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The most recent buzz word around is digital, however, it is often used as a catch all term for almost anything that is related to computers. So, what is the scope of digital and where do different roles exist inside the landscape?

Generally speaking, I term digital to be anything that uses the wider Internet, however, that does not mean anything that is networked. So, simply accessing a file server is not using digital services, however, using a web application to access a file server is. 

Digital transformation revolves around the opening of services to the wider Internet.

Digital transformation revolves around the opening of services to the wider Internet. And almost anyone who operates in that space could be said to be using digital. However, most roles focus around one part of the digital stack, which could be suggested to go from Operating Systems and Hardware all the way to User (or device in the case of IoT applications).

The Stack

  1. Operating Systems (Hardware and Operating Systems configuration, infrastructure and clusters) - AWS, Azure, Openstack, Virtualisation (maybe clusters,
  2. Services (Setting up and configuring services, web servers, database servers, services, gateways) - Nginx, Docker, Apache, Postgresql, MySql, Tomcat, Solr, Elasticsearch
  3. Logic (Programming and logic or applications or API) - Javascript (Backend), PHP, C#, Java, Python, Go, Native Applications
  4. Presentation (Interface for users, including design and UI/UX elements) - UI, UX, digital design
  5. Marketing (Social media, websites and native apps) - Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketer

Digital Stack and Roles

Roles

  1. SysAdmin
  2. DevOps
  3. Back-end Developer
  4. Full Stack Developer
  5. Front-end Developer
  6. Marketing 
  7. Unicorn

What I am not saying is that if you only operate inside one of these roles that that make you any less digital. In fact, more than likely this will depend upon your specialism. Myself, I have operated in probably all of these positions over time. At the moment, I run between DevOps and management of a Backend team. Maybe that will change, maybe not. I have in the past been a Unicorn, maybe not the best at Marketing, but I have done it when required, especially inside startups.

...all of this stack goes together to make a digital experience.

It is important to remember that all of this stack goes together to make a digital experience. And almost none of it is possible without all of the segments covered to some extent. You can have the best Backend developers writing you Logic, but without Operating Systems, Services, Presentation and Marketing you are not going to be successful. Potentially some of this can be outsourced. So where you don't have budget, experience or requirements to run your own Operating Systems, you can get Infrastructure-as-a-Service (AWS, Azure, GCE). Or for Platform-as-a-Service try something like AWS Lambda or Platform.sh, or Application-as-a-Service (Wordpress.com, Squarespace or Wix).

So, go forth and digitize; make digital, or transform. The stack is waiting.