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Digital Marketing Careers: Expert Advice on Top Jobs, Career Paths, & More


When it comes to high-growth marketing career opportunities, digital marketing is at the forefront. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the marketing field is projected to grow at a rate of 10%  through 2030, fueled by demand for digital marketing jobs such as seo specialist, social media coordinator, and marketing analyst. 

But what makes digital marketing truly special is that the barrier to entry is lower than ever and earning potential is strong. According to data from ZipRecruiter , the national average salary for a digital marketing manager is $71,914, and digital marketing directors can earn well over six figures. 

Read on to explore top digital marketing specialties, get expert advice on how to navigate your digital marketing career, and learn the steps you can take to land your first digital marketing job. 

Digital Marketing Jobs: A Specialization For Everyone

From search engine optimization (SEO) to social media, digital marketing has many online marketing subdomains. Here are some of the most common digital marketing jobs you can find on most marketing teams: 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you’ve ever used search engines such as Google or Bing and clicked on a blog post or other piece of content, that’s SEO at work. In a nutshell, SEO is optimizing websites and online content for search engines. SEO specialists work to drive unpaid traffic to websites and web pages related to their company’s product. 

How do you become an SEO marketer?

You do not need to earn a degree in marketing to become an SEO marketer. However, you need to know SEO marketing tools, how search engines work, and keep up to date with changes in the search engine algorithms. It also helps to build websites to get hands-on SEO experience to improve your website’s ranking and traffic. 

Email Marketing

According to Statista , over 300 billion emails were sent and received in 2020. Many of those emails were sent by email marketers. Email marketing specialists are responsible for building and maintaining email lists, sending emails, and tracking email performance. As a marketing channel, email is meant to retain and engage current and potential customers. 

How do you become an email marketer?

Because email marketing is a specialized domain in marketing, it helps to have a strong foundation in core business and marketing skills. These skills include analytics, copywriting, A/B testing, email design, and marketing strategy. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing uses social media platforms to build a brand, market products and services, and engage target audiences. According to a report by Sprout Social, 78% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand after having a positive experience on social media. 

“As a social media marketer, I’m responsible for making sure our followers are engaged,” said Livia Halltari, edX’s social media expert. “My job is to own the social media editorial calendar, manage communities, and work with the leadership team to set goals for our channel.”  

Content Marketing

Content marketers create and distribute web content such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, and whitepapers to a targeted audience. Their main responsibility is to create content that drives brand awareness, attracts customers, and drives engagement down the marketing funnel. They work closely with other marketing functions like social media, SEO, public relations, and email to generate content for each channel.  

How do you become a content marketer?

To become a content marketer, it’s essential to have a strong background in writing. Many content marketers get their start in journalism or content writing. That said, content marketers need to develop a strong understanding of marketing. The most important skills for content marketers include communications, writing, SEO, content management, and project management. 

Paid Marketing

Paid marketers, also known as advertising managers or pay per click (ppc) marketers, purchase ads on social media platforms and search engines to acquire customers. Paid ads are utilized by just about every business, from small mom-and-pop shops to large enterprises. 

Digital Marketing Career Paths: Advice From A Digital Marketing Expert

The most common way to progress in your digital marketing career is to gain expertise in a functional area like SEO, search engine marketing (SEM) such as Google ads, or Facebook ads. Once you’ve demonstrated success, you can then expand to a more acquisition-focused role (like targeting known customers on Facebook). Ultimately, however, your career choices should depend on your interests. But it might be easier to move up the ladder by starting your career in a digital marketing specialist position. 

"In my experience, the people that are very, very good at a specific role have the option to go broader or stay at that role."

“It’s important to strike a balance and not get pigeonholed in a specific area,” said Ken Berman, Director of Digital Marketing at edX. “But in my experience, the people that are very, very good at a specific role have the option to go broader or stay at that role.”  

How to Get An Entry-Level Digital Marketing Job: Upskill and Demonstrate Wins

Survey data from SparkToro revealed that only 25% of marketers today received a degree  in a relevant field. What matters most is your digital marketing skill set and whether you can showcase your success. Here are three ways to help you land your first full-time digital marketing position. 

1. Learn Marketing Fundamentals

According to Jeffrey Frohwein, instructor for Marketing Foundations and other courses in DoaneX’s Marketing Essentials MicroBachelors® Program, every good digital marketer needs to know traditional marketing fundamentals. 

“I am a big believer in the fundamentals of marketing, so a real grasp of what is positioning, branding strategy, and the 4P’s (place, price, product, and promotion) is vital,” said Frohwein. 

2. Hone Your Digital Marketing Skills

A strong foundational set of marketing skills is necessary to developing a specialization. This framework is known as a marketing t-shaped skill set. For digital marketers, some of the most important fundamental marketing skills are data analytics, strategy, and the ability to measure metrics and iterate. Among those skills, analytics is the bread and butter of digital marketing. 

"These days, it is critical for marketers to have a fundamental understanding of analyzing customer and market data in order to make informed decisions.”

“These days, it is critical for marketers to have a fundamental understanding of analyzing customer and market data in order to make informed decisions,” said P. K. Kannan, Dean’s Chair in Marketing Science at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and instructor for the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course. “A simple Regression Line can make an analysis much easier to digest.”  



“If you want to have a successful career in marketing you need to be able to use data,” says Ewelina Lacka, instructor for Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate from EdinburghX that covers digital marketing skills.

3. Start A Side Project

If you do not have any relevant experience in digital marketing, another way to get your foot in the door is to start side projects. “Start a site, start a blog, try affiliate marketing, run small-scale digital marketing campaigns,” said Berman. “You can gain a lot of interesting experience from building a website and how to capture that information and market to those people--the barrier to doing that is lower than ever now.” 

Start Learning Digital Marketing

It’s never been easier to become a digital marketing professional. All it takes is an eagerness to roll-up your sleeves and learn relevant digital marketing skills and know how. There are plenty of reputable resources online to help you upskill in marketing. Explore edX digital marketing boot camps and courses to get started.

Last updated: September 2021