Is Digital Marketing a Good Career to Get Into?

Rosie Allabarton, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

If you’re thinking of changing careers—or just moving in a different direction in your current company—you may be considering learning more about digital marketing. The field of digital marketing has gained a lot of attention in recent years, thanks to the impact it can make on a company’s bottom line, and the range of opportunities and steady career progression it offers to those with the skills to work in it. 

You may find yourself asking: is digital marketing a good career to get into? In this article, we want to give you the full low-down on what a career in digital marketing entails, from the skills you need to make it as a digital marketer, to the salaries you can expect to earn and whether or not you’re a good fit for this rewarding and impactful role. 

  1. What is digital marketing?
  2. What skills do you need to become a digital marketer?
  3. Is digital marketing a good career path?
  4. What are the pros and cons of a career in digital marketing?
  5. Am I a good fit for a career in digital marketing?
  6. What kind of salary does a digital marketer earn?
  7. How do I become a digital marketer?
  8. Summary

1. What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the production and publication of all public-facing digital content for a company, brand, or individual. The digital marketing team publishes promotional materials alongside high-quality and highly relevant content in a bid to build trust and authority with audiences, and increase brand awareness overall. Goals of the digital marketing team are to attract and convert new customers, and retain the custom and loyalty of existing ones. 

A digital marketing team will utilize some or all of the following platforms and methods: 

  • Social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to grow followings and communities, interact with users and customers, share content, and promote products and services 
  • Blogging platforms like Medium, Tumblr, and WordPress, for articles which are keyword-optimized for SEO, and provide value to the reader
  • Email and newsletters to communicate more directly to users, promote products, feature, and special offers, as well as to provide assistance at different points in the customer journey 
  • Web-based advertising, search engine marketing (SEM), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

 2. What skills do you need to become a digital marketer?

While there are no official qualifications needed to get on this exciting career path, employers and recruiters will have certain expectations of potential job candidates in terms of both hard and soft skills. Some of these you can work on yourself at home by trying out digital marketing tools, reading and writing blogs, creating practice social media campaigns, and learning how to analyze user behavior.  

Hard skills

  • Good knowledge of social media platforms and trends
  • Interest in (and knowledge of) marketing and web analytics tools such as Google Adwords, Google Analytics, Taboola, Outbrain and other web advertising platforms
  • Ability to use email marketing tools like HubSpot, Sendinblue, Omnisend, MailChimp and Mailjet
  • Knowledge and skill in pay-per-click advertising
  • Understanding of keyword research and SEO implementation, analysis, monitoring, and management
  • Know-how in marketing campaign strategy and execution 
  • Experience in running multivariate experiments, A/B testing, and email marketing
  • Good understanding of UX, as well as the optimisation of customer experience funnels and landing pages

Soft skills 

  • Time management and ability to prioritize tasks
  • Analytical skills and an interest in learning new tools, gathering data, and studying trends 
  • Project management 
  • Leadership and task delegation 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication 
  • Attention to detail
  • Able to work independently

3. Is digital marketing a good career path?

Digital marketing offers considerable longevity to those looking for a career they can grow and develop in, with the sector experiencing significant growth year on year. The projected growth rate for marketing managers between 2019 and 2029 is 6%, which is notably faster than the average rate of growth in other industries.  

Demand for digital marketers is also growing; the role of the digital marketing specialist saw 860,000 job openings this year, ranking it in the top ten most in-demand careers on LinkedIn. In addition, a shortage of approximately 230,000 digital marketing experts has been reported in a number of metropolitan regions in the U.S.. 

As a career path, digital marketing offers numerous opportunities for professional growth. 

Entry-level 

Those new to the industry typically start their careers in an entry-level position, such as the assistant digital marketer role, or assistant paid search manager. In these roles, the digital marketer might be expected to develop media plans, assist with billing, take on social media management tasks, or make marketing presentations. 

Mid-level
Marketers usually spend between six months and two years in an entry-level position before being eligible for mid-level roles. A mid-level role might be that of a digital marketing manager or a digital marketing supervisor. Responsibilities at this stage in a digital marketing career might include understanding the strategic needs and goals of the business and aligning those with the goals of the marketing team.

A mid-level digital marketer might also be responsible for nurturing more junior members of the team, working in collaboration with other teams on campaigns, and playing a hands-on role in analyzing results. 

Senior-level
Depending on a company size and structure—as well as an individual’s specialist skills—most people spend between two and eight years at the mid-level position in digital marketing. After gaining considerable experience, they are then ready to work in a senior position, where they’ll be leading teams, working with clients, innovation, and developing long term strategy. Job titles at this level might include “head of” or “director” of digital marketing. 

4. What are the pros and cons of a career in digital marketing?

When considering a career change, it’s important to be realistic about the advantages and disadvantages you might experience in the new role. Here’s a list of the pros and cons of a career in digital marketing, so you have a rounded picture of the industry before making any big life decisions. 

