Working in Creative Tech- be inspired!

To whet your appetite for our Tech & Data Careers Day on 10th February, Susan Bird, Careers & Employability Manager, has pulled out the tips from our panel at last February’s event; to help you think about how your skills, experience and motivations, no matter what you are studying, could be relevant for a career in Creative Tech. Guest speakers shone a light on:

  • tech and data related careers in the creative industries


  • creative tech and data roles in organisations you may not associate with the creative industries

Here’s what they had to say:

Tom Bryant, Founder and Managing Director of Interference Pattern

An Astrophysics graduate, Tom works in animation and VFX (visual effects) making short films for entertainment and advertising. His organisation develops immersive experiences with computer graphics and does outsourcing work for other studios in the UK and EU. They do 2D and motion graphics for communications, film, TV, games, advertising, corporate communications, museum installations, immersive education and training. A lot of content is now produced with game engines. They also do theatrical productions but most studios tend to partner with audio specialists to do audio and sound design.

VR (virtual reality) training is a growth area, simulating dangerous or high-risk scenarios using visualisation graphics e.g. architectural, environmental, medical.

There are different routes in e.g: undergraduate degree in animation or VFX or postgraduate degree in animation or direct entry with no degree but self-taught online experience BUT you need time to learn skills for entry level positions. Staff at Interference come from a variety of routes and backgrounds. There is a lot of cross-over between tech and creative. Many roles are merging and will change even more in the next three to four years. Similar skills are needed in the animation and games sector.

Tom organised “Move Summit”, Scotland’s animation gathering (open to anyone). This event showcases the best work from throughout the industry, and offers a place for industry leaders, support agencies, practitioners, educators and students to gather and get inspired.

Ileana Florez, UX Designer, Amazon Development Centre

  • Ileana is an English Literature graduate, self-trained in design. Previously worked in fintech on the design of a magazine to engage stakeholders
  • Creative roles are not always obvious. Roles can include software developers, cognitive scientists, mathematicians, data scientists, designers, motion designers, product innovators
  • They have a team of music specialists who create and share playlists; based in London, Manchester and Edinburgh (including HR and Business)
  • They have a summer internship programme – designers, machine learning scientists, software developers. Also take in people who don’t have UX (user experience) background. People come from all backgrounds, many without UX experience
  • They use cognitive science and data science research to find out what customers are interested in and why. Stressed the importance of visual storytelling with your service or product
  • Always ask “what would the experience look like for our clients” then work backwards with planning milestones and measure the impact of what you are doing
  • More and more demands on data visualisation and data science so they are looking to see how they can work with creatives to improve the visualisations more e.g. to gamify or use VR

Caroline Parkinson, Sector Engagement Manager- Creative Industries, Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI)

  • Identified the importance of storytelling around your data
  • There will be a course in EFI programme with a storytelling strand, how to show insight from data, how to articulate to a client/policymaker/influencer/investor
  • Stressed the need to learn and develop skills around storytelling with data

Firas Khnaisser, Chair of Data & Marketing Association (DMAScotland and Head of Decisioning at Standard Life Aberdeen

Firas graduated with a BA in Advertising and Marketing

  • DMA campaign for creative industries in the UK and support people at all levels, students, graduates and experienced creatives. Run the Creative Data Lab and the Creative Data Academy
  • Provide opportunities to showcase your work to creative directors of agencies
  • Brands can be represented by sounds too, so sound design is an option
  • DMA awards include Breakthrough Talent Award where the University of Edinburgh has had a great track record
  • Take part in Move Summit – a network where students can connect with studios, CEOs and other creatives
  • DMA includes a directory of members

Other useful links

  • Data Driven Innovation – Creative Technology Sector pages includes information on Creative Tech at the University and how do creatives use data
  • Creative Informatics – a research and development programme based in Edinburgh, which aims to bring the city’s world-class creative industries and tech sector together, providing funding and development opportunities that enable creative individuals and organisations to explore how data can be used to drive ground-breaking new products, businesses and experiences
  • Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) – there are lots of free resources on the SMIA website including online workshops and seminars
  • Born to be Wide – a Community Interest Company and network platform for music business. The company also organises bespoke talks and workshops for other conferences, festivals and organisations

So… curious about Creative Tech, and how the blend of creative skills, data skills and tech skills add value across a range of industries? Then register for our Careers in Tech & Data Day. This event is for students from all subject areas who are interested in what a career in tech could mean for them – there are opportunities for all. 

Hopefully, this blog has helped you to think how your skills, experience and motivations, no matter what you are studying, could be relevant for a career in Creative Tech.

(Image credit: Fathromi Ramdlon on Pixabay)


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