Digital Youth Q&A with Stephen Houston
Name: Stephen R Houston
Company/job title: QuizFortune / CEO & Chief Diversity Officer
Career journey & academic background:
Banbridge Academy – A-Levels: Economics; Computer Science; Maths
Queen’s University Belfast – B.A. Joint Hons: Business Administration & Computer Sciences
What excites you about working in the digital industry?
- It’s an in-demand [scalable] growth industry, global, not just regional – leading to better long-term salaries
- Being small [i.e. a startup] is acceptable
- Results can be seen / verified [often daily]
- Disruption is encouraged!
- We’re a sector of continuous improvement / change – there are so many options, I doubt you’ll ever get bored
- Skills are transferable
- Diversity in the background of people in this space, unlike [say] accounting or law – It’s not just for computer wizzes
- Offices are not offices anymore – yeah!
What advice would you give to young people interested in a career in digital in the future?
Say YES, to more things, now! Start building your NETWORK NOW [& then respect it]. Use your social media activity wisely – I can see you. Work harder than anyone else around you, but balance that with living [you’ll learn from that also]. Expose yourself to extra-curricular learning activities, both @ school & outside of school. Volunteer to get the experience you need. Read Bounce, by Matthew Syed, before you decide you’re no good @ something…
Choose subjects [initially] that you will perform best in. Once you’ve built up your base results – then select subjects that open doors in the industries / sectors that excite you most. @ some stage, nearly, everything will touch off digital – so knowledge of tech early on in your education / career will work to your best advantage. Additional subject matter can be learnt outside of school & still count to your exam results / C.V. [Work on that right now].
What opportunities do you believe there to be for future careers in the digital sector in NI/Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon area, and how can young people embrace these?
Some of Northern Ireland’s top 100 companies are based or trade in the ABC District – use / develop your network to get them involved or yourself exposed to them. Learning can be remote, I’ve listed some great examples. This is the best placed generation of students to meaningfully disrupt the academic journey through to jobs, via digital – setting the stage for digital engagement for everyone.
Supplementary sources of potential student interest:
- MOOC List | Massive Open Online Courses a complete list of free* online courses offered by the best universities and entities – www.mooc-list.com
- Harvard | Putting its photography classes online for free – www.konbini.com/us/inspiration/harvard-photography-classes-online-for-free
- Udemy | Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python – http://bit.ly/2lflkVx
- Business Insider 10 skills great to have on your résumé right now – http://read.bi/2f0S5iJ
- Khan Academy | Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, etc – www.khanacademy.org
- UK Space Agency – http://bit.ly/2kIqWqm