New job titles elicit a baffled look in the new economyThe Internet has not only changed the way we work but also the language of work, especially what we say we do for a living. Today we have Webmasters, knowledge managers, data miners -- job titles unheard of a decade ago. Soon we might be talking about Webifiers (who convert information into a form that can be displayed online), anonymizers (who mask identities for anonymous online surfing) and zero administrators (who make a system very simple to manage).
These terms are related to the IT industry, but the broader job market is not immune to the obfuscation of titles as new opportunities emerge, which often is propelled by the rush of new jobseekers, especially women, into the workforce. Here we meet a few women with titles that might elicit a “huh?” While these categorizations are indeed unfamiliar, rest assured none is a nerd, propeller head, or a zero.
Jo Moon-joo, 24.
Major: Electronics, Kyungwon College.
Employer: Gaeasoft Corp.
Emoticon designers make up emoticons, or emotion icons, using the characters, symbols and numbers found on a computer keyboard. Emoticons, which express moods in shorthand, are becoming more important as we become more reliant on e-mail and instant messaging services to communicate with loved ones or colleagues from afar.
Ms. Jo began designing emoticons as a hobby. She collected them from the Internet and used them in her own electronic communications. She found it interesting, but eventually had trouble finding new emoticons. That is when she started making her own. It was the first step to becoming an emoticon designer. As demand for new emoticons increased, she was able to turn her hobby into a full-time position.
Creating a new emoticon is exciting in the same way that writing a short story or a poem is, Ms. Jo says. But, she adds, constantly having to be creative can be taxing. She rarely has a chance to get together with friends or go out on dates ― even on holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day ― because she has to work.
So what makes a good emoticon designer? “Emoticon designers have to be open-minded to catch on quickly with the youth culture, and they should have the ability to express feelings with a unique sense of style,” she says.
Future prospects for the emoticon design field look promising, particularly with their popularity in SMS, or short message service, for mobile phones.
When SMS is expanded into MMS, or multimedia service, with future generations of mobile phones, demand for emoticon designers will grow, Ms. Jo says, as consumers will demand colorful, moving emoticons that incorporate sounds and images.
To become an emoticon designer, Ms. Jo says the first step is to enter ― and preferably win ― some emoticon design contests. Then she recommends applying in person to companies in the field.
Park Eun-hee, 23
Major: Applied fine arts, Soongeui Women’s College
Employer: Coffee Bean
A barrista is “a master of coffee making.” The term comes from Italy. A barrista should have knowledge of the various kinds of coffee.
Ms. Park started out working as a manager for a fast food restaurant. As Western coffee shops became more popular in Korea, she applied for a job at Coffee Bean. She participated in a three-week employee education program on the history of coffee, how to make coffee and how to manage a store.
Ms. Park says she most enjoys the positive feedback from customers. She says, however, that the job is not as elegant as the scent of coffee. Barristas have to stand on their feet all day, and are always pressed to show customers a bright face. A major problem is maintaining a consistent coffee taste, because the taste of a coffee depends on the weather and extract time.
Having a love of coffee and a sense of the importance of service are essential. Olfactory and palate sensitivity are irreplaceable.
The prospects for these brewmasters are good. The coffee market in Korea has blossomed since 1999 when Starbucks open its first shop in Seoul. The American coffee chain is expected to open more shops and the demand for barristas will increase, she says.
The easiest way to enter this field is to knock on the doors of the franchises. You can qualify as a barrista after two weeks of employee education. There are also outside courses, like Korea Barrista Training System (www.btskorea.co.kr), Dallmayr Coffee Academy (www.dallmayr.co.kr) and Mister Coffee (www.mrcoffee.co.kr).
Hwang Bo-hyun, 27
Major: Painting, Ewha Womans University.
Employer: La Fete Party & Flower
A flower arranger, or florist, is an artist whose medium is flowers. They decorate parties, events, shops, displays and buildings with bouquets and floral arrangements.
