project provides me with the ability to unite my passion for canine rescue with the strengths I have developed in this program.  3w9a9920When I walk up to receive my diploma in May, I will have completed an entirely self-driven project that reflects both my technical skill and my ethical concerns.  I have grown beyond comparison, and I am still amazed that in just seven months, iMedia has provided me with such a powerful desire to immerse myself in this world.  I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me, but I think that it’s safe to say it is sunny, with a chance of employment.

iMedia fly-in: The trip not taken

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost

The road winded through the mountains, past colorful, tin-roofed houses crammed together along the sides. As the bus moved through the Linda Vista, the translator shared some of the community’s history.

The green field where children play soccer was once a landfill. Children used to say their parents were “divers” – a reference to salvaging items from the trash, not exploring the oceans in scuba gear. In many cases, the translator explained, the owners of the houses we passed by were squatters; they didn’t own the land beneath their humble homes.

This was the first introduction to a community where Fundación PIEDAD, one of the fly-in clients, operates a school, Escuela Linda Vista. It is not a place I would have seen had I traveled to Costa Rica on my own instead of for a fly-in as a member of Team Pura Vida ’17.

Looking back, much of what I enjoyed in Costa Rica were experiences I normally avoid when traveling.

cr_roach

I usually insist on eating out when I travel, although I try to favor locally owned restaurants over restaurant chains. I usually turn down offers to stay at someone’s home and eat a home-cooked meal. My view on this changed in Costa Rica.

The fly-in team ate two meals cooked by a local woman and her mother and served at their home. I enjoyed and appreciated the meals, but it wasn’t until I was back in North Carolina that the importance of that experience sank in. I can’t take full credit for the revelation. While talking with Amanda Jones (program manager for Team Inspire and Ice) about our respective fly-in experiences, she mentioned what it honor it was for my team to get to share a meal with someone in their home. I just take credit for recognizing the truth in what she said.

Had I traveled on my own, I would have chosen a different hotel, maybe one owned by a chain in different part of the city. But the first morning, I immediately took pictures of the mountain view from the window of my hotel room to share with friends and family. One of my favorite memories from the hotel is when I spent way too much time using broken Spanish and inadequate hand gestures trying to ask a woman who, I think, manages the business, if I could pet her dog. After she brought over two more people, and after several failures with Google translate, we reached a point of understanding. Petting the dog — a friendly Shar-Pei with a loud, gruff bark — made my day.

CR_flower.jpg

When I travel, I avoided walking for any substantial distance in unfamiliar places. The scenery around me is typically a blur from a car window instead of something I strolled (or huffed and puffed) through.

If left to my own trip-planning devices, I would have missed out on what felt like an authentic experience.

cr_landscape

In his poem The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost describes how someone feeling nostalgic and sentimental exaggerates about the importance of a mundane decision they once made. Maybe I’m already doing that now as I reflect on the fly-in to Costa Rica, which is already almost a month away in my rear view. Either way, I do know this: I enjoyed the trip overall. I felt I got a fairly authentic sense of the country in a short amount of time. Yes, it’s silly to feel a little sentimental about wiping away layers of volcanic ash from my phone and laptop screens, but not to remember the awe I felt while watching a seemingly endless landscape of mountain slopes and caverns pass by on one bus trip. I still smile at my grainy iPhone photos and remember marveling at the pink-mottled sky above the mountains at sunrise and at dusk.

The fly-in is yet another example of how iMedia has pushed me outside of my comfort zone. At numerous times, I have had to embrace change and the unknown.

Doing so has made all the difference.

Setting the Course for Capstone Success

We made it! We’re back from our incredible winter term flyins. If you missed our presentations, you can view the replay online here.

So what’s next? We’re a week into our spring and final semester of the iMedia program and we’ve got a lot to think about. We’ll be graduating in a few short months. Before that, we’ve got resumes to update and jobs to apply for. But that’s not all. We also have to conquer the capstone.

In lieu of a thesis, the iMedia program requires that students complete an individual capstone interactive media project accompanied by an explanatory paper. Students come up with their own capstone ideas in the realm of news, entertainment, informational services or strategic communications, and work to transform those ideas into fully functional presentations. Capstone projects are revealed to industry professionals, family and friends at a final exhibition prior to graduation at the end of the semester.

Some students knew what they wanted to do when they entered the program, some are refining ideas developed during our first semester in iMedia and others are still deciding which idea they will commit to. No matter where our passions lie, it’s become clear that setting the course to a successful capstone is a process.

Planning is an essential first step. Many of us will start this planning process by completing a project treatment that delves deeper into our approach to the project. The treatment evaluates purpose, methods to completing the project, technologies that will be utilized or required, and any roadblocks or concerns related to completing the project. Beyond the treatment, we will compare and contrast our projects with existing competitors. In addition, we will use tactics such as Design Sprints to test problems associated with design or other aspects of our projects. We also will consult with others outside of the program to serve as external reviewers of our work.

