Questions such as this are common among individuals who are just starting off in the world of digital marketing. While it is a straightforward question that is deserving of an answer, there seems to be no straightforward answer.
However, we are going to take a look at some of the important factors that come into play when trying to make a determination on whether or not an online marketing certification holds any value in helping land that career you are looking for. Factors such as alternatives to learning the material, credibility of information sources and your abilities, and finally, what employers are looking for in potential employees to work in this area. So, without further adieu, let’s get started.
Is Self-Learning Comparable to Certification?
Just about any information that you can potentially learn from an online certification program or degree program is available to you via the internet for free. If you know what it is exactly that you want and need to learn, it is as easy to find as typing in your question in your favorite search engine. However, self-learning is not as easy as it may sound. How you comprehend or mentally digest that free information can be the difference in learning something as it is meant to be and learning something opposite of its meaning. That is where online certification programs become increasingly more valuable.
Another aspect you have to consider about self-teaching is the reliability of the content. How do you know that the information you were able to locate online is accurate or updated? Do you want to learn about 2004 marketing strategies in 2016? Remember, anyone can put just about anything they want on a website or blog, and this includes incorrect and obsolete information. By attending a reputable online program, you will receive instruction in online marketing that is accurate and current and is designed by experts in that field.
So, to sum this section up, if you have solid comprehension skills, can find accurate and up-to-date information, and can learn in a solitary environment, then you could probably teach yourself everything you would learn with an online marketing certification program.
Are Online Certification Programs Credible?
If you have never been to a job interview, one of the questions that are asked probably more than any other is what credentials or certifications do you have. That means if you decided to teach yourself everything there is to know about online marketing, that is pretty much all you have. You could back that up with any work experience you have in the field, which does carry a lot of weight when it comes to digital marketing, but that would then turn into the “how much experience do you have in online marketing” question.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you attended a reputable program, you will have a little more ammo to answer that first question with. And since you do have a certification for online marketing, there is a good chance you will have a solid answer for the second question as well.
What Employers are Looking For
Here is where the answer to our question gets a little less straightforward. What employers are looking for in online marketing professionals varies. Some employers place your credentials and experience in the field as priorities, while others place a potential employee’s background that demonstrates a history of successful digital marketing campaigns as a priority. As you can see, there is not a straightforward answer.
Even though providing a “yes or no” answer is complicated, there are a few aspects that all employers agree on. An individual that is applying for a position as an online marketing professional is more likely to keep updated with what’s new in the industry and what current trends are valid. Also, most employers prefer marketing professionals with some certification that is related to the field as it assures them that they will be working with someone that is “in the know.”
However, for these aspects being favorable depends partially on the applicant, you. Only being certified is not an automatic job. However, it can still be beneficial, and many that have completed certification programs have stated that the certification has helped them to find the job they were looking for. Marketing Consultant Brad Tonoff is a perfect example.
Tonoff completed ASMS, Advanced Social Media Strategy, Certification before finding the job he was looking for. Though it did take him a while to find his targeted job, mostly due to Tonoff being selective in the jobs he was looking for, he eventually was hired as a marketing specialist for an insurance company and a media consultant for an advertising agency. Here is Tonoff’s full story.
Beating the Competition
Here is an absolute fact regarding our question, the digital/online marketing field is booming and booming big. There are some very lucrative job options on the market for the right candidate. However, this is widely known, meaning there are plenty of people, many of whom are as equally qualified as you, applying for those positions. Additionally, there are currently no standard requirements for interested applicants, including those with limited knowledge of the industry. With that in mind, you need to make yourself shine above your peers.
There are a few ways you can go about standing above your peers when applying for a position in this industry. Demonstrating your ability to generate an online presence with your website, having a basic understanding of graphic design and HTML, and probably one of the best ways is by obtaining your certification.
Now that we have considered all of the different factors, we can now make the determination that yes, having a certification in online marketing does hold value towards finding a career in the marketing field.
However, having just a certification does little if you do not have the experience to show your new employer that you know more than the only terminology of the marketing industry, but you also know how to use marketing strategies to provide results and an ROI for your employer.