This is a guest post by Brian Jenkins, who writes about Careers in Computer Science. He has been writing about this and other career-related topics for BrainTrack since 2008.
Due to a large number of associations and other organizations using social media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for marketing campaigns and public relations, employers are increasingly seeking those who have social media knowledge and skills. Many associations and non-profits realize they need experts to effectively use social media for marketing campaigns and public relations.
If you get a degree in social media, especially an MBA with a concentration in the field, you’ll become a more valuable employee and you’ll likely have a competitive edge over the competition for many management-level positions. Such specialized degrees always look impressive on a resume.
Even if you have social media experience, a degree in the subject will probably give you an advantage over other candidates who are self-taught in the subject. Degree programs teach students how to see all the capabilities of social media platforms; that is, beyond how it pertains only to them. Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, states, “Very often our perception of social media, and what we can and can’t do using social media, is very much tinted by what we think our favorite person is doing – and our favorite person is usually ourselves. So it is about getting students to understand that the empirical skills are absolutely necessary, because whatever they think is intuitively correct, is probably about themselves, but nobody else.” A degree in social media will teach you the complexities of the different social media arenas that you might not be able to teach yourself.
Regarding social media, Mark Begley, head of creative and design recruitment at Major Players, stated “[People] might live and breathe this way of communicating in their personal lives, but the problem is that they can’t transfer this experience into the commercial world.” High-quality social media degree programs can provide the necessary knowledge and skills to make this jump.
photo © 2007 Chris Metcalf | more info (via: Wylio)
MBA programs, including MBA programs at top business schools, are integrating social media into their curriculums. Harvard Business School offers a program called “Competing with Social Networks.” Similarly, the London Business School has integrated social media into its MBA curriculum. For another example, check out Southern New Hampshire University’s MBA in Social Media Marketing. (It should be noted the author has no connection with any of these universities.)
The objective of social media education programs is to provide an understanding about fast-growing, evolving social media from a marketing and public relations perspective. Social media bachelor’s degree programs provide an in-depth understanding of social media, including building marketing strategies and tracking their effectiveness.
Social media bachelor’s degree programs typically use case studies of online social networking and content-sharing websites such as YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Friendster. Students are typically required to participate in a team project to create and implement social media marketing strategies for real world clients.
Due to the increasing number of associations and nonprofit organizations which use social media, managers holding a social media degree may have a leg-up on other candidates for higher management positions.
From me: In Open Community, one of the things we talk about is skill sets for social media and community managers. Have you started seeing resumes with social media degrees listed? Would that change internal perceptions in your organization of what skills might be required for social media hires?