This is part four of Maryville University’s four-part video series: Higher Ed Reimagined.
In this episode, speakers Jolene Sherman, vice president of digital sales and agency strategies for Amplified Digital Agency, Dr. Brian Gant, assistant professor of cybersecurity for the Simon School of Business at Maryville and Shani Lenore-Jenkins, vice president of enrollment at Maryville, discuss preparing students for the technology-focused careers of the future.
The format is Lenore-Jenkins asks questions of Gant and Sherman. Here are some of the key takeaways from the interview.
A career in digital marketing requires interest and a desire to learn technology
Digital marketing is about getting messages in front of potential customers and encouraging a behavior, Sherman says. She explains that an interest in marketing and a desire to learn the technology is most important when considering a career in digital marketing. Sherman gave an example of how the digital marketing field has grown, using Amplified as an example. In only two years, Amplified has grown from 40 full-time employees to 180. She adds that they are constantly looking for professionals to join Amplified.
For high school students just beginning to explore what they want to be, she encourages them to think about whether they would enjoy helping businesses communicate — telling who they are and what they stand for. If so, then marketing might be for them. Ideal candidates should be goal oriented, competitive and enjoy measuring and analyzing data. Sherman says she looks for strong communicators who can strategize.
She explains that Amplified Digital thinks about tech careers through the lens of three separate buckets: digital presence (for example, web development, coding), digital marketing (for example, preparing content for social media) and digital data science (for example, data mining).
Sherman says today’s students with a degree in digital marketing are far ahead of those who graduated when she did. She strongly encourages students to search and land internships. She says Amplified offers paid internships throughout the year, not just in the summer. An internship gives you a chance to apply what you’ve learned in practice so you’ll be better prepared for that new job after graduation.
Technology “opens doors into any careers you can think of”
Cybersecurity is a high-demand field today — and growing. Jobs involve taking a look at the network of an organization and protecting its assets. Gant says experts predict there will be more jobs available in cybersecurity in the coming years than skilled people available to take them. He cautions students not to limit themselves by focusing too narrowly in school, but instead exploring the many different pathways of a degree. For example, he says his well-rounded degree from Maryville allowed him to have many interesting jobs over his career — including as an intelligence analyst for the FBI, an information technology specialist in private industry, and today, teaching cybersecurity at his alma mater.
Gant explains that an information systems or cybersecurity degree, especially as part of a business degree (which it is at Maryville) provides so many opportunities for students. That foundational business degree will expose students to budgeting, marketing, communications, etc., which he says makes the job seeker well-rounded, which employers appreciate. He says Maryville does a great job of connecting students with internships through career fairs and, like Sherman, recommends internships.
Women are encouraged to consider technology careers
Gant says that the presence of women in the technology field is growing, and Maryville is very much a proponent. They have one of the few Women in Cybersecurity chapters in the U.S. at Maryville, which gives members exposure to female leaders and the many different jobs available in the cybersecurity field, such as risk management, software development and artificial intelligence.
If you have questions about the university system and experience, this is your chance to listen and learn. Viewing this four-part video speaker series is open to everyone. You can access the videos in this series here.