Digital marketing courses and certifications to help you learn and grow in the industry

Please note: This article was first published on the Simon Fraser University Communication Student Union's website.

Marketing has become increasingly dynamic over the past 15 years and we haven’t seen it change this much since the TV was invented. Why? It’s simple if you haven’t guessed it already, the Internet. It has changed how businesses work and has improved efficiencies in almost everything we see today. This article will not cover how awesome the Internet is – because we already know that. I’m writing this article to help figure out the questions that confused me for so long while I was in university. “I am studying Marketing/Communications and what I am learning does not correlate with what is being posted on job opportunities. How will I land that first job and grow my marketing career if I don’t even know what ‘call to actions’, ‘conversion rates’, ‘bounce rates’, ‘sessions’ or ‘e-mail click throughs’ are? Or more so, how do companies expect me to know how to use Google Analytics, Hootsuite, WordPress and HubSpot?” Trust me. I was incredibly confused and didn’t know where to begin. Not to fear, I am here (sorry bad joke). So, this article will cover essential certifications you should have that will allow you to learn and grow in the digital marketing industry and get ahead of your competition. You can also take their certification exam so when you pass, which serves as validation that you can add to your resume.

Photo Credit:  Apaxo

Photo Credit: Apaxo

There are A LOT of courses you can take but which ones are quintessential? I have funnelled them down and I’d like to present to you, 5 digital marketing courses you should take to advance your marketing career:

  • Digital Analytics Fundementals: It’s easy to do things online but what if you can’t measure it? What if you think you wrote this awesome blog that everyone will read but nobody does. Or what if you wrote something and they only see your page for 10 seconds? The Google Digital Analytics Fundamentals course will teach you to understand the ‘core principles of digital analytics’. Trust me, this will take you very very far. One of the best things I did was take this course and it has helped in so many ways. Plus, having a Google Certificate doesn’t harm anyone does it? Especially if the course is free! Once you have taken this course, go ahead and do others, if you enjoyed what you learned.
  • Inbound Certification from HubSpot: I can not stress enough how cool this course is. It gives you a wonderful overview of inbound marketing and the inbound ‘methodology’. Yes, it didn’t make sense to me too at first. “From the essentials of optimizing a website, to landing page best practices to smarketing, these classes are the bread and butter of what inbound is all about” (via HubSpot). So, there you go, HubSpot explained it better. You get to learn about ‘smarketing’. Yes, ‘smarketing’. Taking this course really helped my understanding of inbound and the unbelievable difference it can make on creating your online marketing campaigns.
  • Hootsuite Certification: Everyone wants to do social media but there’s been times where I wondered how to do it properly. Hootsuite is an influencer in social media and for good reason too. Over 10 million users using their social media dashboard. Yep, that’s 10,000,000 people using it. They have Hootsuite University that is an excellent program to get you started on how to use social media properly, especially if you’re going to be using it for a business. You will become the face and image of that company and you don’t want to have a bad face or image. Not only will you be an expert on social media after taking the course, but you would also have learned how to use the best social media dashboard out there (unbiased opinion).
  • Market Motive: They have a vast array of courses and their certifications are trusted by massive global brands such as Microsoft and HP. They offer courses in web analytics. SEO, PPC, social media, mobile content, conversion and display. It is pricey to take these courses so my recommendation is that you pay the monthly fee, take the courses you want, get certified, and just stop paying. This means you will really have to be committed to do all your training in a month. But I have faith in you, you can do this 
  • Google Analytics Platform Principles: Using another Google course as my last recommended certification really shows the importance I give to data in terms of your marketing goals. Having the creative ability to create your plan is one thing, but if you can figure out the user behaviour of how it did, I promise you it will boost your professional skill set in many ways. This course will go a little more in depth of web analytics and help you measure success in real time. It’s really helpful.

So, there you have it. 5 courses/certifications I think are crucial for people in the digital marketing industry or for individuals that want to learn more to see if this is the right fit. I know procrastination can get the better of you but just give one of them a shot. See how it goes.

I really hope you enjoyed reading this and I'd love to chat more. As always, we can chat about this on Twitter @hasnainr9 or leave a comment below. I really want to know your thoughts on digital marketing courses online and your recommendations!