Are Digital Marketing Schools Worth the Work?

Are Digital Marketing Schools Worth the Work?

This article is highly relevant for any reader of this blog–that is, anyone considering a school with a digital marketing program. It examines the challenges faced by members of a new academic field, which arise within universities and in the job market beyond. The field has grown and evolved by leaps and bounds since the article was written in 2009, but the problems are far from solved for undergrads and graduates alike.

On top of the author’s analysis, she points out that digital is “woefully under-represented in academia”–that is, people aren’t choosing to major in it. Some progress has been made on this issue, as enrollment in the programs has increased in the last three years, but numerous concerns remain. Is the still-small and admittedly specialized field reflective of an unimpressive job market? Are grads narrowing their options too much by choosing not to go with the broader-reaching and better-understood degree in regular old marketing? Will they need to spend an extra semester slugging through computer science and IT courses?

I’m just finishing a digital course on Tuesday. While I’m no expert and I don’t have a job in the field, I can at least offer my perspective. Having attended talks staffed by national companies (a top achiever in their industry), I’ve seen questions answered quickly and confidently–but my professor has hinted that the company representatives didn’t really demonstrate a thorough understand of what they were doing.

This is critical because the internet and the mobile network offer the unprecedented opportunity to bring consumers to the point of sale anywhere that they might access the internet–so, well, anywhere. This market can only demand increasing numbers of jobs in the field as the internet becomes even more integrated with our lives in the coming decades. Choosing the degree over one in marketing is done for the same reasons students are generally advised against general business–if you’re going to get a degree, get it in something, say employers.

The author also describes the state of the programs (many in their first years) in 2009, discussing the substandard quality of education and outdated teaching methods of professors often less qualified to work in the field than their students. I can’t comment on this, because, as I’ve been trying to demonstrate all these weeks, the University of Michigan-Dearborn really is a top school to get a degree in digital marketing. I have been provided with a complex understanding of the largest slices of the pie of knowledge, and applied them throughout the semester. Particularly now, after taking four degree requirements in four months, I have nothing to say of my professors at the close of the semester. I feel restless to get out of the classroom–before the market changes too fast.

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