The stereotype out there is that tech companies only hire programmers and developers.
It’s time we updated some of these beliefs, and let’s start by saying that it’s possible to build a career in tech without necessarily learning jQuery, Ruby on the Rails, or WordPress themes.
We’re talking about digital marketing, a creative role that lets you make big-picture plans, spend days chatting up fans on Facebook or Instagram, and write brilliant copies.
Why Should You Consider a Career in Digital Marketing?
As a digital marketer, you’re not just limited to working with tech companies. If anything, you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful business (let alone a company) that isn’t already investing in digital marketing.
Businesses are trying their best to keep up with the first-paced world of marketing. With each day comes the new challenge to stay in tune with the ever-evolving digital footprint.
The question isn’t whether digital marketing is a viable career path, but how to best get started with it.
Enters General Assembly
In digital marketing, your skills are your most valuable assets, and General Assembly is here to guide you on how to best acquire them.
It’s the skills you acquire along the way that will qualify you for digital marketing jobs and even get you promoted to a more advanced position within your organization.
What’s General Assembly, and How Does it Work?
Founded in 2011, General Assembly is an education facility with fifteen physical campuses distributed in four continents (Europe, Asia, America, and Australia). Each of these campuses offers courses in digital marketing, coding, web development, visual design, data science, business management, and user experience.
Those enrolling with General Assembly are allowed to choose from their immersive programs in digital marketing (10 to 13 weeks, full-time), software engineering, data science, user experience design, and part-time courses on other business and tech topics, and one-off events and workshops.
General Assembly’s Online Courses
General Assembly also offers the option to enroll for their online courses to those who can’t access their physical campuses.
As far as their online offerings go, they have:
- An immersive software engineering course, which runs for about 12 weeks
- A full-stack web development course, which runs also runs for 12 weeks
- A series of on-demand online classes and part-time online courses that you’re free to complete at your own pace
Having mentioned all that, what are the pros and cons of kickstarting your digital marketing career with General Assembly?
The Pros and Cons of Kickstarting Your Digital Marketing Career with General Assembly
With General Assembly, there nothing like one-size-fits-all, as with many other online schools offering digital marketing courses. General Assembly stands out for its flexibility.
Learners don’t have to follow a strictly laid out learning program. They’re instead allowed to:
- Choose between online or on-campus classes. They also organise immersive boot camps that add to their flexibility.
- Choose their part-time courses if you have a hard time adjusting to their full-time program.
- Enroll for an on-demand, self-pacing online course. This option saves you the pressure of being forced to rush through the course.
Whatever your time availability, learning time, and model of learning you prefer, General Assembly has a tier that can snugly accommodate your needs, at least to a point.
They have one of the most flexible learning models you’ll ever come across.
General Assembly’s Courses Are Well Organised and Structured
One would expect a catch-22. But General Assembly is too smart for this.
It’s hard to offer flexibility and structure at the same time. One has to come at the expense of the other.
Lack of structure is a common problem among many online classes. Many of the a la carte platforms will give you a ton of online courses, but there’ll be no thread guiding you on how to secure a job with the skills you’d have learned at the end of it all.
You’re on your own once you’re done with a particular course.
That’s not the case with General Assembly.
You’ll encounter your 99 problems, but lack of structure wouldn’t be one.
No matter what class you choose to enroll, General Assembly guarantees a well-defined format, syllabus, and schedule, designed as part of their overall brand curriculum.
They offer a lot of choices and course styles, but within a structured environment that works to ensure that you’re able to complete the course after a particular set period.
A Developed Curriculum, Updated In-house
Unlike many online coding schools that curate their curriculum online, Genera Assembly has an in-house team that’s tasked with the role of updating their curriculum.
That means all their courses are always fresh and relevant.
Platforms that curate their curriculum from third party sources will update their content and keep everything fresh. But General Assembly goes a step further by offering you the best of what’s available.
It’s never a hit or miss process as everything has to be tested and regulated. And it doesn’t just end at that; they’re equally as concerned about the quality of their teaching instructors.
Their Courses are Pricey
It’s no doubt General Assembly has some of the best courses on digital marketing. Everything about them sounds good so far. But let’s not deny the fact that their courses are a bit overpriced.
At the time of this writing, here’s what they charge for the digital marketing courses in Singapore:
- Their 40 hours digital marketing course in Singapore goes for a total of S$5500 – not cheap when you consider that you can get an almost similar course on Udemy for less than $50.
- Their full-time on-campus course cost at approximately S$15, 000
- Their full-time online software engineering course goes for about S$14, 000
- While their on-demand online courses cost about S$1, 300
That’s a bit on the higher-end for students who want to pursue a career in digital marketing.
Of course, once you finish the course and start working, you should be able to recoup your money back in no time. But in as far as online digital marketing schools in Singapore go, their rates are far from what can be considered affordable.
General Assembly’s Free Courses and Dash
Would you like to get hands-on General Assembly’s courses without committing yourself to the high price tags?
Well, you should try signing up for their free workshops, as well as their Dash programs, their free online crash courses on web basics.
Make no mistake: these free courses are surprisingly high quality, enough to kickstart your career as a digital marketer in Singapore.
General Assembly is always professional, even with their free courses and their GA Dash programs.
General Assembly Locations
General Assembly has 18 physical campuses, distributed in four continents. However, they do not offer all their programs at all their locations.
General Assembly’s Digital Marketing Courses
General Assembly offers a series of digital marketing courses focused on helping learners drive sales.
They have full-time courses, short-terms, courses, and self-paced courses that you can sign up for today, either online or on-campus.
General Assembly’s Digital Marketing Course
This course is all about providing learners with hands-on skills on how to plan, measure, execute, and optimise their digital marketing campaigns across different media.
What’s covered in this course: paid advertising, content marketing, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing.
Part-time course: 5 weeks
Location: Online only
Part-time Digital Marketing Course
This is a course for students with a basic understanding of marketing. The course was designed to teach them how to utilise Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and conduct effective SEO across the various digital channels better.
The course also includes design and how to execute a comprehensive digital marketing plan.
Part-Time: 1 to 10 Weeks
Location: On-campus or online
Fees: About $3900
How Much Does General Assembly Charge for their Digital Marketing Courses?
General Assembly’s digital marketing courses cost between $750 and $15, 950 depending on the length of the class and the topic covered.
Payments can be made via bank wire, cheques, credit cards, debit cards, or PayPal.
They have a minimum down payment for each course, with the option of completing the rest of the fees in instalments.
|10 to 12 Weeks
|$13, 500 to $15, 950
|1 to 10 weeks
|$750 to $3950
|3 to 6 hours
|$99 to $250
|Events and GA Dash
|2 to 4 hours
General Assembly’s Instructors
Don’t just assume anything. Your instructor can either make or break your experience or drive as an aspiring digital marketer.
As we said, General Assembly has one of the most developed curriculums. But that’s only one part of what makes them great.
The other part is the quality of their instructors. If you’re planning to enrol for their full-time offerings, then be prepared to spend much of your time listening to the assigned course instructors, an experience that might turn out to be great or far from it.
The quality of your classes is wholly dependent on the instructor you get. Unfortunately, not everyone who’s gone through General Assembly’s learning program agrees that their instructors are always great.
While some have had a better experience with instructors, a few have expressed their dissatisfaction with the instructors they got, terming them cheesy and salesy.
Our best advice:
Please do some research about the instructors you get, especially on their credentials. Ask around for some reviews or visit online forums and other platforms to find out what other people have to say about them.
So again, any time you’re thinking about signing up for any General Assembly’s course, give yourself some time to research about the course materials. Learn whatever you can find about the instructors on the list, and make sure you have answers for every question in your mind before clicking on that checkout button.
6 Pro Tips for Landing a Digital Marketing Specialist Job
General Assembly takes pride in having learning facilities that are laser-focussed on transforming regular people with a zeal to master digital marketing into professional marketers. Thousands of renowned marketers from all across the globe are alumni of these facilities.
Like any other course, landing the first job is usually a challenge to most people. Luckily, the Singapore advertising market was estimated to be worth SGD 2.29 billion in 2018. Thousands of businesses invest thousands of dollars in various forms of digital marketing to generate leads and compete effectively with other brands.
At any given time, there are more than 1,000 openings in the digital marketing facet. Here are pro tips to help you land a lucrative job as a digital marketer.
1. Be Bold and Confident in Your Skills
The only way brands will trust you to create and run digital marketing campaigns is if you show you are confident in your skills and capabilities. As a new digital marketer, it is tempting to compare yourself to peers and professionals who have been in the industry for years.
