Last week was results week, which means that tons of bright young things across the country found out whether or not they got into their university of choice. The inevitable ‘results don’t mean anything!’ and ‘is university worth it?’ debates continue to rage, but whatever your view on the topic, one thing’s for sure – there are tons of different routes you can take to get your dream career.
If your dream career involves digital marketing, then that’s definitely true. Digital marketing is a fast-paced and exciting world, and there are lots of different ways that you can get involved, from relevant degrees to apprenticeships and self-learning.
In this blog we’re going to break down some of the different ways you can get into digital marketing by chatting to the GIANTs about how they got here. Keep an eye out for some tools you can use to teach yourself the tricks of the trade from the comfort of your own home. We’re nice like that, you see.
Justine Robson – Head of Client Services
I initially dropped out of university after starting a degree in music, but quickly realised that I didn’t want to be a teacher – and if I continued to study music, that is what I’d become. I started working at New Look to make some money and figure out what I wanted to do and ended up falling in love with retail. I knew I was smart enough to go to university (and I wanted to get out of Dover) so found a retail marketing degree. I didn’t have a huge passion for marketing at the time, but it turned out that, through doing the course, marketing became my new passion.
I don’t think my degree helped me with my job here specifically, but I think it opened up the right doors. I learnt a lot more here in my first year at work than I did during the 3 years I was at university, but uni gave me the opportunity to learn a lot of life lessons – so I don’t regret going!
Reuben Elman – Digital Marketing Apprentice
Initially, I was doing A levels – in government & politics, business and psychology – but it sucked. Badly. I realised I was over the whole teachers and school thing, so I left after my first year. I had to go find something to do after because I was 17 and needed to be in ‘full-time’ education until I was 18. Although apprenticeships have a stigma attached I found that colleges, especially in my local area, weren’t offering what I wanted, so they were out of the running. I did some research and learnt that you can do degree level apprenticeships so opted for that; not with any particular focus on digital marketing, but more of a focus on the sort of business I wanted to work for (dress codes were a big no-no).
I saw an advert for SGM so looked into the business, and realised it was the one. The subject matter is interesting, and I could link the psychology stuff I did in school to the whole marketing deal – which is pretty cool. Plus, I get to do training in a super swanky building in central London, and there are snacks. After being here, without a shadow of a doubt I wouldn’t move industries in the foreseeable future.
Lee Hutton – Senior Commercial Manager
I started working straight out of school – no education for me – doing things like managing pubs and a bunch of other jobs, until I started working for the KM. This was the start of a career in traditional print and niche magazines where I focused on sales, until one day I realised I was fed up – so I quit my job to look for something that got me excited. I thought that would be a marketing role, and three months later I got a job in digital marketing at Sleeping Giant Media.
Since being here, I’ve completed a CIM Marketing Level 6 course, which had tons of useful stuff in. However, I didn’t do the digital module as I felt I learnt more here on the job – so could supplement the course with learnings from my day-to-day role.
Ben Carr – PA to the Directors
I did the traditional college and university route, with a focus on things like film and animation, but also supplemented this with work roles in retail settings and pubs. While the courses I did gave me creative skills in those industries, the management and organisation skills I gained proved to be most important, and something that transfers well to tons of different industries. It’s these abilities that got me the job at Sleeping Giant Media (well, that and making an intro video which I sent with my application!).
We use things like people skills, customer service and managing workloads every day without realising, and it’s these foundations for work which can prove really key to success – especially when industry-specific methods can be fairly easily taught.
Germano Cunha – Search Account Executive
I did a degree in Economics initially, before starting a masters in marketing in Canterbury. I was drawn to marketing because I wanted to do something more tangible and practical, and something where I could be creative.
I think my marketing course has helped me in the workplace because digital marketing and traditional marketing have a lot in common, so a basic understanding of marketing, in general, gave me a helping hand. I noticed that people at SGM were using some of the lingo I knew from university, like USPs and E-commerce, so it helped me to get to grips with the company side of things faster. However, digital marketing is a whole world that needs discovering, so I continue to prioritise learning through research – like I did outside my university courses. Knowledge and experience are crucial in the digital world.
Amy Kolsteren – Brand and Marketing Executive
My journey into digital marketing started by teaching myself elements in order to promote my own business. I knew that I wanted to expand my photography business and that getting online would help me do that – so I turned to things like Facebook groups and Google’s Digital Garage platform to teach myself digital marketing.
Through Facebook, I found GIANT Campus and went on one of their free courses to get a jump start. I focused on things like social media and SEO, which I used to help boost my website. I also pestered my previous boss at my product photography job to let me do their social media to get more experience, giving me relevant skills to put on my CV – which ultimately helped me to get a job here!
Hopefully, we’ve given you some inspiration on all the different ways you can get into digital marketing, as well as some tools like Digital Garage if you’re keen to start building these skills at home. Ready to start your career in the big, bright world of digital? Don’t forget to check out our recruitment opportunities – who knows, maybe you could become our next GIANT!
Our sister company GIANT Campus has also teamed up with Runway Training to offer digital marketing apprenticeships for those looking to gain real-world experience in an agency – you can find out more about that on their website! When talking about the importance of learning, they said:
“Learning digital skills can be one of the most fun-filled things you’ll ever do, but it’s important to remember that digital evolves rapidly – and therefore your knowledge needs to as well. We are big believers in learning through doing, which is why our digital workshops have a mix of practical and theoretical elements. Our advice is to get out there and do! Keeping up with digital trends is what’ll really help when it comes to getting into a digital career.”
Still got some time? Why not read one of our previous blogs: