How to get a job in digital: Cardiff digital jobs market on the rise

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

March 6, 2013 | 5 min read

With government investment, a thriving digital hub and located just two hours away from the UK's London digital capital, the Cardiff digital job market is moving in a promising direction.

Cardiff Bay is at the centre of the city's digital buzz

In September, Cardiff became one of 10 cities in the UK to receive funding to become super-connected. The £11m pot will provide 100 per cent availability of ultrafast 1Gb broadband connections for business - essential for any city seeking to establish its digital credentials and attract investment.

With exciting development projects in the city - such as Porth Teigr, named as one of Europe's most significant waterfront development projects - and a range of services boosting the area, the Cardiff job scene is vibrant and close to the buzzing London digital media market, making it an attractive location for companies and creatives.

Sarah Morris, marketing manager at Cardiff-based digital agency Sequence, said: "What sets the Cardiff scene apart from the other major cities may well be the focus on work/life balance, probably because of our proximity to the beautiful and rugged landscape Wales offers – it’s inspiring.

"The Cardiff scene is absolutely thriving with regular Ignite events, book clubs, the introduction of the BIMA Thirst days in association with Sequence agency and Yard Digital - it looks like it’s just going to keep growing. The Porth Teigr development at Cardiff Bay promises to be an exciting digital hub."

The creative industries in Wales provide jobs for more than 30,000 people in over 4,200 companies. This accounts for £1.8bn annual turnover. At least one tenth of the UK's economic output comes from the digital sector, fuelling a race between regions to be at the forefront.

"There are a couple of developments in digital that are changing the digital jobs and workspace locally," Morris continued. "The first of which is the innovative incubation scheme that is run from Wales’s digital hub, Cardiff Bay. This initiative is backed by the Welsh government and offers a range of unique services to support local digital media businesses.

"The second development is the rise in popularity of companies like Indycube. This allows people working freelance – quite commonly in the digital arena to work alongside like-minded individuals – helping to foster the feeling of community and collaboration."

In 2012, the BBC opened a new drama village at Roath Lock in Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, to host productions such as Dr Who, Torchwood, Wizards vs Aliens and S4C's Pobol y Cwm. On the same site, Igloo investors and the Welsh government are developing a £6m centre to house creative start-ups and SMEs. Work has commenced and it is set to be open for business by the beginning of 2014. There is a commitment to developing digital Cardiff and, for any jobseeker, it's worth knowing where any of the city's skill weaknesses lie.

"Within the world of web design, people with really good front end skills, specialised design experience with key skills in CSS and HTML code is highly sought after," said Morris. "This is due to the nationwide problem of educational establishments teaching out dated software and techniques. There’s also a shortage of junior .Net developers."

The Welsh assembly has identified the digital and creative industries as one of six strategically important sectors of the economy and the first Digital Wales project - designed to support the development and infrastructure of the industry - was launched in December last year. With the buzz around the digital jobs market in the area, Morris says job hunters must get themselves in the thick of the action.

"Just as is the case nationally, it pays to illustrate your passion," she said. "If you are looking for work in digital then you have to know your stuff. Become part of the community, locally and nationally, on Twitter and other social media. You can learn masses online using free webinars, Creative Mornings or Happy Mondays, and lectures - try TEDx or Do Lectures. Since designers are so sought after it's also worth honing your web skills."

The Welsh government plans to use the development of the digital industry to improve public services, such as education, health and social care, indicating that the digital job market in Cardiff and wider Wales will provide far reaching opportunities in the coming years.

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