What it Takes to Become a Marketer — Backed by Data.

When people tell me they’re interested in marketing, I immediately follow it with “That’s great! What kind?”

To those that aren’t overly familiar with the world of marketing, let me tell you something. If you asked 100 marketers what they do on a day to day basis, you’ll likely get a 100 different answers. Same thing if you ask them what kinds of skills they use, what challenges they face, you get the picture.

So as an aspiring marketer seeking to learn the skills and get the experiences that will set me up best for a job in marketing, that can be confusing.

You have one marketer telling you that you need to be creative and good at writing. And then you have the next marketer telling you that you need to learn to code. And another saying data analytics is the future.

How are aspiring marketers supposed to decode the madness?

Of course if you know me, you saw this coming — the answer is data.

As an underclassmen who faced this problem — unorganized chaos in attempting to learn as many “applicable skills” to marketing as possible — I was interested in exploring what employers are actually asking for.

I analyzed 760 marketing internship postings from Indeed.com to measure the demand for hard skills and soft skills overall within marketing, as well as within specific types of marketing positions. Below are a few of my findings, and you can read the full report here.

Adobe Creative Suite is as in-demand as Excel?

Yes, you read that right. 21.4% of postings mention Adobe Creative Suite compared to the only 25.5% of postings that mention Excel.

This is quite shocking considering the fact that marketing and other business programs across the country teach Excel and other analytical tools quite heavily; however, we don’t learn any Adobe Creative Suite products like Photoshop and Illustrator. Instead, these skills lie in most universities’ advertising and communication programs.

While Excel is often referred to as the “tool of business”, the data suggests that Adobe Creative Suite is one of today’s essential “tools of marketing”.

Soft skills get you internships. Hard skills are the icing on the cake.

You might have noticed that the hard skills listed above have a fairly low percentage of being mentioned in postings and that leads us to the next surprising finding.

96.7% of postings mention soft skills, while only 63.4% mention hard skills.

In fact, more than twice as many postings look for individuals that demonstrate the ability to work in a team (73.6%) as the number looking for proficiency in Microsoft Office (34.7%). This suggests that internships are intentionally designed to develop your hard skills before entering the workforce. As a result, employers seek the soft skills that will set you up for success in their organization while understanding that they will teach you the hard skills for the job.

What else did I find?

Read the full report here to see the analysis that answers the following questions:

  • Are we learning the right skills to be most competitive in entering the marketing workforce?
  • Which hard and soft skills are most prevalent in marketing internships? Does that vary depending on the area of marketing?
  • To inform how we learn new skills, which hard skills are most commonly requested together in internship postings?

Read the methodology and explore the data on data.world

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