Would you study to become an intranet manager?

Do you have a formal intranet management qualification? I am guessing not. Like many you probably made your way into intranet management indirectly. Perhaps you ‘fell’ into it? Or it was natural progression from your earlier roles. With the recent release of the UK GCSE and A’level results (well done btw to all of you who got rewarded for your efforts), today’s students will soon be looking to enter the workforce or continue their studies. How many students getting their results will want to go to be an intranet manager? What are we doing to engage the next generation of awesome intranet managers into our industry? Will there still be intranet manager roles in the next five to ten years?

Have you ever given career advice to a class? What did you say you did?

‘I manage the intranet?’.

‘What is the intranet?’

‘Great question Timmy, it’s like the internet, but inside a company and not as good’.

What did they think. I suspect as much as the media would like us to think the youth of today are all celebrity obsessed, tech savvy and taking whatever legal high is the new moral panic, most probably just want some guidance, direction and reassurance as they enter day by the day the ‘grown up’ world. Soon they will realise that most grown ups don’t know what we are doing either. But that’s ok. Hopefully they will realise that you just need to be a decent human being and get a job so you can afford the basics in life and the odd luxury.  For these kids intranet management is as good a role as any (ok so this list of jobs which will be obsolete should be avoided).

So how would you explain your work to a young adult looking for career advice? How would you recommend they get started? What are the key skills that don’t get taught in school which are vital to success?

Here are some thoughts on making the progression:

Chances are you won’t land an intranet management job straight off, but having some strong digital, online skills and understanding your organisation will help.

Understand the wider skills needed for managing intranets and align with your skill set. Intranet management requires a broad set of skills and few teams or intranet managers have them all. If you can support or offer something to your organisations intranet team, they will most likely welcome your input. So check out Clearbox consulting’s post on the roles needed within intranet teams – where do your strengths lie? Show an interest and engage with the intranet team and you might find opportunities opening up.

It’s also worth reading Brian Lamb’s overview of the Changing roles and skillset for Intranet managers. These are the core skills you will need, so work now on developing them and getting experience.

Also, check out Linkedin, find people who have roles which match your interests and look at their background and skill set. How can you gain similar experience. If you know them well enough, perhaps connect with them and consider approaching them for some basic mentoring. The best intranet managers are always happy to share and would be willing to help out someone just starting out.

If you’re a school leaver or student and you came across this blog, what do you think about the idea of managing intranets and digital workplaces. You get to help design, develop and implement digital tools to support people’s work. How awesome is that? Ok, so it pays less than a premier league footballer, but it’s an honest living.

About Dan Leonard

Based in the Netherlands, I've been working on intranets and digital workplaces for over 12 years. Mainly in financial services for Learning & Development, HR and Corporate Communication functions. I am interested in the skills required by Intranet Managers and Digital Workplace Leaders now and in the future.

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