Technology is currently steering the compass of global development. The digital economy directly impacts every sector of the economy. And as a result of this influence in today’s world, Nigeria’s teeming young population is investing in diverse digital skills.
The government and private organisations have also made efforts to provide Nigerian youths with the necessary digital skills to keep up with the global technological revolution. In 2016, the Lagos State Government unveiled “Code Lagos”, a computer programming initiative to teach a million students to code by 2019. Unfortunately, the initiative is said to be ineffective.
During the pandemic, Microsoft Corp. helped over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories, including Nigerians, gain access to digital skills through its Global Skilling Initiative (GSI). GSI has engaged over 196,000 learners, according to Akin Banuso, Country Manager at Microsoft Nigeria.
Early this year, Ingressive For Good and HNG Internships announced the training of 50,000 African youths in design and software development, in line with her commitment to increasing their earning power. Cowrywise also set up a fund to train and place women in entry design roles in any of these three fields, Product design, graphic design, or brand identity design, to challenge gender inequality in the Nigerian design space. These are a few of the many initiatives to promote digital skills learning in Nigeria.
And, while there are many digital skills, some are more in demand due to the impact and value they provide. Some of these digital skills are discussed below in no particular order of importance.
Programming, Web and App Development
Computer programming is the process of instructing a computer to perform specific tasks by providing it with instructions written in special characters (codes) that can be processed by the computer but are often difficult for a layperson to understand.
According to Bolu Adedamola, a freelance software engineer who has worked for Boca consult and House of freedom, the duration of learning how to programme is determined by the individual’s level of interest. “I started coding for about three months before I started earning money. I have seen people who learned for six months before getting a job or earning money, but I haven’t seen anyone go beyond six months because if you do it for six to seven months and don’t get anything, you’re likely to abandon it,” he said.
He puts the range for starters earning at about N70,000-N100,000, junior role (N150,000), middle level (N300,000- N400,000), and senior level at about N500,000 and above.
Social Media Management
People frequently spend a lot of time on social media, which is advantageous for businesses that rely on it to thrive. Popular web-based social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become offices for several business owners and organizations. It is an efficient virtual portal through which they get across to customers.
Social media managers assist these businesses and organizations in managing their accounts, growing their online presence, and creating awareness, all of which contribute to business growth.
According to Kayode Odunayo, a social media manager at DMR studios, social media management is simply managing content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and others. It gets more complicated when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) (SEM).
Kayode believes that learning Social Media management does not require so much time. “You can begin by using WhatsApp. Then apply that experience to social media management. However, you must first understand the platform you wish to manage and how it operates. You can become a social media manager in as little as two to three weeks,” he stated.
An average social media manager can earn about N50,000, while a senior social media manager would earn at least N200,000.
Digital marketing is another essential skill needed in the digital economy. Services and products need to reach a wide audience, hence the need for digital marketing. It is simply the virtual version of marketing products or services to a specific audience that is likely to be interested in them.
The priority of a digital marketer is to help a company win new customers and sell additional products or services to existing ones. Digital marketing encompasses a variety of strategies like search engine optimization, content writing, etc.
Content writing is a type of strategic professional writing that focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract a specific audience. Because the internet is flooded with information, only valuable and relevant content will pique the interest of customers.
SEO is simply the process of improving a site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services through major commercial search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Fredrick Eghosa, an SEO expert in Lagos, Nigeria, who is also a freelancer and niche site builder who has grown sites from $0 to $100,000 MRR, feels digital marketing further entails understanding the world trend and making client advertisements suit it.
He stated that “you can learn to be an SEO expert in Lagos. It is only necessary to comprehend how it works, the target market, and the tools or strategies to be employed. Good content and search engine optimization are two strategies that help organizations gain visibility. A good strategy distinguishes one from the crowd.” When asked how much a digital marketer can earn, Fredrick stated that, as a freelancer or full-time employee, one can earn between N80,000 and N400,000. However, whereas a freelancer may earn that amount for a single project and may receive multiple projects in a month, a full-time worker’s income is fixed for the month.
Data Science and Data Analytics
A digital world entails a large amount of data. We have financial data, health data, and social data, to name a few. These data require professionals who can analyze, process, and push them to a beneficial conclusion.
Businesses, corporations, and organizations frequently require the services of a data analyst to make sense of these enigmatic and robust volumes of data for valuable research projects. Analysts use this data to help them find innovative solutions to business problems. Organizations and institutions can also make better decisions based on the information gathered. Artificial intelligence (AI), statistical tools, data mining, and machine learning are among the skills they employ.
“Because people don’t always understand the technical terms you use when analyzing data, you must present a report for each one. A presentation using Google Slides or PowerPoint pages is often used to make technical terms easy to understand and to highlight the key points of the analytics clearly,” Mobolaji Adebayo, a data analyst at Techcabal, explained.
