Thursday, May 31, 2018

user experience designer/ programmatic advertiser

Jan. 3, 2018 "I want to be a user experience designer": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail:

Job: User experience (UX) designer

The role: While it was once common practice to read instruction manuals after purchasing any kind of technology product, it is now widely expected that such products are intuitive enough to operate right out of the box, no instructions necessary. It is up to a UX designer to make both hardware and software as easy to use as possible.

"A UX designer exists to analyze, reduce and optimize the gap that is experienced when a human interacts with a machine," said Ricardo Vazquez, a product designer for Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify and the lead UX instructor for Toronto-based coding school HackerYou. "The role of a UX designer is extremely important to ensure these interactions are as logical, seamless, intuitive and pleasing as possible."

Mr. Vazquez explains that UX designers study how humans interact with technologies ranging from smartphone applications to washing machines, and make informed decisions on how to optimize human-computer interactions.

"Designers are as much artists as they are strategy thinkers," he adds. "They focus on product growth while keeping humans at the centre of everything they do."

As a result, the role may include research, visual design, motion design, prototyping, writing code and product development, among other activities.

Salary: In a field that emphasizes experience over education, Mr. Vazquez says that salary is often determined by seniority. He adds that while junior UX designers typically earn $50,000 a senior designer can earn six figures.

"A second key factor is whether the employer is a startup or an established company," he said. "Startups in the tech industry often offer their employees a generous stock option plan in lieu of a higher salary." estimates that the average salary of a UX designer in Canada is $58,674, while Indeed pegs the national average at $79,296 per year.

Education: There are no mandatory educational programs, qualifications or licensing requirements for UX designers. In fact, Canadian colleges and universities only began training students for the role in the last few years.

While there are now postsecondary institutions offering training in user experience design there are also a variety of part-time or crash-course programs offered by organizations such as HackerYou, BrainStation, RED Academy and BitMaker. Such programs typically range from eight to 12 weeks, and can cost anywhere from $2,500 and $14,000.

"A postsecondary education in visual communication, media, art history, systems design engineering and the arts are common in individuals with this job title," adds Mr. Vazquez. "Regardless of the individual's education, all UX designers employ high degrees of empathy and observation; both skills that are nurtured through experience."

Job prospects: With the growth of Canada's technology in recent years, and with other industries increasingly incorporating technology into their products and services, job prospects for UX designers in Canada are strong and only expected to continue growing.

"Fields such as conversational design, voice interfaces and virtual reality did not exist in this capacity a mere five years ago," adds Mr. Vazquez. "It is a truly exciting time for UX designers."

Challenges: As technology continues to advance, however, Mr. Vazquez says that the role of a UX designer is becoming increasingly complex, and those who want to thrive in the industry must adapt quickly. "In order to ensure continued success in this field, an individual must have the constant desire to learn new methodologies, approaches and strategies in order to improve their craft," he said.

Why they do it: As a career that draws heavily on both technical and creative skill sets, UX designers enjoy a career that spans many disciplines and has significant real-world applications.

"Using empathy, observation and a human-centred approach, a UX designer's North Star is first and foremost to improve people's lives," said Mr. Vazquez. "The meaning of this work becomes apparent when one realizes that design is in everything we do, anything we touch and everything we experience."

Misconceptions: While many believe that the role is mostly technical Mr. Vazquez says that the job draws on a wide range of skill sets. More than a coder, he sees UX designers as advocates for users within the technology industry. "Creating human-centred experiences involves the energy and commitment of a wide range of disciplines," he said.

Feb. 7, 2018 "I want to be a programmatic advertiser": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail:

Job: Programmatic advertiser

The role: To strategically automate the buying and placement of digital ads, leveraging data to reach highly targeted audiences. The objective is to get the most out of every digital advertising dollar by only serving ads to specific audience segments.

"Say a bank wants to promote a credit card, and the bank knows which of its clients already have that card, they can create data sets that list which customers do or don't have the card," said Yuli Shumsky, the director of digital marketing for Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce.

"This is all done in a programmatic platform of some sort, which could be Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook or one of the many that are out there."

Junior programmatic advertising roles typically involve a lot of "grunt work," he said, including data entry and paperwork. As they gain more experience, programmatic advertisers typically see their roles expand to include strategy, sales, client relations and employee management.

Salary: As a field that puts significant value on job experience, salaries in the industry tend to start relatively low, but can grow quickly. An entry-level programmatic co-ordinator typically earns between $30,000 and $45,000 a year, according to Mr. Shumsky, adding that junior employees are largely responsible for "jobs nobody else wants to do." From there, co-ordinators can be promoted to programmatic analysts, often earning between $45,000 and $60,000 annually.

"That's where you're actually starting to run campaigns and work on the platform more, you're starting to work on the strategy more, you're starting to work with data a lot more, and at that point you'd become a little more client-facing, doing customer service," he said.

"From there you can become a programmatic specialist, which is more in the decision-making sphere, rather than just execution."

Mr. Shumsky adds that specialists typically go a step beyond customer service, providing feedback and helping clients with decisions on how to best spend ad budgets. He said the average salary for programmatic advertising specialists is between $70,000 and $90,000 a year.

"If you lead a larger team, maybe you're looking at a bit over $90,000, but it'll likely be below $100,000," he said. "Then if you want to get into a managerial role, that's less platform buying and more overall strategy, driving the direction for clients and lines of business. Those roles earn anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000."

Mr. Shumsky added that while the ladder may be long employees typically reach the next rung within two to three years.

Education: As a relatively new field, educational opportunities are few and, in Mr. Shumsky's view, less beneficial than on-the-job experience. "School can show you a platform, but you will not actually run a meaningful campaign, because the school is not going to put $1-million into the platform just to show you how to run a campaign."

Instead, employers in the field put a greater value on diversity of experience, both within and beyond educational institutions. "If you have search engine [advertising] experience, that counts. If you have Facebook [advertising] experience, that counts. I would look at those things when hiring someone over their schooling," said Mr. Shumsky.

Job prospects: Job opportunities for programmatic advertisers in Canada are plentiful and only expected to grow. According to a study by Nielsen, almost half of Canadian digital advertisers are already buying more than half of their advertisements programmatically, and one third of Canadian advertisers intend to increase their programmatic advertising budgets in the coming year. "That's where the whole industry is going, so jobs will be increasing," said Mr. Shumsky.

Challenges: According to Mr. Shumsky, the most challenging period of a programmatic advertiser's career comes right at the beginning, which can come as a shock for those new to the industry. "You've got to be willing to get in and do the grunt work for not really high pay."

Why they do it: Programmatic advertisers enjoy being pioneers and innovators in a field that is widely believed to be the future of digital advertising.

Misconceptions: As a relatively new industry, Mr. Shumsky says there's still a lot of confusion about what programmatic advertising is. For example, some are of the impression that programmatic advertisers help create marketing content, when in fact their job is wholly focused on the buying of digital ad space.

May 23, 2018 "I want to be a data scientist": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail.  I can't copy and paste it.  However, I want to say:

Here is another job that has recently been invented in the last 10 yrs.  It's mostly in the technology field. 

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