Digital marketing is one of the most promising career paths to pursue these days. It’s a form of marketing that aims to promote or sell products and services through platforms like social media, email, mobile and web apps, websites, and search engines.

Modern-day digital marketing has quickly overtaken conventional forms of advertising.  The days of static billboards and newspaper ads are long gone. Now, the internet is  the most effective way to reach most target audiences.

If you’re looking for the best way to get hired as a digital marketer or make that next promotion on the marketing team, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most common paths to a thriving marketing career.

Types of Digital Marketing

There are 7 main forms of digital marketing that are popular today:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  3. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  4. Email Marketing
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Pay-per-Click Marketing
  7. Affiliate Marketing.

Because there are so many forms of digital marketing, many opt to specialize in a certain area. It can be very beneficial to specialize in one specific area because it allows you to focus your attention and become an expert.

Following is a list of popular job titles for digital marketers who specialize in a certain niche:

  1. Social Media Marketer
  2. SEO Specialist
  3. Content Marketing Manager
  4. Email Marketer
  5. Growth Hacker
  6. Inbound Marketer

A report by Glassdoor says that digital marketing compensation packages in the US range from $43,000 to $86,000 with an average salary of $67,230. The earning potential is even higher for Advertising Managers, Promotions Managers, and Marketing Managers; they reach an average salary of $127,560 per year according to the BLS report.

Schools for Digital Marketing

So now that you’ve learned a bit more about digital marketing, you’re probably wondering how to turn your social media or SEO prowess into a full-time job. There are three main ways you can learn the necessary skills.

• Bachelor’s degrees

• Master’s degrees

• Certificate programs

For formal bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, some of the handpicked courses are as follows:

  1. B.S. in Marketing with a focus on Digital and Integrated Marketing Communications, by Arizona State University
  2. B.S. in Interactive Marketing, by Northern Illinois
  3. A BBA Degree With a Digital Marketing Major, by University of Michigan at Dearborn
  4. B.S. in Internet Marketing, by Maryville University at St. Louis, Missouri
  5. B.S. Degree in New Media Marketing, by Rochester University
  6. M.S. in Digital Marketing and eCommerce, by Eastern Tennessee State University
  7. MBA program with a focus on Digital Marketing and eCommerce, by Santa Clara University, George Washington University
  8. Special Mini MBA program in Digital Marketing, by Rutgers University

There are many more colleges across the States that offer great full-term degrees in digital marketing and related fields. Details regarding the course structure and admission criteria will always be available on the university’s website.

If you choose to pursue a degree in digital marketing, you’ll be looking at a commitment of 2-4 years or more. You can expect a lot of group activities and projects. You’ll also be able to meet a lot of like minded people in your classes. Also, it’s common for marketing organizations to visit colleges to find future employees. So, you may have the opportunity to land a job with one of these organizations if you really prioritize your studies and people skills.

However, most of these courses are full-time classroom sessions, excluding the obvious changes with the pandemic. Even though these courses offer a degree when you graduate, they’re generally long-term and require a big financial commitment. There might be financial assistance available depending on your exam scores, but most of these courses can’t be pursued while you work full-time.

If you can’t afford to invest the time and money into full-time education, don’t worry! There are several certification programs available. Some of these programs are offered by universities, and some by experts in the field.

Some of the certification programs offered by universities are:

  1. Graduate Certificate in Social Media, the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This is an online course that deals with e-commerce, social media, and web analytics.
  2. Digital Marketing & Analytics Undergraduate Certificate by the University of Connecticut. This course focuses on digital marketing and analytics, as well as integrated marketing strategies.
  3. Georgetown University offers professional certificates in Digital and Social Media Marketing.
  4. Oregon State University at Portland offers a Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate.
  5. Certificates in Digital Marketing and Digital Marketing and Analytics are offered by the University of Washington.

Apart from university-led certifications, several skill-development websites offer well-structured, online, short-term courses. These can be either part-time or full-time and some offer lucrative financing options to fund your course, unlike conventional schools. These are great options for anyone looking to launch their career quickly.

Thinkful - We offer a skills-based curriculum and career coaching in our online digital marketing course. Our full-time program is an accelerated, intensive course that requires you to invest about 50-60 hours a week for six weeks. The part-time program is more flexible, with only 15-20 hours per week over the span of 3 months. In either course, you’ll get the exact same curriculum, expert instruction and personal mentorship.

And not only will you learn the skills, but you’ll learn how to create a solid resume and portfolio. On top of that, you’ll get guidance on how to apply for jobs and prep for interviews. And it works: many of our students end up at high-profile companies like Google, IBM, Amazon, and Boeing.

Coursera.org- Coursera offers numerous courses on various aspects of digital marketing and analytics, SEO optimization, social media marketing, digital advertising strategies, creative branding, etc. These courses are designed and led by instructors from reputable universities like UC-Davis, UIUC, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

General Assembly- General Assembly has multiple programs including a 10-week part-time course, a 4-week part-time course, or an accelerated 1-week program in digital marketing with a focus on social media advertising and Google Analytics. These are available in different US cities as well as online. The starting price is $950 and can go up to $4000 depending on the course.

Digital Creative Institute- For people who live in Texas, this institute offers a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship program. This is a full-time, in-person program. It requires you to invest 15 hours per week for 50 weeks. A college degree is mandatory for this course, and some experience in marketing is preferred. The course costs about $12,000 and can be paid back on 12 or 18-month payment plans.

This course focuses on all major areas of digital marketing and also touches on topics like web development and data analytics, which is an added advantage.

Brainstation- Brainstation offers several online programs in digital marketing and is based in New York City in the US, and Toronto or Vancouver in Canada. Their online program covers all of the basic concepts of digital marketing and is suited for a beginner-level candidate. The course is part-time with an investment of 3 hours per week for 10 weeks. It’s priced at $3150 and has flexible payment plans that range from 3,6 to 12 months. The same program is also available in-person for candidates from NYC.

Apart from online and offline bootcamps, coaching centers, or university education, you also have the option to teach yourself. You can find a lot of popular books on the subject on sites like Amazon.com, or in your local bookstore. There are also social media websites and platforms like Quora, Reddit, and Medium that you can use to learn more about the topic. Also, there are video lectures and tutorials, discussion groups, forums, blogs, and podcasts available over the Internet that can help you understand digital marketing concepts.

However, teaching yourself doesn’t provide you with a valid certification. It also doesn’t give you opportunities for networking, peer collaboration, mentorship, or any doubt-clearing sessions. While it’s a good starting point, we highly recommend that you enroll in a course that suits your finances, schedule, and course requirements.

Most of the coaching centers and bootcamps offer valid certifications when you graduate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile and your resume. Also, along with the course content, you’re offered placement services that assist you in landing high-paying jobs that match your skills and interests.

Final Digital Marketing Pointers

We hope that this article shed some light on the different ways you can become a digital marketer. There are tons of options available, it’s just up to you to take the leap and learn the skills.

If you’re still unsure and want to do some more digging, our blog is full of helpful articles about starting a career in digital marketing. It’ll tell you everything you need to know so you can make that essential step towards your new future.  

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