If working in digital publishing in New York City has taught me anything thus far, data and deadlines are your friends, and they both go hand in hand. Looking at campaign results or comparing data over time periods to find context for what you are looking for is so important. If your organization isn’t running on key takeaways from metrics, I’m worried how sustainable you’ll be in two years.
I also firmly believe that the more skills you know, the better off you’ll be. My surprise skill of 2011 went to learning CSS, which isn’t terribly difficult if you’re familiar with HTML. Just like spotting trends in data, you must also learn and spot patterns in code and use the same part of your brain. Of course, some creativity also comes into play, which helps to break up the monotony. Even if you’re not on the technical side of the business, it’s still important to understand the functionality of how digital content works. I feel many people give up because they feel out of their element.
When people feel overwhelmed with the challenge of learning to code, I compare furthering their skill sets to learning a foreign language in school. The best thing to really do is jump right in … I started many years ago by mimicking tutorials on HTMLGoodies.com and would create websites for myself and other people. I had no idea years later that it would become part of my own personal toolbox outside of personal interests and pride, but I’m glad it paid off.
Here’s to new skills in 2012.