Are Digital Marketing Bootcamps Worth It?

Sam Mustelin, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

A digital marketing bootcamp can offer a fast and immersive route into the field—but are they actually worth it? Let’s take a look.

Digital marketing is a rapidly growing field. And, with a large number of open positions, attractive salaries, and a diverse range of job titles, it has become a popular career path for a reason. 

If you are interested in working in digital marketing, there are many ways to attain the skills and experience needed to land your first job. While a university degree is the more traditional option, it’s certainly not the only one: nowadays, employers are increasingly open to hiring bootcamp graduates. 

Read on to find out what you might expect from a digital marketing bootcamp and whether it’s the right way for you to start your career in this field. 

  1. What is a digital marketing bootcamp?
  2. Why do a digital marketing bootcamp? 
  3. What kinds of jobs can you apply for after a digital marketing bootcamp?
  4. Should you do a digital marketing bootcamp or a digital marketing degree?
  5. Do employers take digital marketing bootcamps seriously?
  6. Are digital marketing bootcamps worth it?
  7. What are some of the best digital marketing bootcamps available?
  8. Key takeaways and next steps

Let’s jump in!

1. What is a digital marketing bootcamp?

Digital marketing bootcamps are designed to prepare you for a career in this diverse field by teaching you key marketing skills and providing you with hands-on experience. Depending on the program, you may also receive one-on-one mentorship and career advice. There are both in-person and online options available. If you are interested in working in digital marketing, bootcamps offer a real (and often more flexible and affordable) alternative to getting a traditional degree in the field.

The great diversity of digital marketing bootcamps means you get to choose the one that matches your needs when it comes to gaining or updating your marketing skills. For example, you might be looking for a full-time immersive course that gives you a thorough experience of a diverse range of digital marketing tools and strategies. Other courses are designed as part-time programs and allow you to study in the evenings and weekends while keeping a full-time job. In terms of flexibility, you can find courses that offer material to study at your own pace and others that offer live classes at set times of the day. 

Digital marketing bootcamps also vary in terms of curriculum content and what’s covered. Have a look at a few bootcamps to see which one fits your specific interests and career goals. If you already have a specific job in mind, look out for bootcamps that focus on this aspect in their curriculums. For example, if you want to become a social media specialist, look for a course that covers social media in depth.

Typically, a digital marketing bootcamp will teach you topics such as marketing strategy fundamentals, social media marketing, content and email marketing, search engine marketing, including both paid Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as analytics and reporting using professional tools such as Google Analytics.

In many ways, a digital marketing bootcamp can be a complete career-starting package, teaching you key skills and tools, and helping you build your digital marketing portfolio. Of course, what you get will depend on the course you choose (but more on that in section seven). For now, let’s look at why you might choose to do a digital marketing bootcamp.

A digital marketing bootcamp student sitting at a desk, on a video call with other students

2. Why do a digital marketing bootcamp?

There are many reasons you might sign up for a digital marketing bootcamp. Some people do it because they want to expand their knowledge for their current role or apply for a more digital-focused role in their current career. Many bootcamps therefore promote financing options where the employer pays for the program. 

Other bootcamp attendees might be looking to pivot into an entirely new direction and are using a bootcamp to kickstart their career in digital marketing. For career-changers, there are a range of digital marketing bootcamps that are open to beginners and will teach you, from scratch,the practical skills you need to successfully get hired in the field.

The benefits of attending a digital marketing bootcamp are plenty. Not only will you get hands-on experience and be able to study flexibly;  you’ll also have the opportunity to build your own portfolio and, depending on the terms of the bootcamp, get access to a mentor and join a network of fellow digital marketing enthusiasts and professionals. 

Another great benefit is mentorship. Some bootcamps assign you a personal mentor who can offer career advice, feedback on your work, and even connect you with opportunities in the field. Some bootcamps even offer a job guarantee, too. With a job guarantee, you only pay for the course if it leads to a job—if not, you’ll be refunded  the costs of the program. This can make the investment in a bootcamp feel less risky! 

Bootcamps generally offer more flexibility and require a less intensive time commitment than a traditional university degree. They give you the opportunity to learn digital marketing skills without having to give up your current job or make a heavy financial investment, compared to the cost of a university degree. 

As you can see, there are many good reasons you might opt for a digital marketing bootcamp. Now let’s take a look at how a bootcamp might set you up for the world of work.

3. What kinds of jobs can you apply for after a digital marketing bootcamp?

With a certificate from a digital marketing bootcamp under your belt, along with the portfolio you’ll have created, you’ll be ready to apply for a broad range of jobs. The specific opportunities available to you depend on a combination of factors, such as your previous experience and the type of bootcamp you attended. Assuming you’ve attended, a comprehensive bootcamp that focuses on changing your career and building a portfolio, you’ll be qualified for a number of digital marketing roles. We have listed some of them together with the average salary you can expect in the U.S.: 

  • Social media specialist: $45,728
  • Digital marketing specialist: $50,380
  • Content strategist: $62,394
  • Email marketer: $55,000
  • SEO specialist: $46,783
  • Digital marketing analyst: $53,023
  • Content creator (such as a copywriter, videographer, or digital designer): $45,176-$55,995

While you might start your career with an entry level position such as digital marketing specialist, there are many more positions you can progress to, such as digital marketing manager and similar job titles specific to the channels you use in your role. These include job titles such as::

  • Digital marketing manager: $68,010
  • Social media manager: $52,239
  • Content marketing manager: $101,500
  • Email marketing manager: $106,427
  • Paid search manager: $72,234
  • SEO manager: $70,811

You can learn more about where a career in digital marketing might take you with this round-up of some of the most rewarding digital marketing jobs.

