Colleges around the world have finally caught up with the internet and begun offering specialized digital marketing programs, some of which are also taught entirely online. Rather than being forced to choose between the few programs available, you now have an incredible number of options.
This makes it easier to get into a digital marketing program, but harder to choose that program.
Ask yourself these questions before you apply for any digital marketing program:
1. What aspects of digital marketing are most interesting to you?
Digital marketing has grown to encompass a huge variety of skills. Any good college program will teach you the basics of all the main types of digital marketing, but it would take decades to master them all. You should choose a program that offers broad beginner level courses and then allows you to specialize in two or three specific aspects of digital marketing.
If you’re not sure what you’re most interesting, you may want to choose an open-ended one year program that focuses entirely on the basics. You can also try your hand at free online courses to test out various types of digital marketing.
2. Do you want to take classes online or in person?
Many colleges offer digital marketing programs that take place entirely online. These courses provide an excellent level of flexibility for working adults, but are rarely able to offer the same level of educational support and networking that on-campus programs do.
The type of program that works for you depends largely on your learning style and your current living situation. Take some time to research the differences, along with the best options for both, before making a decision.
3. Are the courses taught by instructors who have proven experience in digital marketing?
At its core digital marketing relies on most of the same principles as regular marketing, but the skills used to make it work are often very different. Instructors with practical experience in the realm of digital marketing are always better than people teaching from a purely theoretical standpoint.
Colleges should also be transparent about who their instructors are. You may have to request this information, but they should be able to provide information upon request. If you can’t get any information about who will be teaching you, it’s likely that the program isn’t developed enough to actually net you work in the industry.
4. How well respected is the college offering the program?
Is the college you’re looking at respected as an excellent source of education, or are they known as a degree mill? How many former students have actually managed to get jobs within the industry?
Don’t rely entirely on the school’s website for this information either. They will always choose to display the best examples and testimonials. Look for reviews on third party websites, and search for people who have completed the program on LinkedIn to see what they’re doing now. You may even want to invite one of these former students out for a coffee so you can ask questions about what the program experience was like.
5. What are the networking opportunities like?
One of the most important aspects of any college program is the opportunity to network with other students and professionals within the industry. Look for programs with alumni communities and benefits as well as opportunities for current students.
The college should be able to provide several examples of networking opportunities, but this is another place where you may be better off talking to former students. They’ll likely have a better idea of how those networking opportunities translate into jobs later on.