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The Growth of the Digital Industry

In the 13 years since Zebra People’s inception, the digital and creative industries have experienced a huge growth. Let’s use the humble iPod as an analogy, given that the very first version was also launched in 2001. The initial versions of the iPod were simple, slightly clunky, and pretty basic to use. In the last 13 years they’ve been developed, refined and diversified – much the same as the digital industry.


Alongside the rise of the Internet, employment in Europe in ICT based roles has grown by 2million since 2000[1] with many new and increasingly niche career paths being created in the process.

Where once there were simply developers, designers and writers, now there are Information Architects, Creative Technologists and SEO Specialists.

It hasn’t been an easy ride, the dotcom crash in 2001 lead to some of the new Internet-based companies going under, however this merely paused the flow of innovation, and slowly but surely the industry moved on, gaining momentum – especially so in the last few years. Between 2009 and 2012 the number of tech and digital companies incorporated in London grew by 76%.[2] Add to this the fact that the internet economy in the UK is growing at 10% a year and will account for 10% of GDP by 2016[3], with no signs of slowing down. A survey from O2 estimates that around 750,000 digitally skilled workers will be needed by 2017 to serve Britain’s ‘digital potential’.

As new technologies and services are being developed constantly –  recent innovations including a whole host of Wearable Technologies, Oculus’ Virtual Reality headsets or EE’s new 4G network – and organisations regularly updating the way they interact with customers, this is paving the way for a whole new generation of digital media careers.


Oculus VR headset

That’s why the new national curriculum will be coming into force this year, with the intention to get children as young as 5 computer-literate, and moving forward ideally interested in or able to code. That’s also why specialist courses like Hyper Island’s Digital Experience Design MA are so important. With such a huge influx of opportunities, all requiring more and more specific abilities, we need to make sure that there will be people with relevant qualifications ready to take them on, and we, as recruiters and employers, need to work out how best to recognise and nurture talent, something that the Zebra People team place a lot of importance on.

How do you think digital practitioners can best stay ahead of the game?




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