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For quite some time I’ve known that I needed to add deep technical skills to my repertoire. It isn’t a question of whether my career journey to date has required certain expertise and knowledge- it has.
I’ve worked across relationship and project management, public relations and sales. Each of these roles required their own raft of skills but there was a persistent voice in the back of my mind saying, “How do you plan to future-proof your career?”.
While few of us can confidently say that our current role will be relevant in the future, we can ensure that the skills we bring to the table are.
Although I thought that I’d always had a certain aptitude for marketing, I was also aware of just how much the marketing landscape has changed over the past decade. The average person today is estimated to see 5,000 ads per day. While I had studied public relations and journalism at university in the 2000s, the modern workplace requires marketers to create digital customer journeys, analyse data, optimise campaigns and support the broader CX strategy. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Like many others, it was the pandemic that gave me the push I needed to instigate a career pivot. I suddenly found myself with more spare time than ever before and by that stage, I had “done all of Kensington” (no, not Brighton). I knew that Academy Xi had recently launched their Digital Marketing Transform course designed to help people become digital marketers – and I wanted in.
Embarking on a 24-week long journey was both compelling and intimidating. I thought often about how I was going to remain determined, grounded and show grit over a six month-long learning experience. I hadn’t studied so intensively in the ten years since I graduated in 2011. The first live, virtual workshop thankfully quelled my concerns. After ninety minutes of connecting with my mentor and classmates and being shown the breadth of the upcoming course, I felt like I had made the right choice for me at the right time.
In the six months that followed, our class met every Monday night. I can compare these workshops to going to the gym. After a busy Monday at work, you don’t always feel like walking through the door but you never regret having done the workout. Thanks to a one-of-a-kind mentor (an expert digital marketer herself), I would invariably find the workshops stimulating, absorbing and energising.
I also began to get a flavour for the kind of digital marketer I wanted to be as we worked our way through modules, client projects and portfolio development.
Even though my decision to study again was driven by career goals, the highlight of the course for me was social. I studied with a terrific group of like-minded folk from a range of professional backgrounds. The second half of the course is divided into two, individual client projects (each six weeks long) where Academy Xi sourced real businesses to brief us on a digital marketing ‘problem’ they were experiencing. My first client didn’t have any real marketing strategy whereas my second client needed help to optimise their existing activities.
The highlight of this portion of the course for me was that I had the chance to work in two small groups. Not only did I find this fun but it is also where my greatest learnings took place. Where one of us excelled in visual communication, the other was a brilliant copywriter. One person may wear a predominantly strategic hat and the other would design a full social media campaign. It was this sharing of knowledge and skills that is for me by far the greatest takeaway from the program.
It is my opinion that there is no better way to learn than on the job. That said, the Digital Marketing Transform course has set me up perfectly to take up this new challenge and get “on the tools” straight away. I have the confidence and skillset to make an immediate impact.
The driver for me was to help future-proof my career. It took me a couple of years to actually make the decision to upskill but I won’t be procrastinating for that length of time again. I know that the modern workforce demands continuous growth, flexibility and adaptation. More importantly, however, I now know that I am capable of instigating that kind of change for myself.