Anything that helps a candidate searching for a job stand out in the HR department is worth looking into. There are very few jobs today that no longer require a foundational knowledge in how the back-end of websites and how the internet works in general. Marketing and advertising departments are spending more of their time and resources online; most companies have a website and a blog which needs to be first created and then managed; social media is no longer merely ‘social,’ but is also a huge market from which business can drive sales; app designers are in high demand, as are programmers and web developers. We could go on. One does not need a degree in any of these fields to be able to offer skills and know-how to both expanding young companies and established businesses desperate to keep up with the times.
We have outlined three significant areas of the tech and internet world which all applicants should have a working knowledge of.
Website Construction and Management
It is unlikely that you will be applying for a job that does not yet have a website, however, a basic knowledge of how one is set up (and subsequently managed) is vital. Most people would have heard of web hosting, top level domains and HTML code, yet this does not exactly mean that they are familiar with them. Better than simply reading about these terms, by setting up your own blog or website you will be taken through the various steps first hand: from domain registration, choosing a web host, and implementing a simple design. Sites like this allow you to try your hand at writing simple HTML code. One can go a step further in setting up an ecommerce site, coming into contact with payment gateways, APIs and SSL certification.
The high profile hacks over the last couple of years have provoked companies to take cyber security more seriously. Not only are large internationals now setting up departments solely to handle their security online, but cyber security experts are being given seats on managerial boards to hinder potential vulnerabilities. However, most risks come from the lapse habits of run-of-the-mill employees.
Wise up on the most common vulnerabilities such as weak passwords (you will likely need to re-evaluate what you believe a ‘strong’ password is); familiarise yourself with the terms DDoS, ‘brute force attack’, and Secure Hash Algorithm; understand the vulnerabilities of error messages. Also, it’s worth browsing a WHOIS Domain Lookup tool like the one run by 1&1, so to see what sensitive website administrative data is open to the public, and what is not.
There is a lot of money to be made in advertising online. Search Engine Advertising (SEA, also known as Paid Search) is taking up more and more space on Google Search Result Pages (SERPs). Almost all companies work with Google AdWords. There is plenty of resources provided by Google to give you a solid introduction to how this works, and why it is lucrative for all companies.
It is also worth investigating how banner ad space is bought and sold, how affiliate marketing works, and how social media can be used to drive sales. Handling a business social media account is no longer simply about scheduling tweets every now and then.
To conclude: get smart, get online, and get yourself a killer job.