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How I Became: Ryan Daniels, Managing Director, Hydra Creative

Ryan Daniels

Founded in 2009, Hydra Creative is a Sheffield-based digital agency set up by Ryan Daniels.

Hydra Creative specialises in bespoke digital solutions for businesses, working with clients such as women’s basketball club, Sheffield Hatters.

In 2020 at the Prolific North Tech Awards, the agency won the Tech for Good Award for its work creating the Beekind Tool for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Here, Daniels shares his career journey, tips and advice.


How did you first get into your industry?

I studied graphic design and my first job in the industry was at a computer games manufacturer in Manchester around 2002. Then I moved back to Sheffield, worked as a multimedia designer then for a 3D visualisation company before deciding to set up Hydra.

What do you love about your job?

It has to be the variety of both work and clients. Because we don’t tend to just take on projects that are the norm, we help people find digital solutions to all kinds of problems and efficiency requirements, so every day is different. One example is we’ve helped elderly care clients such as care homes with the processes used to make sure the services run properly – it’s very complex but worthwhile. As an industry they aren’t at the forefront of digital, and we can make a big difference in pushing them forward. I also love the drive of the people we work with, they are so passionate about what they do and it really shines through.

Who – or what – has inspired you in your career?

One of my brothers was a very talented 3D artist and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps.

What are the biggest challenges about your job?

I got into this industry because I was good at what I did, so learning the business side of things and dealing with different personalities has been the biggest learning curve. I didn’t study business so we’ve had to learn and adapt on the job along the way.

What skills have been the most crucial to you succeeding in your career so far?

I would actually say it’s the soft skills, so being able to listen and empathise so you can deliver results for clients. Technical skills you can learn but it is hard to teach people skills that build and maintain relationships.

What was your first salary and what could someone getting into the industry expect to earn nowadays?

It was about £13,000! The industry has changed a lot now and I’d expect you’d start at about £20,000 but it isn’t my area of expertise any longer.

What education or training would be most useful for someone looking to follow your career path?

Business training or development would definitely be useful.

What advice would you have for someone looking to follow your path?

Have a thick skin. Not everything is going to be easy and not everything is about going to glamorous parties. It’s a challenging industry but also very rewarding and you will work with some brilliant people.

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