Back in the day when Xerox copies and file cabinets that formed rows and rows down office aisles were the best way to store important and sometimes sensitive administrative information, businesses, including city and government offices, found themselves with containers and containers of files housing all types of information pertinent to any manner of business. Increasingly, though, businesses and government offices found it impossible to effectively record and keep track of the mounting piles of boxes as populations have grown and more information has accumulated. Media also operated in the same way, where information, whether it was related to television, music, or film, was recorded on material and then warehoused to be retrieved at some later date. Enter the digital technology revolution. Digital technology has revolutionized information storage and retrieval to the point where popular careers that were once entry-level clerk positions in business, government, and media have evolved into ones that have turned digital.
Most business and government agencies have moved past storing records in boxes and microfiche to actually transferring files to digital formats, and the offshoot of this change is that there are numerous career opportunities. One example of this transformation is seen in the way that the digital age has transformed library science. If you were a student before the digital age, you remember the treasured card catalog in every library that contained all the information regarding the stack where a book could be found. Then, after writing down the call number, you searched the stacks for the book. For small libraries, a few stacks of catalogs would be fine, but in larger municipal libraries, these catalogs took up much valuable space. Libraries, though, have discovered the benefits of digital technology: the technology helps store a vast amount information in a very small space. By transferring information from hardcopy to digital formats, libraries save a lot of space and can retrieve information very simply for patrons and librarians alike. The types of information transferred to digital format in libraries include:
- Hard copies of books converted to e-books.
- Information placed on CD-ROMs.
- Articles, music, and other academic material that are stored on, and can be accessed from, library databases on the internet.
- Information regarding patron privileges, in addition to patron accounts.
For the modern librarian, knowing how to access information and impart that to patrons is central to their position, in addition to knowing how to convert hard-copy information to digital format. This career once only required a person to have knowledge of how to look up recorded information and have knowledge of imparting research skills. Today, within the curriculum, an emphasis has been placed on mastering database management in addition to these traditional skills. One program through the University of Southern California (USC) offers a library science degree online that focuses on this particular aspect of digital media management because of its import to the modern-day librarys method of storage and retrieval. This transformation is just one in a number of modifications that government agencies have undertaken.
Government offices are not the only places where one can find careers that now have become digital, as there are also a number of career opportunities in media and other sectors. Some of the most common career opportunities include:
- Digital publishing jobs, whose focus is on creating internet and multimedia materials and publications, which requires employees perform writing, editing, and layout design duties.
- Digital media specialist positions, which require the individual to use design skills and technology to create video games on websites, audio files, special effects, and animation.
- Digital editor positions, whose focus is on creating, editing, designing, and publishing web content.
- Digital strategist positions, whose focus is on identifying and analyzing problems with digital technology for businesses.
- Digital marketers in the fields of content, social media, search engine optimization, and mobile marketing. This field involves aspects of analyzing populations to target certain demographics for advertising purposes.
While these careers can be rooted in an interest that has become a hobby, all of these careers require some formal education at the secondary level.
For better or worse, the digital age is here. Every aspect of human life has evolved so that information storage and retrieval is fast, but more significantly, extremely convenient. As society progresses to a more digital world, having the knowledge to effectively manage digital technology, whether it is through business, government, or media, will be important to everyone in the workforce. Right now, though, the opportunity to work in positions requiring this knowledge is an ever-present reality.