Joseph Smith grew up around Nolensville, Tennessee, where he spent his time with a variety of hobbies — from flying general aviation aircraft, to playing guitar and later, practicing Judo in Knoxville. These experiences confirmed for Joseph that variety is the spice of life, and they gave him the spark to embrace a career in digital marketing.
“Digital marketing was a huge pull for me due to the variety of businesses I get to work with. Something very important to me in life is experiencing as much as I can,” said Joseph.
He moved to Knoxville to receive a BA in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. Not long after, a friend suggested to Joseph that he earn his Google Analytics and Ad certifications to get started in digital marketing.
Balancing Everything on a Full Plate
With the certifications in tow, he applied for a position which excited him at the web design firm Slamdot — but initially he didn’t land the role due to a lack of experience. Regardless, Joseph was undeterred. “I asked them for advice, and they took a lot of time out of their day to guide me towards several options in order to elevate my career,” he said.
Thanks to Slamdot’s thoughtfulness, Joseph learned about the Vanderbilt University Digital Marketing Boot Camp.
For Joseph, the class was an excellent way to amplify his existing skill set in the marketing space. He explains, “The class was fantastic and I learned just about every aspect of digital marketing you could think of, including how to work with a team on realistic assignments you would find commonplace in an agency.”
His educational background in philosophy prepared Joseph to excel in the bootcamp environment. “I’m not afraid to ask seemingly simplistic questions,” he said. “I can identify which questions would be most valuable to have answered.”
Throughout Joseph’s time at the Vanderbilt University Digital Marketing Boot Camp, he was also freelancing. As such, each day for Joseph began with him working on tasks for his clients, then he would transition to studying for the bootcamp.
“The curriculum was very organized in such a way to naturally assist students in maintaining consistent but time-efficient work habits. The group projects were where the course really shined,” he said.
Learning Real-Life Skills That Pay Off
Joseph worked on two group projects during his time at the bootcamp, one in the middle of the semester and another at the end. By working on both, he got to learn about key topics in search engine optimization (SEO) such as keyword research and keyword bidding. Meanwhile, his group partners focused on other topics in the marketing space, namely content writing, social media management, and marketing strategy.
“It was a great experience to work in a team setting like that, and it really seemed like how an agency or in-house marketing team would operate,” Joseph said. He continues, “The connections between fields gave a wonderful feeling of cohesion, and you would come across it as a surprise most of the time. Things just clicked.”
This in-depth learning experience was enhanced by the work ethic and professionalism of the people around him undergoing the bootcamp process. “My classmates were hard working, professional, and quick problem solvers. It made me realize what I need to improve on,” Joseph said. He continued, “I learned how to contribute my unique perspective and skill set to a team. It made the field feel much more approachable as a whole.”
Achieving Tangible Results
Immediately after finishing the boot camp, Joseph was contacted by VIEWS Digital Marketing, where he worked on various projects on a contract basis. “They were excellent, and provided me with a lot of real world experience.”
Armed with a wealth of new marketing knowledge and a sharpened resume thanks to his contract work and the career services offered by the Vanderbilt University Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Joseph later reapplied at Slamdot for the search strategist position. This time, he landed the role.
“We at Slamdot are very highly rated, and I truly believe that is because of our baseline honesty and transparency. We don’t force ourselves into contracts with potential clients if the shoe doesn’t fit. I felt like I fit in with my coworkers from the first week I was there,” Joseph said.
Big Aspirations for the Next Steps in His Career
Now, Joseph plans to grow as a marketer and take on more responsibilities within Slamdot to learn how the agency runs from the ground-up.
“I plan to become instrumental in the company’s advancement, as I believe Slamdot could bring an honest and fresh perspective to the digital marketing industry as a whole,” he says.
This exciting career advancement was propelled thanks to the knowledge and expertise he gained through the bootcamp. But most importantly, the experience was pure enjoyment for Joseph.
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