Why I chose Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program over university and would do it again

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. 
— Steve Jobs

After graduating with a Bachelor of Economic Science, I wasn’t really sure what to do next. I knew that I liked marketing as a discipline, because it’s a great combination of both art and science. Plus, I had already done two internships as product manager for six months each. However, I wasn’t satisfied with what I had learned about marketing thus far, and some of my former colleagues advised me to go back to university to receive my Master of Science.

Unfortunately, shortly after I started my studies in Business Administration majoring in marketing, I was fairly frustrated. I wanted to specialize in marketing but not only absorb things in theory and be trained as a scientist. I was starving for practical experience, being able to try out the frameworks and theories I just learned about. Looking back, I’m not sure what I thought I’d get. After all, it’s called “Master of Science” for a reason.

While searching for alternatives, I was certain that just switching universities wouldn’t fix my problem.

If you’re going to learn plumbing go learn from a plumber who’s actually seen a pipe, has fixed a leak, not just written about pipes, and lectured on pipes, and researched pipes.
— Manoj Bhargava

To practice, it intuitively makes sense to get a job as fast as possible. The only crux is that you don’t get a job unless you can somehow show that hiring you is a good investment, i.e. that you bring in more money than you cost.

One way to increase your hireability is graduating from a renowned university or gaining professional experience in the field you want to work in, usually through internships. Until recently, the only other option was to learn on your own and apply your knowledge wherever possible (making websites for friends and family or maintaining your own blog for instance). But looking for structured information, like-minded people, and projects you can work on to get experience can be very intimidating and time-consuming.

Thanks to technology and people who question the status quo, it has become easier, more flexible, and less costly to get an education that not only teaches you the skills needed to excel in your industry but also lets you practice what you’ve learned right away. While there are many other options, I’ve decided to go with the Digital Marketing Nanodegree program offered by Udacity, for various reasons. Among others, they provide a modern and holistic approach with many opportunities to test and apply your know-how to get you job-ready as soon as possible.

There are still six chapters in front of me, which is why I’m going to write another more elaborate post evaluating my experience after I’ve finished the program. Make sure to drop by occasionally, or feel free to follow me.

On a final note, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying universities are generally a bad thing nor that I won’t ever get my Master of Science. It just turned out to be the wrong step at the wrong time for me.

Thanks for reading!


Update: I’ve graduated from Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program and released a comprehensive review about my experiences. Check it out!

The post was originally published in July 2017 on Medium.

Banner provided by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash.