E-commerce careering

VodafoneThis series of posts about Ecommerce is brought to you in conjunction with Vodafone, who are currently recruiting a Head of Ecommerce, see Chinwag Jobs for more information.

Working in e-commerce is both challenging and stimulating. From a career that was an almost unheard of niche a decade ago, it has evolved into an expanding universe of work possibilities. There are almost as many different types of role as there are jobs around, each has its own challenges and skills requirements. Today's seasoned e-commerce professional is part geek, part business person, part designer and more besides.

2943502167_f61ed3cfdd_m.jpgWith the move from mortar to clicks and the emergence of mobile e-commerce (Nokia has also just invested $70M in Obopay), it is clear that there are increasing job opportunities in the space, despite the challenges in the economy faces. The skills required to stay ahead in the e-commerce space are broad, and still rapidly evolving. Hoping the skills that got you this far are going to enable you move on, or even stay where you are, is a risky strategy. Continual personal development is the name of the game.

E-commerce might be the newest sales channel on the block, but it there are already degree courses and Masters programs on offer, and have been for over a decade. The courses generally combine information technology and business skills, but a successful career in ecommerce requires more than just those. It is hard for academic courses to keep up with the evolving skills and techniques. New skills and techniques are evolving all the time, so being part of a community of fellow professionals is important for staying abreast of developments.

You'll need a dose of database management and systems design, with some understanding of economics. If you really want to push the boundaries, you might want to investigate behavioural economics and interaction design. An entrepreneurial outlook is also essential - being able to spot new opportunities ahead of the crowd will mark you out from the crowd.

Depending on the company, some business accounting and management skills, as well as an understanding of the legal and ethical issues associated with e-commerce will be needed as well. Boredom certainly isn't part of the package - E-commerce is real-time 24-7, and rarely static.

[Picture courtesy of James Nash (aka Cirrus)]