After Ms. Hwang attended a seminar by Kevin Lee, a well-known florist, she was selected to become Mr. Lee’s student. She was trained by Mr. Lee and worked with him at La Premiere, a New York City flower shop, for 18 months. With Mr. Lee’s support, she learned about the styling of high-class events, like movie premieres, a birthday party for the actor, Roger Moore of James Bond fame, and the wedding of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. She returned to Korea after the internship and launched her business, La Fete Party & Flower, with her sister.
The attraction of being a florist, Ms. Hwang says, is that your work is visible and the feedback is immediate. “On the other hand, it is not always elegant,” she says. “It requires physical strength. Florists have to walk all over markets to get flowers and materials for decoration, and they stay up all night for days before a big event.”
She says a love of flowers is essential to become a florist. An artistic sense and communication skills are also needed because florists have to design arrangements everybody can love, and work with various personalities.
“Future prospects for flower arranging are very promising,” she says. “Interest in flowers is increasing as the living standard improves in Korea. Flowers are not used just for special days anymore, but for daily decoration as well.”
Those who wish to become florists should get vocational training, Ms. Hwang says. Flower shops like Soho and Noho (www.shohandnoho.com), Helena Flower&Garden and Bangsik Florist School (www.bangsik.co.kr) offer courses in all aspects of the business.
Namgung Hee, 25
Major: Korean literature, Yonsei University
A namist makes new names ― for products, companies, Internet domains ― according to the characteristics of the target audience and market and analyzes rival companies.
Ms. Namgung became interested in this career after hearing about a name analysis of snacks in Korea while she was in college.
“Xenium,” which means a gift in Latin, won Ms. Namgung a prize at a naming contest. She later interned at Meta Branding Company after she finished a two-month course in a namist program at the same company.
Ms. Namgung says she enjoys an enthusiastic reaction to the names she creates. “This helps me get through the hard times of creating something new,” which, she says, is mentally painful. “Everything is in vain if the elaborate names cannot pass the rigorous trademark registration,” she says.
Ms. Namgung says namists should have creative talent in language. They should basically be able to read English, French, Latin and Spanish because each language has its own style and mood. A marketing sense and skills to persuade clients to accept the new brand name are also needed.
With brand names now recognized as a central asset, the brand-naming business is increasing in demand by about 20 percent every year. Companies often have contests for new brand names, but most of them cannot pass the legal hurdles. That is when they turn to a brand naming company.
Special academic preparation is not needed, nor is a certificate. Check brand naming company homepages. These firms do not employ namists on a regular basis, but on demand. Some of them are:
Meta Branding (www.metabranding.com), Brand Major (www.brandmajor.com), INFINITE (www.infinite.co.kr), Brand & Company (brandconsulting.co.kr).
Kim Hyun-kyung, 29
Major: Fiber art, Ewha Womans University.
Colorist analyze trends in color and design and how to express a brand’s concept through colors. They create color harmony. Fashion colorist match the color of each garment with a particular mood.
After working two years for an interior design company, Ms. Kim moved to the fashion industry. She prepared a portfolio of colors for clothes and was tested on matching colors with a brand image.
Ms. Kim says coming up with new colors is an attractive part of her job. She is thinking of colors for next spring and summer even though it is autumn. She says, however, that color is so subjective, catching people’s preference is very difficult. She says that to anticipate what people want, she visits places where people are making fashion choices, such as Apgujeong-dong and Hongdae. She also goes online to take in fashion news at Trend Union and First View Korea. She says in the end colorist depend mostly on their personal style.
A colorist basically must enjoy creating harmony and have a desire to be in a constant state of change . They should also be concerned with how they dress.
The future looks promising. Demand for colorist is increasing with as great an emphasis on design and color as quality in the purchase of goods.
The road to entering this career is a major in art and design. Technical school training is also adequate preparation. The Korea Color Research Institute (www.kcri.or.kr) offers a program, and Ewha Color Design Research Institute is a leader in the field. The Ministry of Labor will implement an official certificate test for colorist this year.
by Park Gong-ju