Even with a degree in broadcast journalism, a storied career managing outreach campaigns, and working for the city of Laredo, Texas, Blasita Lopez struggled to return to her marketing roots in early 2021.
“I wanted to update my marketing skill set because I had a lot of traditional marketing experience in my previous related roles,” said Blasita. “I interviewed with a company in San Antonio, and actually made it to the finalist list. But one of the reasons why I wasn’t selected was because my marketing terminologies and knowledge were a bit dated.”
While updating her LinkedIn account one day, Blasita noticed an ad for The Digital Marketing Boot Camp at Texas McCombs. She was intrigued. “I reached out to some folks that I knew at the university just to get a feel for the certifications they were offering, because I wanted to make a strong investment in my re-education,” she explained.
And the rest was history.
Marrying previous knowledge with new marketing skills
From day one, Blasita was able to hit the ground running in the remote boot camp thanks to her wealth of past experiences. In particular, she noticed several opportunities to leverage the research skills acquired during her time as an undergraduate journalism major. Regarding her process, she explained, “When you take on a new forward-facing digital role where you’re trying to put out information that represents a company, you have to first know what you’re selling before you can delve into the creative side of things to put together an ad.”
Learning to find and understand information, as well as navigate different audience segments, was enjoyable for Blasita. By observing how digital marketers created and maintained a company’s online reputation, she found ways to leverage her experience as Laredo’s tourism director. “Selling a destination is multi-faceted; you have different products to sell, and you have to keep your consumers happy, but consumer audiences are multi-faceted,” she said. “Being able to understand each possible situation was something I brought with me into the class.”
Even with a wealth of experience going in, Blasita found herself absorbing new information on a daily basis. She quickly learned to focus intently on every lecture, following along with slide decks while taking notes for future reference.
Between lectures, Blasita stayed engaged with the boot camp through the Slack channel, which was a useful avenue for group-based activities and projects. “We were tasked with working on anything from developing a quick advertising goal with a related set of objectives, to something more specific having to do with a customer journey for a particular product,” she explained.
Grouping up to tackle big challenges
It’s typical for Trilogy-powered boot camp students to be assigned larger projects for groups of five to six people. These are designed to assess how students will fare in a real-world work environment.
For her first group project, Blasita worked with group members CJ Vinson, Darby Sharp, Kat Pinson, and Andrew Brown to develop a marketing plan and website for a mock-nonprofit organization. The team went hands-on, creating wireframes and corresponding site content, then learning how to implement these ideas into a real website using WordPress.
The team chose to develop a marketing-focused pitch deck and website for the Austin Bat Collective, a pseudo nonprofit offering humane bat removal services and education on the benefits of bats to Austin and Central Texas. By visiting the site, readers can learn about this exciting nonprofit dedicated to clearing up negative stigma around bats and determining a time to pay the collective a visit.
After finishing up group-based work, Blasita and the other students returned to the Slack channel to share their efforts, and her instructor then had students talk through their submissions with the rest of the class.
“I really liked that there was no pressure to have all the answers,” mentioned Blasita. “The environment set forth by our instructor was very much about learning. If you didn’t quite get something, it was okay because they would move on to something else, and then later come back to your problem in a personalized way that felt safe.”
In the event that a particular group excelled, the boot camp staff did a great job of celebrating those achievements, which Blasita says further helped engender a culture of positivity.
Consulting the experts to prepare for success
The boot camp’s success-oriented approach extended to the career services offered — which Blasita was sure to tap into. “I was about to reach my 20-year milestone in municipal government, so I was re-evaluating what to do next with my career and professional development,” said Blasita. “The Career Services staff reviewed my resume and LinkedIn profile to update them and helped me develop a brand statement. I also appreciated being able to have conversations tailored to my unique circumstances as someone with a long career.”
Career Services staff were even available to discuss the role Blasita recently accepted as a client success manager at LOCALiQ. One of her boot camp peers reached out about this position, and even though Blasita wasn’t looking for a job just yet, she still accepted a referral. One thing led to another, and all of a sudden she had an exciting offer on her hands.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this sort of global entity that defines media-savvy and has an amazing set of platforms for providing clients with digital marketing services,” said Blasita. “I’m applying everything that I learned in my digital marketing boot camp to this role, and because of the boot camp I have an incredible network of professionals to lean on.”
In the market for a new role in technology, or even just to refresh your skills to fit into today’s job marketplace? Enroll in UT Austin Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, UX/UI, cybersecurity, digital marketing, and product management.