Acquiring a set of good digital marketing skills is a sure way to futureproof your career in the dynamic marketing industry which has significantly shifted towards digital-based marketing. Equipped with the right skills, there are plenty of career opportunities you can explore within the field of digital marketing. You can become a digital marketing specialist, digital analyst, social media manager, SEO specialist, or content writer, amongst other roles.
If the world of digital excites you and you wish to pursue a career in it, your starting point is choosing a suitable qualification or learning programme to help you attain digital marketing skills. And if you find yourself at crossroads about whether to take up a digital marketing short course or to go the route of studying towards an entire degree, then read on to discover which option is better suited for you.
Understand first what purpose each type of programme serves so that you can decide if it aligns with your educational and career goals at the level you are now. Also, consider the main reason why you’d like to pursue knowledge of digital marketing; are you looking to establish a career from the ground up or do you want to upskill?
The difference between a short course and a degree
A short course, or short learning programme, serves to upskill one, providing more advanced skills in a specific area and is usually taken up to fulfill professional development needs. As some industries continue to evolve (like marketing), and job roles change in the digital revolution, an upgrade of knowledge and skills is essential for professionals to keep up with new industry norms and professional standards.
A digital marketing short course can be useful in this regard, helping one improve or learn digital skills specific to their line of work and in a shorter period than a formal qualification – thus, adding greater value to a company’s digital experience. For instance, you may be a marketing professional, for instance, with years and years’ worth of experience, but that doesn’t automatically make you competent for a role in the digital marketing space.
If you already have a generic marketing degree, a digital marketing short course will come in handy as an add-on, giving you a specific focus on digital marketing. And, it will future proof your marketing skills as the future of marketing itself is digital.
So, in addition to your traditional marketing skills, you need to learn about digital marketing functions and tools to gain an understanding of the different channels and ways in which businesses can interact with customers online. A digital marketing short course is your key to unlocking a role in the digital world.
Regard a digital marketing short course as merely a skills-development programme, not a formal qualification. This means you’ll be doing it to gain specific skills or knowledge, and not a full-on qualification. What’s more, it will score you a brownie point before your potential employer for the fact that you take your profession seriously and have set out to acquire relevant skills to meet a high professional standard. While your digital marketing course may not be formally recognised or hold the weight of a degree, it can be of great value in your job and career.
Short courses are not for corporate-working professionals only. It’s a good idea to study a digital marketing short course if you’re a business owner, for example. There are good reasons why every small business owner should study a digital marketing course. The short course will enable you to gain the knowledge and skills you need to manage the digital marketing aspects of your business and grow its online presence from strength to strength. Millions of people using the internet are constantly conducting searches for products and services, so you need to take advantage of digital marketing channels and tools to make your business visible and relevant.
On the other hand, a degree is a full-length academic programme with a formal qualification that builds the broad and foundational knowledge for one to enter a field and be able to explore different jobs. A degree typically covers many subjects, making one a well-rounded individual with a holistic knowledge about a field.
Higher education academic programmes such as a degree from part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) which is described as a formal system describing qualifications and its purpose is “to enable national recognition of acquired skills and knowledge, thereby ensuring an integrated system that encourages life-long learning,” according to SAQA. A digital marketing degree will give you a solid foundation and it will require a lot of commitment.
Factors to consider
Duration – The average length of a digital marketing course, or any other course, is between three to six months. For a working professional, this doesn’t take up too much time from their job, allowing one to brush up their digital marketing skills in no time. If you already have a career going and a qualification, it’s more feasible to do a course instead.
A digital marketing degree or diploma, however, will take you about 2 to 3 years to complete. Being formal qualifications, they require a far greater commitment of your time attending classes, working on assignments, studying, and writing exams, all of which culminates in graduation and an accredited qualification. A degree is one of the greatest rewarding career-building tools. If you’re fresher figuring out a career path and you intend to work in the digital space, going for a digital marketing degree is an excellent idea.
Tuition – Higher education academic programmes such as a degree cost tens of thousands of Rands. On the contrary, a digital marketing short course costs a fraction of a degree.
Accreditation – Short courses are not NQF Level rated or assigned credits as per Council on Higher Education (CHE) regulations. A digital marketing degree would be an NQ7 Level 7 qualification.
Digital marketing short courses in South Africa
Only a handful of education providers in South Africa offer an actual digital marketing degree or diploma. However, there are numerous online digital marketing short courses out there offered by private institutions and even universities.
Among the best digital marketing courses in South Africa you will find, is the one from Digital Regenesys. Offered both as a self-paced or live course, this short course is comprehensive and great for levelling up your digital marketing skills. It has international certification, too.
What you can expect to be covered in the course curriculum:
• An Introduction to Digital Marketing Terminologies, Definitions, And Concepts
• The Evolution of Digital Marketing
• Digital Marketing on Facebook, Google, Linkedin, And Youtube
• Advertising Via Instagram, Twitter, and Other Emerging Social Media Platforms
• Digital Marketing Campaign Management, Search Engine Optimisation, And Web Analytics
• Mobile Marketing
• Email Marketing
• Developing Digital Marketing Strategy to Gain a Strategic Competitive Advantage
• Digital Marketing Critical Success Factors
In conclusion Ultimately, choose the type of course that aligns with your educational and career goals. How much time, money or energy are you willing to invest? One thing for sure is that digital marketing skills are a must-have operating in the digital space, so a digital marketing short course, or degree, is an excellent idea.