​“What is a Creative Technologist?” or, perhaps more aptly, “What the heck is a Creative Technologist?” is a question that has been asked for a few years now.

That many are still asking this question now is no surprise – there is still a fair amount of confusion about both the exact nature of Creative Technologists and long term relevancy of the role.

The confusion is highlighted by the differing perceptions of those discussing it: it was called a recent “fad” by Digiday in April 2013 but labelled a “hot job of the future” by TCG soon after, and all this despite being talked about at least as early as June 2010.

There however a few things that most people seem to agree on and one of those is that Creative Technologists are in demand right now.

So what exactly are they?

The basics

In fundamental terms, Creative Technologists are primarily technology-focussed individuals who either sit within or work closely with the creative team. Increasing integration and blurring of the lines between technology and creative means that a distinct and visible split between the two functions or departments can be a disadvantage, especially within agencies. Creative Technologists play a key role in helping to bridge the gap.

The details

Primarily a senior position – ranging from £60k to £100k and beyond – Creative Technologists need to be both strategists and innovators. The ability to ‘rabid prototype’, or quickly assemble working models (of apps, for example), is often required, and they must be at the very forefront of the latest technologies, able to experiment with new languages and platforms in order to bring creative ideas to life. But though Jack Marshall sees the word ‘Creative’ in the title as a little more than a rebrand – “a way to assert their [technologists] importance within the organization, perhaps” - the variation and scope of available roles tells a somewhat different story. Many Creative Technologists are required to not only assist the creative process but also to, as at Superflux, “come up with inspiring, pioneering ideas that break the mould”. Rachel Mercer - a successful Creative Technologist whose portfolio includes a number of prominent brands – gives similar weight to both her creative and technology skills, and lists website design as a key part of her work for Nike. Furthermore, Mark Avnet suggests that the scope extends even further than this, arguing that they must “understand the business of advertising, marketing, and branding, take a creative, strategic and people-centric view of how to connect people and brands.”

Could this help you?

Despite a modicum of cynicism these roles are undeniably hot property right now and there are plenty who could benefit from this knowledge. As our Creative Team Leader, Darren Furnee, points out, there are candidates with the relevant skills who aren’t aware that clients are looking for them, and clients who have are yet to realise what a Creative Technologist could bring to their team. Whatever your understanding of the role, there is no doubt that it’s also potentially one of the most interesting and exciting positions out there at the moment, with plenty of scope for innovation and creative input. If you’d like to find out more about the available roles or candidates you can contact Darren Fernee on 0207 432 6363 or darren.fernee@propellondon.com.