Today’s digital marketers have to master several technical tools in an industry that is constantly evolving. Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels.
Today’s digital marketers have to master several technical tools in an industry that is constantly evolving. Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels.

Digital marketing internships are vital for career success

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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If you’re thinking of crossing over to another career or adding to your list of skills and qualifications, then perhaps you should give digital marketing a thought as it is listed as one of the hottest jobs in 2021.

And if you’re thinking of entering the field, an internship programme is a good start and is vital for long-term success, says Ariel Sumeruk, the owner of digital marketing and analytics agency Conversion Science.

“Digital marketing experts are highly sought-after. It’s an exciting field but there is a ton of technical know-hows required to make a success of it and, unfortunately, there is a large digital skills gap that holds a lot of young people back.”

According to the 2021 IAB SA Digital Skills Gap report, the biggest skills gap lies in data analytics, a role that will continue to grow in demand in the workplace.

Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation in the working environment, and interventions may be needed to help close digital skills gaps.

“Today’s digital marketers have to master several technical tools in an industry that is constantly evolving. There’s more of a practical element to it than people think, especially where data analytics is concerned. This is where on the job training is a game-changer for anyone wanting to pursue it as a career,” he says.

Sufficient digital skills transfer

Sumeruk says his company has been running its 12-month paid internship programme for seven years, and of the 40 interns to have gone through the programme, 90% are in digital marketing positions today, with more than half in senior positions.

Sumeruk attributes this to prolonged in-depth training and sufficient digital skills transfer.

Fetching coffee or doing menial labour is synonymous with the concept of an internship, but Sumeruk wants to encourage young graduates to shop around for a programme that offers intensive and high-quality training.

He warns that a quick two-week or even three-month internship is not ideal to equip young professionals with the digital skills they need for this field. Exposure across a variety of technologies is beneficial.

“The job of a digital marketer can involve a lot of moving parts. They have to achieve a company’s marketing objectives using the right mix of digital tools that is for example: paid social media advertising, Google ads and PPC, mobile apps, SEO, email, and automation and so on. The more an intern can be exposed to, the better.”

Desigan Moodley, who completed an digital marketing internship in 2018 and heads paid media at Takealot, says on-the-job training was the key pillar to his career growth.

“I had never done any digital marketing before, but the guidance and training I received during my internship enabled me to become a strong data-driven digital marketing specialist, and I continue to use the skills I learnt during my training in my current role,” says Moodley.

Here are Ariel Sumeruk’s top three benefits of a digital marketing internship:

  • Essential skills in a highly competitive industry.
  • Intricate knowledge of digital marketing tools.
  • Specialisation.

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