ecoming a professional in today's day and age is easier than ever thanks to the many resources provided to us by the internet. Education has never been more accessible, online classes and degrees are commonplace. Shopping is as easy as typing in a URL, filling up a digital cart, and putting in a credit card number. Don't want to rock that suit and tie from 9 to 5? The internet provides us with business opportunities unlike any we have seen in human history. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, starting an online business is a great way to take advantage of the vast array of opportunities available online, whether it's creating and selling your own products or services, or building a website and monetizing it through advertising or affiliate marketing.
From becoming a content creator on a video-sharing website like Youtube or TikTok, to working online in remote writing positions or customer service, your options are practically limitless. There are plenty of items you will need for a professional career in the digital age, in this blog we will go over some of the most common items that overlap and prove useful between the most professional fields.
1. Get Connected with the Right Computer
If you want to work online professionally, the first thing you're going to need is a computer. The type of computer and specs of your computer will vary from field to field. Try to have an idea of what it is you want to do online and make sure you have some skills in that field first. Then decide what kind of computer you're going to need based on that information. Let’s go over a few examples. If you’re interested in learning the pros and cons of online freelance work you should take a look at this article.
If You're a Video Game Streamer/Content Creator
Videogames have been mainstream for quite some time now. As a result, creating content around video games and playing video games can prove to be a fun and lucrative business online. If you're looking to get into streaming games online you're going to need a computer on the more expensive side. Overall you're looking at a pretty heavy money and time investment with this career, but it is one that can be well worth it in the end, especially if you’re someone who already has a love and passion for video games.
For a solid streaming PC, you're looking at prices around the $1200 mark. As I said this is a bit on the pricey side but this investment will allow you to get a computer that can stream most modern games at 1080p with little to no issues. If you're looking to grow an audience while streaming, one of the best strategies is to stream the newest releases that have the most hype surrounding them. You can go higher or lower in the price depending on what games you’re planning to stream and their system requirements, but this price point is recommended for streaming the most games possible at a high-quality resolution.
If You're a Digital Animator
Animation can be another great career path for the digital age. We live in an age where some of the most powerful animation programs are available for consumer use. This means that anyone with the right knowledge, talent, and PC can create incredible animation from the privacy of their own homes, or at least without the use of a big-budget Hollywood team.
A great example of low-budget, personal animation work is the popular Youtube series The Backrooms Found Footage by the Youtuber Kane Pixels. The first video in the series is sitting at an astounding 39 million views, with the other parts of the series easily cracking the 1 million view mark. This kind of animation and special effects can be achieved with programs like Blender and Adobe After Effects. Both of which are available to anyone with a computer. If you’re curious about how these programs were used to make something like the Backrooms (Found Footage) this Youtube video by Šime Bugarija goes over a recreation step by step.
Computers capable of creating works like these aren't cheap, you're going to need a computer with a strong CPU, a powerful graphics card, and plenty of ram. Cgdirector.com goes over plenty of options for each component, all while explaining what each one does for you and why it’s important. If you’re curious about the building process or looking for parts to get your PC build started we recommend you check their page out.
2. Video and Image Editor
Another career that can make use of a powerful computer is that of a digital media editor. This line of work will have you using programs like After Effects and Photoshop. You’ll use After Effects for video editing and Photoshop for image editing. When it comes to video editing you can work for different online content creators on sites like YouTube and TikTok, editing their videos for a fee. When it comes to working with Photoshop, you can do things like making custom thumbnails for people as well as edit already existing photos for people on platforms like Twitter and Instagram to bring out the best in the image. You can also make and edit your own videos and images and market that content on whatever platform you see fit.
If you have an interest in digital marketing and have good communication skills, you could consider working for a digital marketing agency in the UK, where you can use your computer skills to create and manage marketing campaigns for various businesses and organizations.
Here is an example of a video editing software. The more things you add to the software the more demanding the program becomes on your computer. Image courtesy of Unsplash.
3. Mobile Devices
Here we are mostly looking at smartphones and tablets. You really don't have a need for gadgets like smartwatches and Google Glass in the professional world. A smartphone is useful for keeping track of deadlines and dates. It also allows you to make calls and send emails on the fly. Assuming you have a data plan you can even look up the information you need from practically anywhere. But let's be honest most of these things you likely already knew because you likely already own a smartphone, so let's move on to tablets.
The usefulness of a tablet will oftentimes come down to what kind of professional career you're seeking. If you’re working on something like mobile app development, having a powerful tablet will allow you to run app tests and troubleshoot while on the platform. If you’re a digital designer or artist a tablet can allow you to work on your digital art on the go and provide a platform that feels more like drawing on paper. Tablets can also make for more mobile screens than laptops so if you need to share information with a team, a tablet is often more powerful than a smartphone but also less bulky than a laptop.
Tablets have many uses-- both for business and for entertainment. Image courtesy of Unsplash.
4. A Camera
Every good online professional has a webcam. The webcam is used for Zoom or Skype-style calls for interviews and meetings. Having one that is good quality shows that you take your online appearance seriously.
If you're looking to work as a content creator, you may want to invest further in a professional camera. While it is true that your smartphone camera can work as a substitute if need be, the quality of a professional camera can’t really be matched by most smartphones.
5. A Microphone
Of course, you’ll also want to invest in a microphone and probably a tripod as well so you can position your camera in just the right spot for the perfect capture. There are plenty of high-quality microphone options available on the market but it’s best to pick a microphone that best fits the kind of content you’ll be creating. Some microphones are better suited for podcast-style content or content that involves minimum movement. This is also the kind of mic you’ll want if you plan on streaming/recording video games. Then there’s the kind of microphones that can clip onto clothes, these are often best used for skits and videos that have the participants being more active.
You can’t start a podcast without a great microphone! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Bonus: High-Speed Internet
This one may seem like a no-brainer but it’s probably the most important part of having a professional career online. If you work with people online as something like an online tutor, a customer service representative, or even a business executive, having your internet lag out is the last thing you want to have happen. The same goes for stutters and freezes. Nothing looks worse than entering a video call with your camera freeze-framing every 2 seconds and your audio cutting in and out.
This will also affect you as a content creator as well. Uploading videos can take a really long time if your internet isn’t good, and you may not be able to upload longer videos if your internet can’t maintain a stable connection. This issue carries over to streamers as well. It takes a strong internet connection to stream a game at a consistent bit rate to an audience, as well as preventing the stream from outright disconnecting because your internet hit a snag. The moral here is if you want to be a professional online, you can’t skimp on your internet package. The faster the better.
And there you have it, 5 things that are essential for starting your life as an online professional. There are still plenty of things that didn’t make this list that may prove useful to you in your online career, like a work desk, office chair, headphones, additional monitors, multiple hard drives to store completed projects, and many more that are more career specific. The items listed in this blog are the most common items that you are likely to get used out of regardless of your career path or items that you can’t work without. If you’re interested in learning more about working online or curious about the process of landing a remote job, feel free to take a look at this article.