While a college degree isn’t always necessary to pursue a social media career, it can be an important factor in many related jobs. Which college degrees are best for these positions? That depends on the type of social media work you want to pursue. Let’s explore some of your options.
Here are five college degrees you might want to pursue if your goal is a career in social media.
1. Public Relations / Communications
A lot of social media work is really public relations and broader communications work. The social media side is solely about using new tools to get the job done. The underlying work requires solid PR fundamentals, like knowing how to help a company respond to criticism, engaging with an audience or network, and building visibility for a company, professional, product, or service.
2. Marketing / Advertising
You might also opt to focus on social media marketing. That includes things such as direct sales through social media outlets, using social media to generate leads, and running social ad campaigns. Again, these degrees provide fundamentals that will help you use social media tools more effectively in reaching marketing goals.
3. Management / Business Administration
Having a more general business degree, or a degree in management, can also be helpful. That’s especially true if you want to work as a social media manager where you’ll have to manage other employees or contractors and serve as an intermediary between larger departments in managing their social media efforts.
These degrees could also be a good option for those looking to start their own online business in the social media realm — anything from consulting services to launching your own social media tool.
4. Software / Web Development
If your interest lies more on the technical side of social media, a development or other similar degree could be the perfect fit. For example, you might seek a job with a major social network or help a new startup develop and manage new social media tools.
5. New Media
Some colleges and universities now offer degrees specializing in “new media.” These degrees often have a narrower focus tied to another discipline — such as Internet marketing or journalism. The one that’s right for you will depend on the kind of job you’re looking for. For example, if you want to be a professional blogger, you might choose a New Media degree with a journalism emphasis. If you want to focus on social media marketing and the ways social media integrates with search engine marketing, you would choose a New Media degree tied to a marketing program.
Just make sure the degree program covers longstanding fundamentals and how they apply to the tools of new media as opposed to being so tool-centric that your degree will become worthless in a few years (as those tools constantly change).
Do you have a career in social media? If so, and if you have a college degree, what degree do you have? How did that background help you get into social media work? If you’re about to choose a degree program for a social media career, what degree are you leaning toward? Tell us which degree program you think will be most valuable to you and why in the comments below.
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