How Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree helped me get a job

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.
— Earl Nightingale

Whew, what a ride the last three months have been after graduating from Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree. In a nutshell, I finally got the job I wanted, was able to refresh my web development skills by finishing the Google Developer Challenge Scholarship (which hopefully will get me Udacity’s Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree scholarship) and I became a Slack Admin for the Digital Marketing Nanodegree program.

If you’ve read my other blog posts, you might have noticed that I quit my Master’s degree earlier this year. I was deeply frustrated about only being taught in theory. I already knew that I wanted to pursue a career in digital marketing, but neither had I much knowledge nor any relevant work experience yet.

To pay my bills, I first started working part-time as a mailman for six months and then got an office job at a power plant, where I was responsible for maintaining databases. I didn’t care much about what the work was like or what others thought about it as long as I was able to make a living and had enough time to prepare for an entry position in digital marketing.

I started absorbing the basics with Google’s Digital Garage. After receiving my certificate, I gave it a shot and applied for some entry-level positions. I knew that the document alone wouldn’t be sufficient, but after all, I already had a college degree and quite some work experience from past internships, even though they weren’t directly related.

None of the applications I sent for a junior position received a positive response, which came as no real surprise. Some companies offered me a sales-related vacancy instead. I was pondering for a while whether to accept the offer but eventually turned it down, since my goal was to become a digital marketer, not a sales representative.

I thought long and hard about applying for an internship as well. However, I had already done two six-month long internships as a product manager at two large corporations in the consumer goods industry during my undergraduate studies. It might have helped to get a job faster, but to be frank, I was fed up being an intern.

The question is, how to get enough experience to get a job without a job?

Fortunately, digital marketing is one of the few areas where you don’t need much prior knowledge to get started. It can be tough at times trying to make sense of the information available on the internet and connect the dots. To get practice applying the techniques and tactics, I started building my first blog.

Instead of making my live easy and rely on a content management system or website builder, I thought making the whole thing from scratch would set me apart from other applicants and give me enough material to blog regularly.

Needless to say, that this wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made. In fact, I liked learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript but I spend way too much time on it. I’ve already taken the site offline, but it’s still available in one of my GitHub repositories.

Just for comparison: I built this blog with Squarespace and invested only a couple of hours in adapting the template to fit my needs. It’s already optimized for any devices’ size and loads incredibly fast. I could even change the underlying code with Squarespace’s remarkable developer platform if I wanted.

Unfortunately, my first blog wasn’t much of success, with high bounce rates and almost no returning visitors. Guess my plan didn’t consider that people might not be interested in what I had to offer.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
— Confucius

Time was flying by, and I knew I had to get more serious about learning digital marketing but didn’t just want to watch another video tutorial like Google’s Digital Garage. It’s nice to become familiar with the fundamentals, but it just doesn’t stick without practice.

Since I had already heard quite a bit about coding bootcamps, I was looking for something equivalent in the digital marketing space. With plenty of options to choose from, it’s hard to tell which one is worth the money. However, I had already taken some free classes from Udacity before building my blog, so I knew that the overall quality was above average and therefore decided to enroll in the Nanodegree program.

About three months later, at the end of September 2017, I successfully graduated from the course. I wrote an extensive review in case you’re interested in Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions whatsoever. I’d also love to hear about people following a similar path.

Finally, after graduation, I started applying for entry-level positions as a digital marketing manager again and eventually got some interviews. Yay! Though they barely asked about the Nanodegree directly, I was able to answer almost all marketing related questions more confidently, such as:

  • For what did you use AdWords / Facebook? What goals did you try to accomplish?
  • What was your target persona? What research did you do?
  • Which metrics did you analyze and why?
  • Why was your campaign successful/unsuccessful? What could you do differently?

I’m more than happy to share that as of 01.01.2018 I’m officially starting my new role as Executive Manager SEA at an agency specializing in digital marketing. It belongs to "one of the oldest and one of the largest marketing and communications companies in the world", the Publicis Groupe.

I haven’t stopped learning since finishing the course, got my Google AdWords Search Advertising certificate, and I’m currently striving to better understand Google Analytics by analyzing a friend’s online store data.

In my opinion, digital marketing is one of the most fascinating, dynamic, and multifaceted fields people could work in. To share my enthusiasm and experiences, I decided to set up my second blog. Luckily, this time people seem to like what I’m writing. Double yay!

Anyhow, I'm afraid I won't be able to post on a regular basis (mainly due to time constraints), though I’ll try releasing another article anytime soon!

Stay tuned and keep learning! 😊

Update: 11.03.2018

2,306 users viewed 4,144 pages since I released my first post on this very blog on October 9th, 2017. That’s amazing! It’s a lot more than I ever anticipated. I’m glad to see that my posts seem to provide valuable insights into Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree.

I’ve received many emails asking for some personal advice on the Nanodegree and other digital marketing related topics. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to answer all those questions right away, especially since I got the full Front-End Nanodegree scholarship. It’s challenging to keep up with the course after work and still manage to have some spare time. However, I will eventually answer every single email, even if it takes some time. Please be patient! 😊