Information Communication Technologies & Digital Media Sector Team

As more and more aspects of our lives move online, the demand for web developers, audio/video technicians, camera operators, and other digital media positions is growing. A recent event organized by ICT-DM Regional Director Susanne Mata explored how community colleges can prepare students for careers in these fields.

Job growth is expected through 2024 in the following areas:

  • Web developers and digital interface designers
  • Audio and video technicians
  • Lighting technicians and media communications equipment workers
  • Graphic designers
  • Art directors

More than 75 people from across education and industry attended the Digital Media Industry Skills Panel on November 12. The event featured a discussion on careers in digital media and how the industry has changed due to COVID-19.

Dan Wantanabe, a cinema television instructor at Los Angeles Valley and Loyola Marymount University, moderated the panel. The panelists were:

  • Todd Taylor, Strategic Development Manager for Education, Adobe
  • Richard McKernan, Pro Audio Manager, AVID
  • Tony Papa, Director of Operations/Broadcast Media Systems, KVCR
  • Regina Wilson, Executive Director, California Black Media
  • Daniel Martinez, Designer, MediaMonks
  • Tom McCarthy, Executive Vice President, Post-Production Facilities, Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Bernard Weiser, President, Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentorship Alliance (EIPMA)

The panel discussed specific technical tools that students need to learn, like the Adobe Creative Suite and Pro Tools. However, the panelists also emphasized that skills like storytelling and collaboration are more important than knowing any one piece of software.

“I want to reiterate on that; as you start in your education, it is about storytelling,” McCarthy said. “It’s important that you know the fundamental skills that are required in what you’re trying to accomplish, but it’s also important that you understand the philosophy behind it.”

The entertainment industry looks different than many other workforce sectors because of its large union presence. Understanding the intricacies of these operations and how you fit into them is also important for people looking to enter the industry.                                             

“Soft skills and understanding professional workflows are so important,” Weiser said. “For example, with motion pictures, dealing with studio film or dealing with an independent television broadcast; their workflows all have differences to them.” 

Many people are interested in the media and the entertainment industry because they are not strong in math. The panelists emphasized that it’s impossible to avoid using numbers, particularly if you want to advance into a management position.

“I didn’t know how to do budgets, and then I got a $2 million grant. I didn’t want to pay somebody to do the job, so I learned,” Wilson said. “Students should take Accounting 101 to learn how to understand budgets. Also, learn about every level of the company.”

From YouTube to TikTok, there are more opportunities today to create content than ever before. Panelists encouraged faculty members to foster this sense of creativity in their students and encourage them to build their content portfolios throughout college.               

“Anything that involves creating content and the students doing that, is going to be helpful, because that’s going to lead to bigger and better things,” Weiser said. “Anything they can do to create content is really, really important. You never want to say that they can’t.”

Panelists also pointed out that spending more time creating content than consuming it will help students perfect their craft. “My feeling is the more structured practice they get in developing and sharing their own content [is more beneficial] than consuming others,” said Todd Taylor, Strategic Development Manager for Education at Adobe.

For more information about the event or to be connected to the panelists, contact Mata at . You can read the Digital Media Industry Skills Panel post-meeting minutes and information here.

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