Well, there is no harm in comparing yourself with them, but understand that your career path and aspirations are different. The same applies to your skill set – General Assembly courses are comprehensive and tailored to match the current job market needs.
Therefore, don’t fall into this trap of feeling insufficient and discouraged. Start your search with an optimistic and abundance mentality. When your application is rejected, remind yourself there are hundreds if not thousands of other opportunities out there ready for taking.
Step out of your comfort zone with utmost confidence that you have what it takes to help companies realize their full potential. Before we proceed, it’s important to note that fancy internships, college grades and professional hands-on experience are not comparable to your authentic personality and communication skills.
While it true most companies are focussed on hard skills and knowledge acquired from digital marketing courses, the soft skills you possess are equally important. For example, Google is keen on hiring experts who not only have academic qualifications and relevant experience, but also desirable soft skills. They include;
- Being a good coach
- Ability to listen and communicate well
- Ability to offer valuable insights and take criticism positively
- Critical thinking
- Ability to network and establish cordial connections with industry leaders
Concisely, be persistent and persuasive in your quest to become the best digital marketer in your niche. Establish a good rapport with the interviewers and work on your resume to increase the chances of getting hired.
2. Select an Ideal Digital Marketing Career Path
Digital marketing is really broad – you cannot be a master of everything. As you embarking on creating a successful career in this field, decide the ideal career path. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to make the right decision:
- What do I like doing?
- Which type of digital marketing I’m good at?
- Do I work best in a team or solo?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses
- Am I more analytical or creative
Please try to answer these questions truthfully. If you cannot find a straight answer to any of them, take a few days or weeks to think about it. Different digital marketing disciplines have varying career paths. Even though, it is recommendable to be flexible when applying for the first job, ensuring that your strengths and interests to a particular digital marketing facet/discipline will pay you the highest dividends.
For instance, as an entry-level digital marketing specialist, you will be assigned tasks such as carrying out search engine optimisation, conversion rate optimisation, paid search, content marketing, social media marketing and many more.
The roles are multi-faceted and to be successful you will need vast experience in different disciplines. Accepting this role is a perfect way of kick-starting your career on the right foot. It will reward you with invaluable hands-on experience and skills that will supercharge your career growth.
We recommend that you focus on 2-4 disciplines that are highly specialised to tell your story in the resume. Here is a list of the most sort after digital marketing skills and the tools you need to master them.
- Digital Analytics – Tools include Optimizely, Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics
- Search Engine Optimisation – Tools include Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Moz
- Content Marketing – Tools include Yoast SEO Plug-in and WordPress
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Tools include Bing Ads and Google Adwords
- Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Tools include LinkedIn Ads Hootsuite, Twitter Ads, and Facebook Ads
- Web Development – Tools include Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress
- Project Management – Tools include Timeforce, Trello, JIRA, and Basecamp
- Email Marketing – Mailchimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact
- Affiliate Marketing – Impact Radius and CJ developed by Conversant
- Marketing Automation – Tools Include Pardot, Bronto, and Marketo
The tools are technologically advanced and help perform tasks that were previously impossible to do or done manually. That said, don’t ignore the other conventional tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. They will help you carry out daily chores such as writing blogs and preparing reports.
3. Start as a Freelance Digital Marketer
Now that you are confident about your ability to create a high-performance digital marketing campaign and know your ideal career path, the next thing you need to do is establish valuable connections.
After successfully acing your digital marketing courses at one of the General Assembly facilities, it’s time to create connections by working as a freelancer. The jobs will give you an opportunity to put your knowledge and skills to the test.
Don’t focus on making thousands of dollars per month, but helping brands increase their online presence in return for recommendations and experience. You will be surprised by the number of small business owners who are not conversant with digital marketing. Your skills, zeal, and experience will come in handy.
Be sure to track the results achieved from the various strategies to continuously fine-tune them. With commitment and discipline, you will soon become a top rated digital marketer every business in your city yearns to bring on-board.
Upwork, Freelancer, and FlexJobs are best known for providing the best freelancing gigs for digital marketers. As expected, you will be competing for these jobs with other marketers from different parts of the world.
The secret to getting hired on these platforms is creating succinct cover letters and showing samples that match the client’s requirements. Don’t shy away from showing off your skills and experience in using tools such as Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Landing jobs is not suffice to become an expert digital marketer. Strive to sharpen your personal brand and establish cordial working relationships with other freelancers. Remember to include the jobs in your portfolio to stand out from the crowd.
