Over 40 and Thinking About Switching to a Career in Digital Media? It’s Easier Than You Think
Careers in digital media are often seen as the domain of the younger “born-with-a-cell phone-in-hand” millennial generation than older employees who may be considered less tech-savvy. However, a career in digital media isn’t out of reach for the older generation. In fact, it’s easier than you think. Here’s why.
You’re More Tech-Savvy Than You Think
If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s, you’re a part of Generation-X. Gen Xers are adaptable and have always embraced technology. As teens, long before the iPod and YouTube, you were listening to tunes on your Sony Walkman and watching music videos on MTV. You were the first generation to have access to a personal computer at home and one of the first to buy a Motorola MicroTAC cell phone.
Today, Xers still embrace technology and are just as digitally connected as their younger counterparts. Pew Research shows that 90% of Xers own a smartphone compared to 93% of millennials. From 2012 to 2019, social media use has remained steady among millennials, only increasing from 81% to 86%. Comparatively, the number of Xers using social media jumped from 64% in 2012 to 76% in 2019, only 10% percent behind millennials.
What all of this proves is that you’re more tech-savvy than you realize. You’ve lived through the information age that’s seen technology advance at a rapid rate and adapted to all of it. You’re active on social media, shop online, and swapped your satellite TV for streaming TV. Moving into a career in digital media will be easier than you think.
Your Previous Work Experience May Be Relevant
By age 40, you have two decades of work experience behind you. That’s experience that you can leverage.
If you worked in public relations, marketing, or advertising, you have valuable knowledge that can be transferred to the digital space. Digital marketing is all about how to market, advertise, and sell online.
If you’re a whiz at statistics, you’ll shine in a role that involves measuring and analyzing digital metrics. If you’re creative, designing web sites or visual content like illustrations, infographics or online ads may be right up your alley.
Identify your transferable skills and take it from there. Even soft skills like attention to detail and adaptability are relevant to jobs in digital media.
You Can Learn What You Don’t Know
If you work in a related field and are equipped with relevant skills, you can probably move into a digital media role without the need for further training. For example, if you work in communications, moving into a content writing role will be easy. If, however, your current job is unrelated to your newly desired job, you’ll need to do some studies.
As cliche as it sounds — you’re never too old to learn. Depending on the niche you want to focus on, perhaps you only need a short course to upskill. If you want to invest more heavily in a career in digital media, a bachelor’s degree in digital media will set you up with a range of skills that covers marketing, advertising, graphics, multimedia, web and app development, and UX and UI design.
When changing careers, don’t overlook your current employer. Discuss your goals with your boss. Your current employer may be open to charting a new path for you within the company and provide training to bridge the skills gap.
Choose a Role in Digital Media That Suits Your Skill Set
One of the best things about shifting into a career in digital media is the diversity of roles in this field. That’s what makes it accessible to people of all age groups. Once you’ve decided on the direction you want to go and upgraded your skills, start applying for digital media jobs that match your skill set.
Here’s a list of the types of digital media jobs that are in high demand.
- Strategy: Digital Marketing Specialist, Digital Media Analyst, Content Strategist, and SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) Specialist.
- Communications: Content Writer, Digital Journalist, and Social Media Manager.
- Creative: Video Editor, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Multimedia Artist, Animator, Video Game Designer, and Virtual Reality Developer.
- Technical: Web Designer, App Developer, User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UE) Designer, and Technical Support.
- Retail: eCommerce Marketing Specialist and eCommerce Analyst.
Digital media is a field that’s still evolving and the job prospects are growing along with it. A career in digital media can also be lucrative. Salaries are competitive and can range from $51,000 as a Digital Marketing Analyst to $72,000 for Multimedia Artists and Animators.
Changing careers in your 40’s is not unusual. It’s estimated that most people change careers 5-7 times during their life. When you started your career 20 years ago, jobs in digital media didn’t exist. You’re halfway through your working life, with 20 or more years ahead of you. That’s enough time to build and grow a new career. If you’re keen to get into digital media, now is the best time to make the move.