Let’s start with the pros!

  • Lots of job opportunities
  • Varied and rewarding tasks 
  • Chance to work with latest technology
  • Long term job security 
  • Scope for professional growth
  • Opportunities to earn high salaries
  • Lots of specializations to go into
  • Many creative opportunities
  • Freelance and in-house opportunities
  • Evolving industry
  • Constant learning opportunities 
  • Low overheads (for freelancers)
  • Marketers can work for every kind of industry, company, or individual

Now we know the pros, let’s take a look at the cons!

  • Digital marketers are expected to stay up to date on industry changes (and things change fast!)
  • Increasing competition for jobs thanks to a surge in popularity of this career choice
  • You’ll need to put time aside to learn new skills 
  • Lack of structure and industry standardization 
  • Can be difficult to determine (or prove) return on investment (ROI) 
  • Marketers are expected to wear a lot of different hats at once
  • Marketing team shoulders a considerable amount of the responsibility of company growth 

5. Am I a good fit for a career as a digital marketer?

How do you know if a specific career or role is right for you, if you’ve never experienced it? Well, although it can certainly be difficult to ascertain your compatibility with an industry before you get your first role in the field, there are a number of steps you can take before you make any big decisions to see if it’s a good fit for your personality and background. 

  • Conduct some research into the role and industry (the CareerFoundry blog is a great place to start! )
  • Speak to a digital marketer about their work, daily routine, and experiences 
  • Speak to those who work with digital marketers
  • See if you can shadow a digital marketer or digital marketing team for a day or week
  • Think hard about  your 4 P’s: passion, personality, preferences (for work pace, type of work, work environment, etc.), and principles—do these match what you know about digital marketing careers?
  • Considering applying for an unpaid internship or volunteer position in digital marketing 
  • Think carefully about your strengths and what you enjoy doing—digital marketing should be a combination of these 
  • Draw up a list of your skills—do they match up with the skills a digital marketer needs to succeed? 

6. What kind of salary does a digital marketer earn?

Your salary in digital marketing will vary greatly depending on the type of organization you work for, your seniority, company size, your location, and the cost of living in your area. 

According to CourseReport, a typical salary for an entry-level digital marketing role lands between $35,000 and $75,000. For a mid-level digital marketer this increases to between $65,000 and $150K. Finally, a senior-level digital marketer can expect a salary exceeding  $100,000 per year. 

Around the world, digital marketing specialists can expect the following average salaries: 

While a digital marketing manager will earn the following: 

For a more detailed rundown of digital marketing salaries, check out our salary guide.

7. How do I become a digital marketer?

There are many routes into a digital marketing career; one of the advantages of the profession is that there is no hard and fast rule to breaking into it. However, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare for your career change. We’ve covered in detail everything you need to do to launch a career in digital marketing in this article, but here are the headlines: 

1. Read up on the industry and get familiar with key concepts and tools

Become a HubSpot or MailChimp nerd, or dig deep into Google Analytics—you’ll learn so much just from playing around with digital tools and creating your own simple campaigns that when you do land your first position in the field, you’ll be able to use this experience to dive right in. 

2.Structure your learning with a digital marketing course or qualification

Whether you start out with a free digital marketing short course, or throw yourself straight into a bootcamp, a structured learning route will help you meet like minded career changers, the chance to receive professional feedback and guidance, and teach you the skills you need to land your first position. 

3. Build a digital marketing portfolio 

If you do complete a course of study, you’ll likely have a number of projects and assignments which you can use to demonstrate your skills. Compile these into a simple portfolio which you can leave with employers when you start going for your first interviews. 

4. Do some networking

Now, networking isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but when it’s done right this can be key to unlocking your first position in the field. Attend relevant meetups (online and in-person), and reach out to digital marketing experts on LinkedIn, ask questions, and show genuine interest in their work.  

5. Start applying for entry-level positions

With a course, a portfolio, and potentially some experience under your belt, you’re definitely ready to start applying for junior positions in digital marketing. Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile with your new skills, register for Google Job Alerts, and use Glassdoor and LinkedIn to search for positions near you. 

8. Summary

We hope our rundown of everything digital marketing has given you some insight the question: is digital marketing a good career to get into? By researching the industry thoroughly, gaining some experience, and knowing yourself and your skillset, you are in a good position to see if a change to a digital marketing career lines up with everything you want to achieve from your professional progression.  

If you’re interested in developing your digital marketing skills, why not try this free, self-paced digital marketing course? Or you could check out some of our related articles here: 

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing with a free, self-paced short course comprised of five short tutorials.

  2. Take part in one of our FREE live online digital marketing events with industry experts.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out what it takes to become a job-ready digital marketer in just 4-7 months—all backed by the CareerFoundry job guarantee.

  4. This month, apply for the Women in Tech Scholarshipworth up to $1,260 off our full Digital Marketing Program. Offered to the first 100 women who enroll, book your advisor call today.

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