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Column: Want to break into the digital sector... but aren't sure how?

Several people working in the digital sector in Dublin share their impressions of the industry – and give some career advice to those wanting to pursue a path in that area.

Caitriona O'Neill and William Gallagher

Want to pursue a career in the digital sector, but not sure about what skills are needed? Twitter’s Managing Director in Ireland, Stephen McIntyre, talks about his experience of working for a social networking company – and asks others to share their experiences.

WHEN I JOINED Twitter in early 2012, our Dublin office consisted of eight desks (four of them empty), a self-assembled IKEA couch and a broken coffee machine. Today our European headquarters is in a beautiful new office in The Academy on Pearse Street, where we have more than a hundred staff and plans to double in the coming year.

There are more than fifteen functions in Dublin, including Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Legal, Public Policy, User Services, and HR. In order to catch a glimpse of life inside the Twitter machine, I asked five of our employees to share their thoughts.

“Knowing how to code is a fantastic skill to have – it opens many doors”

imageStan Massueras, Manager Advertising-Sales France

I am originally from the South of France and I moved to Dublin 10 years ago. Dublin is an incredible city and a great place to start your career. It has all the advantages of a European capital without all of the inconveniences. People are welcoming, it is multicultural, there is no need to commute for hours in the morning and it is a great place to live if you are a music lover.

I have a degree in Human-resources Management but now I regret that I did not learn how to code at some point during my education. Nowadays, knowing how to code is a fantastic skill to have and it opens many doors, especially if you can mix technical skills with great business acumen. I initially started my career in Ireland working in the IT industry and spent time working in Hewlett-Packard and Xerox before moving into Social-Media five years ago.

At Twitter, I manage a team of French Advertising experts and Sales-Consultants. We work closely with Media-agencies and advertisers in order to show them how to achieve their Marketing objectives with Twitter. We are based in Dublin but we travel frequently in order to meet with partners, advertisers and attend different events.

Online advertising is changing, and to work in this sector you need to have a deep understanding of the behaviour of your audience, to present the right message in front of the right people, in the right place, and at the right time. What worked today for an advertiser will probably not work next month. We need to understand what the new trends will be, so having a mix of creativity and analytical skills are needed to really succeed in this industry. This is a fascinating sector and I would recommend it to everyone to join us while this industry is still young.

“I had always worked in the public sector so it was a bit of a culture shock”

imageSinead McSweeney, Head of Public Policy EMEA

I’ve been working at Twitter Dublin since July 2012 which makes me one of the veterans in what is a rapidly growing office. Before I joined Twitter, I had always worked in the public sector so it was a bit of a culture shock not least because, for the first time, I was one of the oldest employees in the office rather than one of the youngest. I was drawn to the company because of its commitment to principles like freedom of expression and privacy and attracted by the incredible potential it offers to connect people with each other, with events and with other parts of the world.

My role covers all of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) which means I do quite a lot of travelling. That is not always as much fun as it sounds however I love learning about the different cultures, contexts and environments within which our service is used from country to country.

Public Policy is a fairly broad area covering many diverse issues. I can rarely predict on a Monday what my week will look like or what conversations I will have had by Friday. Ultimately my job is to be a voice for Twitter with governments, regulators and influencers to raise their awareness of what Twitter is and the values and policies which guide our platform and business.

My advice to people starting their chosen career is to think about the number of hours in the day and days in the year that you spend working. That is far too high a proportion of your life to spend being unhappy so if you find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be, don’t be afraid to take the steps to change your path.

“My day-to-day job is very diverse”

imageMaría Crespo Gil, International User Services Agent.

I am originally from Barcelona in Spain, after spending eight years in Madrid and Lisbon I moved to Dublin a year and a half ago. I studied Journalism in college and then got a job with a Spanish social networking company working to help their users, but I really wanted to work for an international platform so I relocated to Dublin.

I joined Twitter in June 2013, I work on the User Services team as an International Agent, primarily helping our Spanish users. My day-to-day job is very diverse, it ranges from helping users with a lot of different issues, if you can’t login in your account, I’m one of the people who will help you regain access. My team will also help you if you ever experience any difficulty with the platform like changing the profile image or sending DMs.

Twitter became my working home amazingly quickly, there is a really friendly and enthusiastic culture and a feeling that everyone is united behind the company’s goals. I think everyone comes to work with a unique attitude of “be the person you would like to work with”.  We are constantly encouraged to innovate, improve our skills, and gain new ones, while we create awesome things surrounded by the most talented, helpful and passionate people in the digital sector. It’s impossible to not be inspired here sometimes!

My main piece of advice to young people would be the advice I tell my friends “”We are young. We have the passion and the dreams. Never forget that!”

“Remember that many skills are transferable and can be developed – in any industry”

imageCaroline Bergin – Organisational Effectiveness & Learning Manager EMEA

I look after organisational effectiveness and learning for Twitter in Europe. My role is to help employees to be successful today and develop the capabilities we need as a company to be successful tomorrow. My day to day job involves working with managers and employees to build programs that help people to do their jobs today and develop key skills and competencies to advance their careers.

After 16 years in the Learning and Development world. my work challenges me to take a fresh look at how learning opportunities get built into everyone’s daily life. In this busy work environment people don’t always have the time or desire to take two days out to dedicate to learning one subject. Our goal is to make learning live, impactful and, like Twitter, focused on connecting with people in the moment.

I originally studied Psychology in college and then completed my BA in Industrial Relations and Human Resources and a post Graduate diploma in Training and Development part-time while working. I am also currently two out of four years through my Masters, which is actually in Psychotherapy. As you can see, I am passionate about adult learning and think Ireland is a great place to go back and study as a working adult.

The digital sector in Dublin is vibrant right now and offers many opportunities for people to develop careers in high growth, high tech organisations like Twitter. However, it’s important to remember that many skills are transferable and can be developed in any industry. My previous experience in financial services, IT services and not-for-profit organisations continues to be just as relevant to me today. Technical competency is always a requirement but personality and passion also matter.

To quote someone very smart, people want three things in their job. They want to learn, they want to make an impact and they want to work with great people. In Twitter we offer all three.

“I studied Communication and Marketing in college”

imageCedric Brunings, Account Executive, The Netherlands

When I was asked during my job interview why I wanted to switch from a job as a Sales Director at MTV to that of an Account Executive at Twitter, the answer was very simple: I wanted to be part of a young organisation with enormous potential that was changing people’s lives and how they interact with each other. I found this at Twitter. The fact that the company is still relatively small makes it very easy to make an impact and makes you feel part of something special.

Needless to say, many professionals look at the company in a similar way and have the ambition to work for this amazing company. My background in TV and my experience in advertising helped me prove that I could make a contribution.

I studied Communication and Marketing in college and although I am not working in that exact field my college degree definitely helped me in finding the right career path. It also helped me develop a set of skills to analyse and approach internal and external business issues. As an Account Executive for the Dutch Market I am responsible for finding advertisers in The Netherlands and show them how to hit their sales and marketing objectives using our service. We are based in the Dublin office but I travel to The Netherlands once every two months to visit my clients.

Having worked at Twitter for a little more than four months now, it is amazing to see how involved, energetic and creative everybody in this industry is. We are all contributing to growing our business in a way that makes us proud which gives us a great sense of purpose.

If you’d like to apply for a job in Twitter check out https://twitter.com/jobs/positions/ or follow @JoinTheFlockEU on Twitter to hear about new roles as they become available.

About the author:

Caitriona O'Neill and William Gallagher

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