As a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication, with an emphasis in Strategic Communication (hello, advertising, marketing and PR), I thought I was very well prepared for the field I was entering into. My education gave me a great foundation for communications planning and strategy.
But when I landed my first job, I found there were holes in my education, primarily with implementing and reporting on digital marketing functions. How could it be that an educational institution sending marketers into the workforce did not cover digital marketing comprehensively? This was 2015! Social media platforms had been well established at this point, and banner ads were on every website a person could visit!
I realized I needed to enhance my skills in order to stay relevant, but how was I supposed to fit in courses to learn everything I didn’t know about digital marketing? My weeks are full. I work full time, pick my son up from school, help with homework, cook, clean, etc., etc. Going back to school just didn’t seem like an option. It would require too much time and would be more than I could afford, just to add some skills that I was sure I could learn on evenings and weekends.
I started my search. I knew I needed a flexible schedule and something cost effective with hands-on projects to help me solidify the skills I learned. Who out there in internet land offers what I need?
Well, there’s General Assembly; they offer digital marketing, but don’t seem to have the specific skills I need. There is Lynda.com; they have a number of digital marketing courses and are relatively affordable, but it seems like a lot of information and no application. And then there is Udacity. They partner with Hootsuite, Google, Mailchimp, and Moz, who are industry leaders, and offer the most comprehensive courses using tools marketers actually use. The courses are tailored to my specific needs: courses on Google Analytics and AdWords, SEO, and more. There are hands-on projects to complete, and mentors available to give me feedback. This sounds great!
I signed up for the DMND program right away! Fortunately, because my supervisor is aware that I am actively trying to improve my skills for the benefit of my organization, pitching the cost of the program was not a big deal. The value of what I would be getting far outweighs the cost of the program.
Now I’m a couple weeks into the program and building a strong foundation for digital marketing. While some of the material is very similar to what I learned in college, there are so many tools and resources I did not know how to use before. Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nano Degree will give me a competitive edge as a marketer, allowing me to do my best work for my organization. And, along with such a comprehensive education and DMND credentials, comes the opportunity to grow my role and title. What a win-win situation!