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: