You just told your parents you’ve accepted a new position as a Community Manager, and they immediately respond with: “You’re a what?!” Or, better yet, “When did you apply for a job at the community center down the street?”
Job titles in the digital age don’t always look or sound a lot like traditional positions. Community Managers are innovative marketers who bring a brand’s community together—and managing a community, online or off, is a critical piece of many fast-growing companies. But, well, if you haven’t looked for a job in a few years, you might be wondering how exactly that works.
If you’re job searching and mildly baffled by the options you’ve been presented with—or just wondering what exactly a Product Manager does—we’ve got your guide.
Social Media Marketer
With the booming world of social media, most organizations now have a specific person (or two or three) dedicated to creating buzz online. These Social Media Marketers manage their company’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest—but that doesn’t just mean playing online all day! They're also creating great content, executing contests and marketing campaigns, engaging with their users, and staying closely tuned-in to emerging trends in social media.
Sound like the job for you? You can jump-start your career as a Social Media Marketer while you're already in the marketing or communications function by asking to help out with specific social media sites. If you’re in college, a degree in marketing or communications, plus a solid internship that gives you hands-on social media experience, is a great path.
Also known as: Buzz Builder, Social Media Evangelist, Online Brand Ambassador
In decades past, companies had a storefront, a place for their customers to congregate. Now, most interactions with a brand happen online—but creating that sense of community among your customers or users is still just as important.
Enter the Community Manager, who focuses on creating and growing these communities, getting people involved with the company’s brand or cause, and building new relationships with consumers and stakeholders. Some people consider Community Managers the same as Social Media professionals, but this isn’t entirely true. Yes, a Community Manager can communicate through social media, but her responsibilities don’t end there—she’s also blogging and creating communications materials to reach her audience, planning and attending in-person events, and seeking out strategic partnerships.
That said, it’s not uncommon for Community Managers to start their careers in social media (or other online communications functions) before expanding into full-scale community management.
Also known as: Online Community Strategist
Community Manager, New York
With new apps, software, and technologies being developed at lightning speed, a Product Manager (or several) is a must-have for companies. At a high level, this is the person focused on launching a particular product or service into the market and overseeing its growth—everything from defining features and what order they’ll be built in to analyzing the product’s effect on the market to figuring out how to translate it into sales. In most companies, Product Managers also manage a team of people.
Generally, Product Managers come up through engineering or marketing functions, when they become interested in how a product gets from conception to launching in the market.
Also known as: Product Marketing Manager, Product Owner
Senior Product Manager, Mobile, San Francisco
User Experience (UX) Professional
In today’s market, customers have plenty of options—so if your product or service isn’t user-friendly, they’ll turn elsewhere. And that means it’s increasingly important for companies to create products that customers love to use.
This is the specialty of someone in User Experience, or “UX.” A UX professional essentially creates the “experience” for the customer, ensuring that a product or service is easy to use and interact with, behaves intuitively, flows well, and has the right look and feel.
User experience is so vital these days that there are many specialized UX degree programs and certifications. If you didn’t go to school for UX, you can come up the ranks through front-end development or graphic design, which are both pieces of shaping the product “experience.”
Also known as: UX Designer, Information Architect, User Researcher, Interaction Designer
UX Designer, New York
Data Analytics Professional
Data is priceless: Numbers, metrics, stats, and data are how companies quantify their success and plot their next moves.
And to do so, companies enlist the help of data analytics professionals, who gather up all the company’s data—from online campaigns, traffic numbers, user interactions, customer trends, and more—as well as external numbers, then analyze it and turn it into useful metrics and reports that will help the company make decisions.
People who end up in this field come from all types of careers—engineering, market research, search marketing, statistics, mathematics, economics, and more. Because data analytics is all about using data to find solutions, people with an innate curiosity to problem solve will naturally fit well in the data analytics field.
Also known as: Web Analytics Analyst, Data Mining Analyst, Data Guru
Data Analyst, New York
As technology continues to change, so does the methodology surrounding software development. In recent years, there has been a mass movement from slow, deliberate engineering to rapid and agile development that gets products and services out the door quickly. One of the most popular new development methodologies is “Scrum." And a Scrum Master is exactly what it sounds like: someone who manages and facilitates Scrum within a development group, keeping the team on track and working within the Scrum framework.
Want your job title to be Master? People who end up in this role normally come from the engineering or project management ranks, and should also be great at keeping people and projects on track.
Also known as: No other titles apply. Master does it.
There are plenty of additional types of jobs in the ever-changing world of technology and new industries, but these are a few of the main new staples in today’s world. And if you’re planning on going in to any of these fields (or already are there)—you might want to shoot this link over to the ’rents for a quick read, before you have that “You’re a what?!” conversation.