Be Proud of Your Digital Age Upbringing

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Posted by The Editors on August 10, 2011

In a recent interview with a source for the upcoming version of the Careers in Entertainment and Sports Insider Guide, I heard something that will come as good news to many readers. My interviewee, the director of a graduate program in TV management, said now is a great time for students launching a career in the entertainment industry.

“The people at the top are looking for college and grad students who are digital natives—people whose earliest memories involved computers—or those close to it,” he said. “[They] have a literacy that these industries are trying to capitalize on in the digital domain. Students have never been in a better position.” This isn’t positive news for job seekers hoping to launch a career in entertainment and sports alone; it’s positive for young job candidates across all industries.

So if you’re reading this—and not in the form of a printout passed on by some youngster—know that hiring managers consider you either a digital native or a digital immigrant.

Digital natives, roughly labeled as being born after 1980, grew up with computers, video games, and the Internet. It’s easier for digital natives to learn new Web and computer functions; this type of learning simply comes naturally to them. I recall browsing Beanie Baby message boards on TY.com as an eight-year-old, getting kicked off only so that my sister could adjust the colors of her AOL profile. I believe that makes me a bona fide digital native.

Digital immigrants, those not born into the digital world but who have since adopted some or all aspects of new technology, need to work harder to understand web and computer functions but are willing and able to do so. They’re also likely to do the hiring, seeking out digital natives. 

"The demand is greater than the supply, so there is a big war for digital talent right now," says Jeff Tritt, a human resources executive at Leo Burnett, in a recent Wall Street Journal article. So next time your elders criticize your precious youth spent playing computer games, let them know that you’re a more valuable hire because of it.

Finally, those precious years of youth spent playing The Sims and World of Warcraft are paying off…

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