Although the data field is still in its infancy in Nigeria, a junior data analyst earns between N80,000 and N150,000 per month, with senior data analysts earning between N250,000 and N500,000 monthly, depending on the size of the company. Mobolaji is confident that, like software engineering, the data field in Nigeria will grow over time.
Graphic design is the creation and application of visually appealing content to communicate specific messages to an audience. Design work frequently begins with a client’s request and is later transformed into a graphic representation by a graphic designer.
Graphic designers create flyers, banners, billboards, web pages, and magazine covers using design software and applications. Some of these applications include Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw Graphics Suite, Canva, Inkscape, Pixlr, etcetera.
Graphic design, according to Sobola Ibukun, a freelance graphic designer who has worked with Kachifo Limited, Chimamanda Adichie, and other notable clients, “entails blending your artistic impressions with your client’s business projections.”
When asked about the length of time it takes to learn graphic design, Ibukun explained that it is like a sinking hole or abyss, and you never stop digging for knowledge. “Once you learn something and become proficient at it, you want to learn something new, especially if you work with other creative people,” he said.
Ibukun believes that earning a living as a graphic designer is subjective. He emphasizes that a graphics designer’s earning power is determined by his negotiation power and exposure, both of which are determined by how much trust he has in what he does. “While some people earn N25000 per design, others earn N2 million, N5 million,” he said.
Daniel Afolabi, a graphic designer at Techpoint Africa shares Ibukun’s sentiments about earnings being subjective. However, he thinks a full-time graphic designer at a company should earn about N100,000 or more.
Video editing is the manipulation and arrangement of video shots to create something new. It is often considered part of the post-production process. It involves trimming, rearranging, applying effects, adding transitions, audio clips, etc.
Video editing has transcended content creation for films or advertising, as seen in traditional media, to short clips and comedy skits for social media and a lot more. The importance of video editing/production for companies and businesses stems from the fact that audiences/consumers are often drawn to visual content.
According to Damola Olubade, a Techpoint Africa creative director, video editor, cinematographer, and photographer, video editing entails a lot more than just playing videos on the track and doing some minor curves. He contends that the video editing process begins pre-production. “You shouldn’t start thinking about how you want the video to look after you’re done shooting. It should be before shoots,” he said.
Damola explains that while some people can learn video editing in two weeks or a month, or six months to a year for advanced learning, video editing is progressive, and there are always new things to learn.
He also explained that there is no industry standard earning or price when it comes to video editing and production. According to him, the price is determined by the type of project and the stage of completion. “There is a distinction between the fees charged for film production and those charged for commercial production. You could probably charge N3 million for the entire video editing process in movie production. And it could be more or less for an advertisement, depending on the project.”
“I have a friend who earned N70,000 at an entry-level for a fixed role but he has advanced into earning about N200,000. It would be higher for freelance work because he has the freedom to charge more than he does for contract-based full-time work,” Damola said.
Many platforms offer opportunities to learn the fundamentals of the aforementioned digital skills. Google, YouTube, Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn are some of the learning platforms mentioned by the professionals in this article. Some of these platforms provide free certifications after learning, while others require payment. It is also recommended that learners surround themselves with creative people in their field from whom they can learn.
Digital illustration is the use of digital tools and drawing software to create an illustration or a visual concept. The process is often done with a mouse and a computer or a graphics tablet. Most illustrators prefer to use a tablet as it allows more flexibility and mobility. Some software for illustration includes Procreate, Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW, and Corel Painter. Digital illustrations are typically used for storytelling, in films, video games, publishing, and advertising.
A digital illustrator can work in advertising, publishing, media and communications, fashion, medical and government organisations, etcetera.
According to Henry Ezeokeke, a freelance digital illustrator and cartoonist who has worked with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, digital illustration entails communicating visually what photographs cannot.
He also stated that it is not an easy skill to learn or pick up, unlike some of the skills listed in this article. “To learn digital illustration, you must have some drawing talent that you can hone over time. The length of time it takes to learn this skill is determined solely by the individual’s interest “Ezeokeke stated.
According to him, an illustrator’s salary is determined by several factors, including the person’s location, level of expertise, and clientele. He explained that illustration is a skill that is valued and in higher demand in countries other than Nigeria, where demand is low.
“When I first started as an illustrator in 2013, I charged N2,000-N3,000 per illustration, but in 2021, some Nigerians would call you to help with an illustration for N5,000. That is the creative industry’s challenge; people undervalue our work. A foreign customer can pay N25,000 per illustration. In 2014, I charged N18, 000 per illustration for the Red Cross organization I worked for,” he explained.
Salary explorer estimates that an illustrator with less than two years of experience can earn N120,000 on a full-time basis.
Written by Adekunle Agbetiloye