If possible, lookout for companies and brands that are considered an authority in their respective industries. Add them in your resume and LinkedIn profile, and even though the professional experience you will get may not be considered as official but some employers, it will show that you determined to become a pro.
Concisely, one of the highlights of digital marketing industry is that your background is irrelevant if you cannot show tangible results. The experience accrued working a freelance digital marketer will be instrumental in helping you get invited for the first interview.
4. Preparing for Digital Marketing Interview
Congratulations! You finally received your first invitation to a digital marketing interview. All the time spent studying and working as a freelancer is about to repay. Your dream to working as a marketer in an official capacity is finally coming to fruition.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Interviewing is about preparing and planning well ahead of time. The more confident and comfortable you are in your digital marketing skills, experience and personality, the higher your chances of impressing the interviewers and getting hired.
Here is a series of tips to help you prepare for a digital marketing job interview.
- Research the company: Take the time to learn everything about the company from the history, core values, current financial status, the executive team and the CEO. Evaluate its current digital marketing strategy and list down actionable ways of making it better.
- Ensure your Resume Resonates with the Role: Simply put, your resume should be a breathing and living document that matches the roles. Structure it well using bulletin points and short paragraphs to describe your experience. Make it stand out by adding several selective truths.
- Prepare for Situation Questions: These questions are meant to gauge your ability to handle challenges and achieve the desired results. For example, tell me about a time when you had to pause Google ads or conduct a site migration?
- List all the plausible questions and answer them comprehensively. Most applicants botch them – impress the interviewers by nailing them. Apply the STAR technique, which entails Situation, Task, Action, and Results to prove you are a critical thinker and resourceful. Click here to see top situation interview questions and insights on how to answer them well.
- Prepare for a Thorough Digital Marketing Assessment: Most companies will give you a digital marketing assessment to further evaluate your skills and suitability for the job. For instance, you may be asked to set up a PPC campaign, edit landing page CSS and HTML, carry out keyword research and organisation.
The goal is to be prepared for anything and everything when going for the interview. Be sure to dress well, radiate confidence and optimism.
5. Negotiating the First Salary
So, you crushed the interview and the company decides to shortlist you for the final phase of the hiring process – negotiating the salary. Your excited and super pumped to start working in this company and your dreams are finally coming true! Images of your office desk, attending high-end meetings with the top management staff stream in your mind.
Not so quick though, hold on just for a second.
Stay focussed to the course and let the excitement die down as you prepare to negotiate the terms and first salary. The worst mistake you can make is to accept the initial offer. Yes, the company wants you to join the marketing department and this is your first time to get a formal job offer letter. But!
Repeat after me: The first offer is usually not the best offer. Even though getting your foot in the company and gaining experience is more important than the money – know your worth and let the interviewers know your expectations.
Stop the guess work and use tools such as LinkedIn Salary to know what other companies are paying for the same position in your city.
6. Get Down to Business
If you applied all the five tips discussed above, there is a high chance that you got hired. You finally did it! A quick recap, you enrolled for General Assembly Online Digital Marketing Course, worked as a freelancer, and connected with industry leaders.
Focus on providing utmost value to the employer to climb up the ladder and get a six or even seven-figure salary. As you work as a digital marketing specialist, network with other professionals by attending conferences and other events related to marketing.
Pay attention to the key performance indicators the company use to gauge your performance. Join other experts in the department to work as a team. Strive to accomplish projects within the agreed timeframe and always offer valuable insights to the management team to contribute positively to the growth of the company.
The Take Away
General Assembly offers quality classes on digital marketing for full-time and part-time learners (online and on-campus). The problem is the steep prices.
While some people may find the program worth it, especially those looking for on-campus experience, there are other online digital marketing schools whose rates are more affordable. Some of these schools even allow for a higher degree of self-pacing.
Clearly, landing the first job as a digital marketing specialist is not rocket science. The journey is not easy but you are destined for greatness if you apply these six strategies. As mentioned, there are thousands of opportunities waiting for you on the other side. All you got to do is prepare well, be open-minded, flexible, focussed, and determined. In the digital marketing realm, the sky is not the limit, you’re the one who set the limits for yourself and the company.