Web Communications Adviser | Youth Central

Tim, late 20s

"Think outside the square – a career in ICT can take you anywhere you want to go. Find a company (or three) that you’d like to work for and go for it. You could work for pretty much any kind of company in any industry!"

Tim, what do you do?

I’m a Web Communications Adviser for the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE). My days vary from heading out to the Grampians to shoot video footage of brush-tailed rock wallabies for a YouTube clip, to advising internal clients on the best ways to promote their latest campaign through social media.

Where did your ICT career begin?

My background is in film and television, but I recently decided to study for my Masters of Multimedia at Swinburne University. This has tied in well with my previous degree in communications – I think I have timed things pretty well considering the massive take-up of Web 2.0.

Previously I was with Victoria Police, working as part of a small team responsible for implementing their new Victoria Police News site – this site broke away from the limitations of their corporate website and enabled a lot more public interaction. We also started up a YouTube and Facebook presence for the site, and ran a very successful Twitter campaign targeting drink drivers in Melbourne’s CBD.

I’m working on similar projects now at DSE, as well as looking at developing a digital strategy to map out our future online engagement initiatives.

Describe a good work day for you

A good day might involve launching a media release for a new initiative via traditional media, and at the same time publishing it online, announcing it via Twitter and releasing a video explaining the initiative. This would be followed up by some engaging discussion with our audience, generated from public comments about the video and feedback via Twitter.

What skills do you use in your role?

It’s important to have a good understanding of both traditional communications methods and tools as well as new and emerging ones. For me, having a combination of practical filmmaking experience, a sound understanding of communications and media, as well as a strong interest and developing skills in web technologies helped get me where I am.

Being able to offer a complementary skill set enables you to be flexible in your role, and also in the roles you apply for – you may find yourself suited to one kind of role, but having the skills and/or experience in another related field will make you an even better prospect to potential employers.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

The fact that every day is different – I can spend one day out in the Victorian bush filming native animals, and the next I can be involved in a whole-of-Victorian Government New Media Group meeting discussing the future of online engagement for Victorians.

A big part of this role is staying on top of all the latest trends in online communications – I need to make sure that we are ‘ahead of the game’, so to speak, because new technologies quickly become mainstream technologies. Just as an example, my current role with DSE didn’t exist 12 months ago, and as little as three years ago, the work I’m doing was found in only the most forward-thinking companies.

What piece of technology could you not live without?

I’d be pretty stuck without my iPhone – I like getting out on my mountain bike as much as possible, and I use my phone to check the weather beforehand, particularly in winter (and if my phone tells me it’s likely to rain, I have the perfect excuse to sleep in instead!).

Do you have a role model for your ICT career?

My Dad – he’s currently in Europe working for W3C (that is, the World Wide Web Consortium, which is an international community working together to develop global Web standards). He helped me to realise that this is the kind of role that can allow you to work from pretty much anywhere, for anyone.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in ICT?

Think outside the square – a career in ICT can take you anywhere you want to go. Find a company (or three) that you’d like to work for and go for it. You could work for pretty much any kind of company in any industry!

Finally, where do you see ICT taking you into the future?

Everywhere! I think we are slowly moving towards more people working from home more often, and as this becomes the norm, it will eventually be quite acceptable to log into work from anywhere – anyone for an endless summer? Or hopping from ski-field to ski-field?

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).