It’s true, we’ve got our work cut out for us, and this is just the beginning. But there’s no turning back. With just three months left in iMedia, the finish line is in sight.

An iMedia Way of Life

Just a few weeks in, it’s abundantly clear that graduate school is a process.

Monumental in itself, in many ways, the experience of Elon iMedia is comparable to some of life’s greatest milestones.

Consider this: by the time fall classes officially started at Elon on August 25, my classmates and I had already been birthed into this new world of interactive media.

Wide-eyed and eager, we spent our early days in an intensive, three-week digital boot camp. The crash course in photography and video production, coding and design swiftly set the pace and tone of this fully immersive program. Our initial development was measured by select creative projects, completed individually and as teams.

Elon iMedia's Class of 2016

Elon iMedia’s Class of 2016

Now, in our third week of classes, we forge ahead. Though still in our infancy in the program, our futures are starting to take shape. We’re getting a sense of the career paths we’ll take as we continue to develop our technical skills. Of course environment and support are critical in this stage. Lucky for us, we’re at Elon with resources and opportunities at every turn, from the amazing professors and staff in our department, to career services specific to our industry, and even social support with the tradition of College Coffee each week (yes, it’s awesome).

As we continue to grow, there will undoubtedly be challenges. Some we’re already beginning to see through research projects, learning programming languages or simply learning where our interests fit in.

But just as in life, there’s also a lot to look forward to. We’ll soon learn more about our fly-in projects for the winter term, we’ll continue to network with alums and other professionals who are doing amazing things in the industry and we’ll eventually showcase who we’ve become through creative capstone projects at the end of the program.

While our goals may evolve as we mature through the program, every component of iMedia is designed to give us exactly what we need to be successful. We’ve got many days and weeks ahead, but when it’s all said and done, I hope to one day look back, and say I lived my iMedia life to the fullest.

An Sneak Peak at the Spring Schedule

By Russell Varner, iMedia ’14

It is scary to think that we are already one-third of the way through the spring semester. Seriously, where did the time go?

Well, our time nowadays is taken up mostly by work either for class, our capstone projects or our personal portfolios. As you can imagine, it’s quite the busy time for everyone. Welcome to grad school, right?

Since I am not far enough in my capstone yet to share it, I thought I would give you a better idea of exactly what we are doing in our classes this semester. After taking more broad courses in the fall, Interactive Media is offering us more specialized courses in the spring. And as busy as we are, I am genuinely interested in and loving everything we are doing in these classes.

Media Management: Students are starting to learn about Google Analytics. At the end of the month, they will be taking a test to become Google Analytics-certified, which would look great on any resume.

Datamining and Visualization: Students are learning how to use Google Fusion to display data and are also beginning to brainstorm about our final projects. For these projects, students will have to display information in a variety ways including video, infographics and interactive websites. 

App Development: Students are currently learning about geolocation and how it applies to applications. Next up, they will learn about capturing videos and photos like on Instagram.

Public Opinion in New Media: Students here are going over media theories and new technologies and how they apply today – for example, how Facebook helped create a revolution in Tunisia. Students will also be writing a white paper on a topic of their choosing for this class.

SEO, Analytics and Social Media: Students are doing everything from learning the basics of search engine optimization and working with local companies to improve their SEO to keeping up with popular blogs on the subjects and writing blogs of our own. For a list of the blogs and links, click here.

Multimedia Story Telling: Students are taking a look at some of the more groundbreaking multimedia story pieces (such as The New York Times’ ‘Snow Fall’), learning how to use websites such as Zeega and Scroll Kit and planning their own multimedia story project for the class.

Wait, we have HOW many weeks left?

By Laura Smith, iMedia ’14

We had been hearing all first semester about how once we got back from our trips abroad, the weeks would fly by. Well, our professors and advisers weren’t kidding. I had the lucky opportunity to travel to Cuba with professor Randy Piland and seven other classmates for my January fly-in trip. Needless to say, it was an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. In addition to gathering content, interviewing, planning, taking photos and more in a real world setting, I learned a lot about the Cuban culture, government and its people. Not to mention it opened my eyes to just how good we have it here in the States.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 7.12.11 PM

Pre fly-in trip to Cuba!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January was a little bit like being back in my former career, except instead of working 7:30a.m. – 4:30p.m., it was more like 9-6. The three weeks we spent putting our fly-in projects together were probably the fastest three weeks of my life. We spent the days making videos, building a website, translating interviews, color correcting photos, planning the presentation, editing content and trying to keep our sanity. In the end, I was incredibly happy with our finished product and every group’s project looked great!

Presentation day!

Presentation day!

After a few days off over “Fake Break,” we came back to a whirlwind of “Your capstone starts NOW”, “Have you started the job search yet?”, “Read 100 pages of this book” and oh yeah, “Figure out where you want to live.” So yes, it’s been a little overwhelming. But as of this week, we have 13 weeks left in iMedia. Thirteen weeks. Doesn’t it feel like we just started? The next 3 months will undoubtedly be a little crazy but here it goes!