Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience at the right time and place. Not so long ago, brands would advertise heavily through billboards, TV and radio ads, newspapers, and magazines. These methods of marketing are still in use, but the rise of digital media has seen a radical shift in marketing tactics. Today, we spend most of our free time online: we pick up our phone every few minutes to browse Instagram, buy groceries, or order dinner. So brands have had to quickly adapt to this new digital world.
Digital marketing is the advertising of products, brands, and services through digital channels like mobile apps, web apps, websites, search engines and email. As the internet reaches further into even the remotest areas of the world, digital marketing has become essential for a business to become successful. Not only can a brand reach millions of people effectively, but digital marketing also allows businesses to check how a product is doing through data analytics.
This article looks at the various education and training options out there for those wanting to craft a career in digital marketing. Read on for our tips on the best training routes and the skills to build if you want to run digital campaigns with the best of them.
Training and Education Paths in Digital Marketing
The first step towards becoming a digital marketer is to develop your knowledge of the fundamentals, followed by learning the necessary skills and techniques. There are a few different paths that you can follow to start a career in digital marketing. These include:
- the traditional path of a college degree;
- the alternative route of online training courses, programs, and certifications; or
- you can take the self-learning route.
Below are some education and training paths that you can follow to start a career in digital marketing:
Bachelor’s Degrees in Digital Marketing
A bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related discipline can be a good way to start your education in digital marketing. Some entry-level digital marketing positions are only open to candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Popular bachelor’s degrees in digital marketing and related disciplines include:
- Bachelor’s in Business Administration (Digital Marketing and Advertising) – Liberty University
- Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Marketing – Mercy College
- Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts – Marketing – Drew University
- Bachelor’s in Global Marketing – Suffolk University
- Bachelor of Science in Marketing – Carroll University
Just like every learning path, going for a bachelor’s degree has its pros and cons. These include:
- A bachelor’s degree will provide strong foundational knowledge of the key areas of marketing.
- You’ll have more flexibility to look for jobs that align with your interests.
- You’re likely to land a job with a higher remuneration, even for entry-level positions.
- Bachelor’s degrees are usually expensive.
- They typically take four years to complete.
- You won’t have much flexibility in terms of schedule, as you’ll have to keep up with your classes, curriculum, assignments, and exams.
You can also invest in an online bachelor program if time and money are constraints.
Master’s Degrees in Digital Marketing
A master’s degree in digital marketing will focus on a specialization, which will build your expertise in a certain area of the discipline. There are courses in topics like brand strategy, content marketing, data visualization, multicultural markets, and influencer marketing, to name a few. Master’s degrees in marketing include:
- Master of Science in Information Technology – (MSIT) E-Business Technology – Carnegie Mellon University
- Master’s in MS Integrated Marketing Communications – Northwestern University
- MBA in digital marketing – New York University
- Master’s in E-commerce Technology – Depaul University
- Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications (DMC) – West Virginia University
Some pros and cons of master’s degrees are:
- Many employers will look highly favorably on a master’s degree, and you’ll be directly eligible for senior-level positions.
- You’ll gain in-depth knowledge about the latest technologies and developments in marketing, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and data science.
- The knowledge you gain through a master’s will equip you for exciting and well-paying roles like promotions manager, brand manager, marketing research analyst, or marketing manager.
- It can be expensive to enroll in a master’s program.
- Since the field of digital marketing is highly dynamic, the skills you learn could become outdated, even by the time you complete your course.
- Some employers don’t attach much significance to master’s degrees.
Digital Marketing Bootcamps
Bootcamps are one of the fastest and most efficient ways of learning any tech skill, including digital marketing. They can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete, depending on the course. Bootcamps condense the most relevant knowledge and training into a single intensive curriculum. Some popular digital marketing boot camps are:
- Digital Marketing Bootcamp – Thinkful
- Introduction to Digital Marketing – Startup Institute
- Digital Marketing Career Track – Springboard
- Growth Marketing – GrowthX Academy
- Digital Marketing Diploma Program – BrainStation
The pros and cons of bootcamp learning include:
- Bootcamps are much more affordable than traditional college degrees.
- Because the course is condensed and industry-specific, you won’t waste time on less important topics.
- Bootcamps are much quicker than a four-year bachelor’s program.
- They’re updated frequently and aligned with the current demands of the industry.
- Bootcamps call for individual action. A large amount of work will be assigned to you to be completed within a short time.
- Because they’re learning-intensive, you’ll have to work extra hard to keep up with the pace of the course.
Digital Marketing Certifications
Digital marketing certifications help validate your skills. They can also be instrumental in getting you noticed in the competitive job market—and earn you a higher salary. Some popular digital marketing certifications are:
- Inbound Marketing Certification – Hubspot Academy
- Social Marketing Certification – Hootsuite
- Certified Content Marketers certification – Copyblogger
- Facebook Blueprint Certification – Facebook
- Digital Media & Marketing Certification – Duke University
Teaching Yourself Digital Marketing
The number of self-taught digital marketing professionals has continued to rise in recent years. Although this path requires a lot of solo research, hard work, and discipline, there are a lot of professionals who have overcome the odds and started successful careers in digital marketing through self-learning. Some pros of self-learning are:
- You have the ability to choose the latest learning materials and resources to acquire the skills you see as most in-demand in the job market.
- You can choose the time and place of your study.
- You can take your time to understand the topics you find challenging.
- It costs next to nothing.
Some cons of self-learning are:
- Some employers prefer formal degrees.
- You might end up wasting your time on finding the right study materials.
- You’re not held accountable through exams, assignments, and due dates.
- Self-learning is highly unstructured, and it depends on the individual whether that’s an advantage or not. You could end up procrastinating a lot.
Overall, a formal education provides you with solid foundational knowledge, and is more structured. Having peers and mentors help you to move in the right direction. Structure is sometimes necessary to finish a course on time and assess your learning growth and development. Formal education can also be a great pathway into finding an internship or a job.
Learn the Skills for Digital Marketing
To be a successful digital marketing professional, you need to cultivate a certain skill set. Some important skills to have in your toolbox include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Data analytics
- Social media
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Conversion rate optimization
If you’re ready to move up the ranks in your marketing department, check out our six-week digital marketing intensive. It’s an accelerated program for anyone who’s driven to excel in their marketing career, and hoping to learn with some of the industry’s best and brightest. There’s also the option to spread your learning out over three months with our part-time course.