Marketing agency CEO Jonathan Becker arrived at BCIT with a desire to gain real-world skills and a need to focus. It proved the launchpad for a thriving career in new media.
Many BCIT students arrive with a varied background, often including post-secondary qualifications and professional experience. What unites them is a drive to gain practical, in-demand skills to further their existing careers — or help them transition into something new.
Thrive Digital founder Jonathan Becker was no different. The former commercial real estate broker and event manager had a degree in political science and a resume that was, in his words, “disjointed at best.”
“I came to BCIT out of trying to solve the confusion that was in my life at the time,” he recalls. “My degree did not set me up for any particular direction and I had had a variety of different roles.“
A Swiss Army knife of skills
A BCIT info session opened Becker’s eyes to new possibilities. He saw a chance to gain technical skills in a region desperate for them, and an opportunity to build a rewarding career in which he already had an interest: new media.
“Suddenly I’m studying web development, graphic design… even animation and audio engineering,” he says of the one-year New Media Design and Web Development Certificate. “I gained this Swiss Army knife of skills that also became an incredible way of furthering my marketing background.”
The program also ignited in Becker an interest in search engine optimization (SEO) — the practice of editing a website to rank highly in web searches. This led him to found Thrive Digital shortly after graduating.
Getting ahead in advertising
With an impressive roster of clients across North America, including Uber, Wilson and Sotheby’s Realty, Thrive creates and manages online advertising campaigns.
Becker has a lot on his plate as founder and CEO, but he still uses the soft and hard skills he acquired at BCIT.
“Everyone teaching you is an expert,” says Becker of his BCIT experience. “They were very quick to say, ‘Okay, we have no time to waste. Let’s get to work.’ And the work was teaching us the craft.”
Now in a position to employ BCIT grads (“You know what you’re getting”), Becker also advises BCIT’s School of Business on their digital and new media programs.
He believes it’s vital that BCIT expand its facilities and develop programs to be able to fill the demand for talent in B.C.: “Tech is now the single-biggest industry in the province. We have to rely on the institutions within the province to continually train our workforce.
“I think BCIT is uniquely positioned to train people who want the jobs, but don’t know how to get there, and feed the companies that need skilled workers.”
As someone who arrived at BCIT searching for a career and found a career in search, he knows first-hand how BCIT can help uncover hidden talent. “I didn’t know what my potential was. BCIT helped me bring it to fruition.”
“BCIT gave me the ability to go out in the world and achieve success. For that, I am forever grateful.”
BCIT Alumnus, Broadcast & Media Communications ‘01
As technological, economic and social change accelerates, the BCIT campus must transform into a learning environment where solutions to our most urgent challenges are born, tested and readied for the world.