Where to Learn Digital Marketing
According to Google, digital marketing is one of the fastest growing job searches. More and more people enter this profession daily. Where do I start? What options do I have for learning digital marketing in a cheap yet effective way?
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and invest in some formal education on digital marketing. Congratulations! Picking a digital marketing course, however, can feel like a minefield. What specifically should someone look for in a digital marketing course, how much should they budget for it, which online courses are the most popular, and how long do they take? Finally, the quintessential question looms: Is an in-person course better than an online course? Today, we’ll explore all of these questions.
Online learning, like in-person learning, is very individualized. A program that works wonderfully for one person may not work as well for someone else. However, most quality digital marketing courses should offer a variety of activities and interactive assessments. Quality courses will include both videos and written content, quizzes, human instructors and technical support, forums with which you can speak with other students, and an emphasis on building skills instead of regurgitating information. By the end of the course, you should feel that you have gained skills and have something to show for them. One particular feature that might increase your skills and confidence is a capstone project or course, though not every program offers this. Nevertheless, a quality program will offer you opportunities to develop evidence that you have learned and to work with the concepts.
Digital marketing courses’ costs vary dramatically. If part of an online, for-profit school, which you should absolutely avoid, a degree in Internet or Digital Marketing can cost over $80,000. Some quality public universities offer certificates for fewer than $3,000, albeit for in-person programs. Yet at the other end of the scale, there are many free courses, as well. Lynda.com, free through many public libraries, offers courses in digital marketing. It is important to note that these free options tend to be focused more on passive recall rather than project-based learning, which is the ideal.
While the choice of digital marketing courses is a very personal one, it is critical to ensure that you are not wasting your money. Some for-profit schools have very intense hard-sell pitches, to the point where just expressing interest and filling out a form will lead to months of harassing phone calls. Others may lure you in with promises of “free” equipment like laptops, but in the end, a $1300 laptop can be purchased independently without the purchase of a course that costs tens of thousands of dollars.
Prior to taking an online digital marketing course, certain experience is required. Basic skill foundations in math, literacy, science, social studies, and computer literacy are all necessary foundations. It is also a bonus if you have experience with business, coding and / or marketing. One good way to get ready might be to take some of the modules on CodeAcademy and then read an introductory textbook about marketing. Some knowledge of the basics of business would also be a benefit for those beginning to study digital marketing. One additional step to set yourself up as a power learner might be to learn a little about rhetoric and persuasion, since after all, marketing is just applied rhetoric! In sum, a basic knowledge of several basic subjects and concepts that are necessary for adult life in general are going to be helpful for those taking digital marketing courses. Those who are able to go beyond the basics, such as with a bit of knowledge of business finance, coding, or sophisticated rhetoric may be better positioned than others, but ideally, a digital marketing course will address these topics at least in brief.
The amount of time necessary to take one of these courses varies dramatically. Some, such as the Lynda course, could feasibly completed in only a few days. Others may take several years, as in the case of the $80,000 Full Sail Academy course. Different durations may mean different outcomes, ranging from a skill refresher to getting ready to learn more to an in-depth overview. If you can devote yourself to learning full-time, then it is completely possible to gain an excellent set of skills in a brief amount of time. If you can only study part-time, it is still realistic to complete your digital marketing studies in a modest amount of time.
As always, the question of whether to learn digitally or in-person may make choosing a program very difficult. On the one hand, digital marketing is a profession that exists in the digital space. Therefore, mastering it in this space would seem to be a useful strategy since this is where it will be applied. On the other hand, an in-person class provides additional opportunities. In-person courses offer networking and relationship building, as well as real-time feedback in discussions and an organic direction for discussions and activities. Yet a digital skill may be difficult to conceptualize without everyone staring at screens. Ideally, a perfect course might combine in-person learning with digital resources.
In sum, digital marketing courses can be frustratingly diverse and offer an overwhelming set of decisions. Yet if you look for a high-quality course that offers a combination of more traditional classroom activities and online activities, and that is offered at a reasonable price, it is possible to gain powerful, valuable skills relatively quickly. Although, like in every other aspect of life, you must be an informed consumer, in the end, an educational opportunity is what you make of it. You can increase your chances of success and your value as a potential employee by developing your own skills prior to beginning the course. Most importantly, your education does not end once the course does; you should make the commitment to be a lifelong learner and continually adding to your skills.