Why is marketing even worth considering in the first place?
In the present digital age, it is clear that traditional marketing methods alone cannot solve the marketing problem.
So, businesses and brands are embracing multiple channels to reach their customers where they are.
That means they need marketers in touch with present-day marketing methods to help them connect with customers.
Looking at some statistics will paint a clearer picture:
- In the past year, 341,000 marketing jobs were posted on LinkedIn.
- The employment of digital marketing managers is projected to grow by 10% in the next decade.
- Retail, health, training & education, automobile, and food are the top 5 industries generating high ROI in digital marketing.
How can you become the person brands want to hire in order to take their digital marketing efforts to the next level?
What training do you need to become a digital marketer in 2022? Is a digital marketing degree the way to go?
The short answer is no.
How do I know? Because I have completed a Master Degree in Digital Marketing from the University of Portsmouth, UK. So I am sharing my experiences in this article.
This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a digital marketing degree and other options to become a savvy digital marketer in the 21st century.
So, let’s get right to it.
Career opportunities with a Digital Marketing Degree
In the past, marketing might have been a one-way street, but with new digital marketing systems, several career opportunities have been created.
These niches in digital marketing that you can pursue can be achieved with or without a formal digital marketing degree.
Let’s look at a few:
- Digital marketing: Promoting businesses and brands to connect with potential customers on digital platforms.
- Social media marketing: Using social media platforms to build brands and interact with customers.
- Web Analytics: Collecting, analysing and visualising data in order to deliver insights and improve web experiences.
- Copywriting: Writing content to increase brand awareness and urge potential customers to take a specific action.
- Affiliate marketing: Building passive income by recommending products and services in exchange for a commission.
- Content strategy: Planning, creating, and sharing content to achieve business goals.
- SEO (search engine optimization): Creating and optimizing website content to rank on search engine results pages (SERP).
- SEM (search engine marketing): Marketing a business through paid advertisements to renal higher on search engine results pages (SERP).
- Public relations: Professionally maintaining an advantageous public image for a business or a brand.
Average Salary of a Digital Marketing Professional
The average salary for digital marketing professionals differs depending on your specialization and the industry in which you work.
What does this mean? That you need to move to the US if you want to have a decent salary.
I am joking, of course. 😅
Aside from the disparities in salary which is a total different topic, not covered in this article, remember this is an estimated figure and an average. You can earn much more depending on your education, experience, and skills.
Benefits of a Digital Marketing Degree
Expands Your Skillset
A university degree remains the traditional way to launch a career. A typical digital marketing degree offers you more job opportunities. Studying for a marketing degree also means knowing other aspects of marketing and having solid business knowledge in areas like accounting, budgeting, and sales.
Increases Your Career Opportunities
As mentioned earlier, a university degree is an efficient way to launch your career after college. In addition, the credential you get with a digital marketing degree is a notable addition to your resume and serves as a strong foundation at the start of your career. It is a notable addition to your resume. This sets you up properly to compete in the present-day job market.
Boosts Your Earning Potential
You can undoubtedly earn lots of money without a degree, and having a university degree increases your earning potential. A bachelor’s degree holder earns 84% more than a digital marketer without.
On average, a bachelor’s degree holder earns an hourly wage of $25 and an annual wage of $52,000— meaning that a digital marketing degree can give you a competitive edge in the job market.
Develops Communication And Analytical Skills
A key part of digital marketing is understanding communication and metric analysis. With a digital marketing degree, you learn about consumer behaviour and the tools needed to attract and retain the right customers for your business.
These analytical and communication skills will teach you the critical thinking you need as a marketer.
Why a Digital Marketing degree is not worth it
1. Archaic University Curriculums
Digital marketing is a very practical career, but education will only get you far if you do not have hands-on experience. For example, you can understand the theory of consumer behaviour.
Still, you need to understand how these theories relate to the present-day target audience to achieve your marketing goals.
Just like any other field, digital marketing also has its theories and principles, and even if you learn all the principles in the four walls of a classroom, you will get stuck when you try to apply them to digital marketing niches like creating content strategies, SEO, copywriting, etc.
Additionally, the theories needed to handle online customers in digital marketing are constantly changing because of updates and changes in algorithms, systems, and consumer behaviour.
Most textbooks and university curriculums do not change as fast as these, so you might learn old knowledge that is not correctly applied in a more recent time.
2. Four-Year Marketing Degrees Cost Lots of Money
Education keeps getting more expensive, and the Return on Investment (ROI) is getting significantly smaller.
If you measure the cost of education against wages and compare that against the cost of living, you will get a very candid picture.
Spending those thousand dollars on a university degree in digital marketing does not guarantee that a steady and well-paying job will fall into your lap.
Moreover, you still have to consider student loans.
Instead of going through this almost non-productive hassle, you can take some of that money for college and invest in relevant courses that will give you the knowledge and experiences you need to start a career in digital marketing.
3. Getting A University Degree May Not Be The Right Path For You
Two or three decades ago, this statement will have gotten so many counter-responses from numerous people, but the fact is that getting a university degree is not for everyone. We need to understand the diversity in the learning paths of different people and embrace it.
Getting a degree often involves learning under tight schedules, which can also be very strict.
Entrepreneurs and other practical people may be more suited to a flexible learning environment that allows them to flex their creativity.
Considering this, a degree will be a waste of time for folks like these, whereas alternative courses that allow learning with a different approach may be ideal. You can easily find your areas of interest and start to build on them.
Alternatives to a Digital Marketing Degree
Applying for internships and apprenticeships can help you get practical experience in handling digital marketing. Though some companies may request a university degree before giving you these opportunities, for others, you may only need to show some general key skills like willingness to learn.
Since the pandemic in 2020, there has been a global shift in how people consume knowledge. Before that, people sought out traditional classrooms and learning centres to gain skills, but that changed with the series of lockdowns.
Now, people embrace online learning and certifications.
More than gathering online digital marketing certification is required. You must look for acceptable digital marketing certifications with the required knowledge to boost your skills.
Here are some things to look out for when looking for online courses and certifications:
- They should be easily recognizable in the industry—for example, LinkedIn Certificates and Coursera Certificates.
- They should be detailed and well-rounded.
- They should be practical and provide tasks and courses to engage in.
Using social media platforms for learning
You can also use social media platforms to learn key skills in digital marketing.
Lots of social media users share their knowledge and experiences on these platforms.
Creating and managing your website and up skilling yourself
If you like to jump into things and learn on the way, then this is for you.
You can start your website quickly with WordPress, WIX, Shopify, and others and start trying things as you go. Medium, Blogger, WordPress, and others are also excellent choices if you want to go through a blog.
With this option, you learn on the job and make your mistakes.
👉 Also read: best website builders
Consider alternatives to digital marketing degrees
University is not for everyone.
Whether you are thinking of starting a career in digital marketing or looking to give your career a little bump, you need to consider ways to learn appropriately without wasting time or breaking the bank.
As mentioned, there are other alternatives to a digital marketing degree, and you can choose the most suitable one for you and explore it.