A digital marketing bootcamp student working on a laptop, holding a young child

4. Should you do a digital marketing bootcamp or a digital marketing degree?

Whether a degree or a digital marketing bootcamp is the better option for you depends on your situation as well as your goals and preferences. A degree provides an in-depth learning experience that usually takes at least a year to complete. Depending on where you study, it may also require heavy tuition fees. A degree gets you a formal university certificate which is recognized by employers who are looking for digital marketing talent. 

However, if you don’t have enough time on your hands to complete a full degree, a bootcamp provides a valuable alternative that teaches you the skills you need in this fast growing field. Consider whether you prefer the fast-paced learning environment of an immersive bootcamp, the flexibility of a part-time course, or the usually in-person and more long-running experience of attaining a digital marketing university degree.

Still not sure? We explore whether or not you really need a digital marketing degree in this post, and share some tips for how to decide.

5. Are employers willing to hire digital marketing bootcamp graduates?

In a word, yes. Employers are increasingly interested in hiring passionate marketing enthusiasts who have completed a bootcamp. The digital marketing job market is growing rapidly, so hiring managers are diversifying the channels they use to find candidates. 

Aside from that, many employers nowadays recognize the value of hiring people with hands-on experience and up-to-date knowledge. As a bootcamp graduate, you bring very recent experience and knowledge of new trends in digital marketing. Of course, whether you are the right match for an employer depends on a number of factors. But in general, most employers value hands-on skills over traditional qualifications. 

Ultimately, if you are able to demonstrate a combination of hard skills from the portfolio you put together during your bootcamp, as well as soft skills from your previous experience and a passion for digital marketing, you will be taken seriously. 

A group of digital marketing bootcamp students sitting in a cafe, chatting and laughing

6. Are digital marketing bootcamps worth it?

They are! Attending a marketing bootcamp is a very efficient way to pick up digital marketing skills and create a portfolio to showcase your experience. You will spend less time and money compared to a traditional degree and, depending on the course you choose, get a comprehensive education in digital marketing. Many bootcamps also provide you with the tools you need to start your career, such as a mentor, networking opportunities with hiring partners and alumni, and one-on-one coaching sessions. Depending on the program, you might also have the chance to work on a real-world problem with some of the leading companies in the field. 

Due to the great variety in digital marketing bootcamps, there is a high chance that you will find a course that suits your needs. Some have a focus on flexibility, which allows you to work on the material at your own pace, while others focus on a live classroom setting—whether online or in person. 

For anyone looking to pick up valuable digital marketing skills without quitting their job or committing to a full university program, a digital marketing bootcamp is an effective route into the field. 

7. What are some of the best digital marketing bootcamps worth considering?

As we’ve mentioned, there are many options to choose from. But which bootcamps are the best? We’ve put together a brief list of some of the top-rated digital marketing bootcamps currently available, and they can all be accessed online. Some of them also offer in-person courses in the U.S. or even worldwide. 

Here are our top picks: 

  • BrainStation offers educator-led live courses both online and in-person, focusing on hands-on projects and access to an online community. There are both full time and part time options. 
  • With Udacity, you gain immediate access to the course material once you sign up. Their online course takes about three months if you study for 10 hours a week, but you can set your own pace.
  • Springboard offers you your own mentor and online community, with a focus on working on real-world problems and building your portfolio. It takes six months to complete at 8-10 hours a week.
  • Thinkful has online classes that take three months to complete at 15-20 hours a week. You receive career coaching and industry mentors, and they offer a job guarantee for their graduates.
  • UT Austin provides 18-week part-time bootcamps in digital marketing with live online classes in the evenings and weekends, with a focus on hands-on, real-world projects. 

Here we’ve just provided a very brief overview. For a more thorough comparison, take a look at this round-up of the best digital marketing bootcamps available right now.

8. Key takeaways and next steps

If you have read this far, you probably now have a good understanding of what a digital marketing bootcamp can offer. While bootcamps offer a shorter route than a traditional university degree, they still provide a valuable education if you are looking for a way to pivot to digital marketing, or enhance your skills in this field. As we have seen, bootcamps can be a flexible option regarding both the time and financial investment required. 

Now that you know why a digital marketing bootcamp might be worth it, it’s time to find out whether it’s the right option for you specifically. So think about the goals you have when looking for ways to learn more about digital marketing. Take your time to research the different options and consider whether you are looking for a specific focus regarding the content and job title you are working towards, as well as the setup of the courses and the length of time you’re prepared to study.  Good luck!

If you’d like to learn more about a career in digital marketing, check out these articles:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing with a free, 5-day short course.

  2. Take part in one of our live online events about career change into tech.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and if digital marketing is right for you.

  4. Explore all our career-change programs and become an in-demand tech professional.