This is week 5 of Changing Course to a Career in Marketing: Back in the Saddle by Guest Blogger and Artisan Talent Sarah Antao. Get up to date with her first post here, then read on to learn her final thoughts on General Assembly's marketing class.
The Last Week: Parting Thoughts
Well, folks, I did it. I finished my fifth and final week of the Digital Marketing Circuit Course at General Assembly and I’ve got some thoughts. So sit back, relax, and open a bag of Chex-mix, because I’m about to do some serious reflection.
Job searching can be one of the most stressful things a person can go through and, if you’re making a career change like me, it can shake your confidence a bit.
I was getting tired of applying for jobs that I was 90% qualified to do and I knew I had to shrink the knowledge gaps that were holding me back from finding the right job, and that’s how I landed on General Assembly.
From the beginning, I set out to find a marketing course that would:
- Be cost effective
- Teach current industry trends and concepts
- Allow me to build an actual skill and/or product that I could add to my portfolio
- Help me determine whether a career in Digital Marketing would be a good fit
So, did GA deliver?
I think it did. I want to emphasize that this is a great starting point—it by no means is a substitute for an actual marketing degree or even the certification that you get from the long-form version of this course. The Digital Marketing Circuit covered each component of a campaign:
- Awareness – Get the word out
- Acquisition – Draw the audience to your site
- Conversion – Take people from “just browsing” to “where do I check out?”
- Retention – Keep them coming back
- Referral – Keep them coming back, with their friends.
And with each step of the conversion funnel, the course always circled back to real life examples, like how BarkBox’s “Email signup for one free box” strategy hits the first three steps of the funnel, or how a report on Google Analytics can tell you how a given campaign’s strategy is working or struggling.
Probably the most valuable part of this experience, for me, was the weekly 1:1 collaboration I had with my mentor, Brianna. I was able to ask questions, test my knowledge with her, and also ask her about how the work in the course compares to the work she does in her actual day-to-day life as a Digital Marketing Professional. And most every time, she would say that each unit project (whether it be generating a consumer persona or measuring KPIs) captures the basics of specific roles in the industry.
When I finished my Unit 4 project, measuring the potential KPIs for the Three Peaks Wax Co. Awareness campaign, I decided to roll right on through to the final project.
The Final Project
From Day 1, we were told that the last project would be a more formal compilation of every unit project. It definitely took a bit longer, but with my 1:1 notes and my previous projects open on my desktop, I was able to wrap up this course without complication.
Pro-tip for people who might be intimidated by this “Final Project” in the future:
Take notes during your 1:1 sessions and apply them right after the meeting. This way, the majority of your work is done and ready to be plugged into the final project template.
Some takeaways from the last week:
- Don’t be a stranger – It never hurts to ask your mentor to stay in touch. Whether it be for questions or a possible reference. Unlike the Circuit, the 10-week version of this course offers career guidance and continued contact with your mentor – which is a great perk. But since I only had my final 1:1 to chat with Brianna, I asked if we could connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch and she accepted!
- Not sure what’s next? Take the freebies – GA offers a bunch of free 2-hour classes that can help you decide on taking a full-time or part-time course. I recently took Intro to HTML + CSS at the GA Chicago Campus and expected to be lost for the better part of the 2-hour session, but the instructor was super-attentive and gave us some great resources to take home. It motivated me to buy this book so I could code my own website this year.
I’m still at a very basic skill level, but who knows? In a few months I could be a coding wiz.
- Save everything.
It’s actually kind of insane how much supplementary info GA gives you for free (review guides, reference links, industry blogs). Take advantage of this because after 30 days, you will not have access to the course materials (unless you buy an extension).
After 5 weeks of readings, presentations, and 1:1s, I finished this course with a solid understanding of Digital Marketing principles, a certificate of completion on LinkedIn, and an Awareness action plan to pitch for my friend’s business. All in all, I’d give the Digital Marketing Circuit an A.
That’s all from me, everybody! Thank you for following this journey – I had fun and I hope you did too! If you’re interested in taking your career in a new direction, check GA out. Seriously, they’re great.
Sarah Antao is a freelance Editor and Writer from Rochester, NY (Home of Kodak and Taye Diggs). She enjoys writing and performing with her sketch group, Supper Club and listening to true crime podcasts. Apart from a career in marketing, Sarah considers her other dream job to be one of the judges on a tv cooking competition. She can be found on instagram and @supperclubchicago on Facebook.
*Editor's Note: Sarah found work right as her GA class was ending! She is now a full-time Communication Specialist with one of Artisan's clients.
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