Career Paths

Is Learning Code for Digital Marketing Worth the Effort?

3
min read

84% of Hong Kong people search for information online before buying products and services, 75% of people will visit the brand's online retail store to find out more about the product, and 70% will even buy products or services online. In 2020, the percentages of ecommerce activities by mobile and desktop were 47% and 43%, respectively. It’s fair to say then, Hong Kong people are very open to buying products or services online. If you want to seize this business opportunity, a user-friendly website and site exposure are essential. An easy-to-browse and mobile-friendly website allows visitors to find the products and services that they want without much effort on their part. Unsurprisingly, demand for digital marketing talent sits at 59% with active supply at 19% (The Left Bank, 2019). Driving this demand, is the fact that global digital advertising is expected to reach $389.29 billion by the end of 2021 (Statistica, 2020). So yes, there’s a high demand for the services of digital marketers both in Hong Kong and globally. 

Our second question then, is how can you optimize your career as a digital marketer by meeting the needs and wants of these online shoppers in today’s marketplace? One of your roles as a digital marketer is as a web developer, and you guessed it, as such, you need to be up to speed with the various coding languages used and have a talent for creating a functional yet attractive website for the respective business that employs you. It is one of the most in-demand digital marketing skills to have in today’s obsessively digital world. Your job as a web developer would include the creation and maintenance of a website. Almost 50-60% of small businesses don’t have a website, even in the thriving global digital market today. Thus, if coding is your thing and you’re proficient in it, the market is after candidates just like you. A beginner in web development can easily score a princely US$60,117 p.a.

It’s very useful for you as a digital marketer to know programming languages, such as, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript if you’re striving to be effective and innovative in your work. If you’re working in a start-up, you’re already wearing multiple hats so learning basic coding skills will only make your job easier by helping you understand what it takes and what’s possible tech-wise to implement a new digital marketing campaign, and if you’ve access to a team, then learning basic coding will help you communicate effectively with them.

No need to procrastinate, this is a heads-up to get busy researching which one of the many coding languages you should start learning – some are even available to learn free through online courses, like, www.quantcast.com/academy, www.coursera.org, www.futurelearn.com among many more courses provided on-campus e.g., H Academy in HK (https://academy.happyer.io) offers a great coding course with top flight instructors for beginners, those professionals who want a career switch or just want to upskill for better business insights. Happyer also offers a digital marketing course with no prior experience required for those of you wanting to get a start in this career field. Other courses are available depending on your skill level and needs. 

What better way is there to kick start or spice up your digital marketing journey? Here’s an extra leg-up to help you decide which coding language is best for your needs as a digital marketer.

Woman Sitting in Front Laptop

The most useful coding languages for digital marketing.

Different programming languages serve different purposes, and some are more versatile than others as well as easier to learn. However, once you’ve mastered the basics of one, it’s much easier to learn others as you come to understand the inherent logic of every computer language. Many marketers learn additional programming languages as the needs arises, so there’s no mad rush to know a range. Let’s explore the value of five of the most useful and accessible to you as a digital marketer.

1) HTML. This is responsible for formatting the appearance of information on a website. A basic understanding will allow you to perform a number of essential content marketing tasks e.g., finding and editing meta descriptions, title tags and keywords, creating hyperlinks, headings, paragraphs, spacing, images and lists.

2) CSS is responsible for determining the size, colour and position of all page elements. It’s usually applied together with HTML.

3) SQL. As a marketer, you will use the manipulation language or querying. SQL is designed for this. It’s easy to learn and can be used on any database, as well as being able to handle more data and complex queries than running macros. Having SQL basic skills means when you need developers to do analysis, you’ll be able to ask better questions about what you want to know and prevent both of you wasting the budget on cleaning data. This also means writing reports will be easier. You won’t have to wait for a developer to answer starter questions for you. You can just pull raw data from your sales records, marketing automation and analysis tools and start writing.

4) Python. Widely attested to be easy to learn, it’s a programming language that’s by far the most popular one used in data analysis on today’s marketing platforms. It’s powerful and frequently used to automate different marketing strategies with a bit of simple coding. Using Python, you can come up with custom code that analyses the massive amounts of data from the marketing platforms you’re using to provide you with deeper insights to inform your business marketing tactics. You can create codes to support your business in data mining, SEO indexation, competitor trend monitoring etc. In fact, it should be number one on your programming list for enhancing your marketing toolkit. 

5) JavaScript. This is the programming language that built the internet! It’s also considered easy to learn. It’s value to you as a digital marketer could be in extracting raw data from Google Analytics or applying an extra parameter to your tracking code on any marketing platform for better accuracy and data quality. It’s best used for creating simple predictions to assist your site to seamlessly communicate with Google or automate a few repetitive tasks in your Google Ads, especially PPC campaigns.

Person Using Macbook Pro On Person's Lap

Why learn to code more than one programming language?

As a developer in your role as a digital marketer, you’re a service provider. The broader your client base, the greater your revenue prospects. Limiting your knowledge to one language is only going to shrink your potential earnings. Clearly, this makes no business sense. However, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, so expect to achieve this across time and experience in your career.


Recommendations for You

Interview with Alfred, a Production Support Engineer
Read
OnTheList Hong Kong: Where luxury meets sustainability
Read
Life of an International Student in Hong Kong
Read