Content Creator Degrees: What Degrees Employers Ask For
As a member of the WCCA I’ve been exposed to a lot of questions on what sort of qualifications are necessary to become a Content Creator. Recently I helped to compile a survey on behalf of the WCCA to answer questions about jobs in content creation, including what degrees are required to become a content creator.
What degree is required to be a content creator? From a survey we conducted we identified that a Bachelors Degree in Marketing was the most common request, representing approximately 27% of jobs that required a degree. However the majority of jobs (65%) do not require a degree at all, with most employers requesting specific skills instead.
Most employers surveyed did not explicitly require any degree to work for them. Many also stated that a ‘related’ degree, or one of a series of degrees (e.g. marketing, or communications, or English) was acceptable.
To me it seems being able to demonstrate content creation experience, or having an interest in it (which can be evidenced by a degree) was more important than the degree itself. Further below I’ve looked at how to demonstrate content creation experience without a degree - I myself didn’t have a relevant degree when I started with content creation and SEO.
In this article, I’ve also looked at:
- What degrees employers looks for
- How to become a Content Creator (with or without a degree, what skills can be beneficial)
- What happens in a Content Creator degree
- What alternatives there are to studying a degree in content creation
What degrees employers look for
Of the jobs that did require a degree, the more common ones are listed below:
|Marketing, Communications, or Business||49%|
|Design or Creative degrees||20%|
|English, Journalism, Writing||18%|
|Public Relations, Advertising||8%|
There is a bit of overlap in the skills here. I found many employers would accept any related degree, and then gave some examples of what related is.
For example, the job description might require a degree in “Marketing, Communications, Business, or related field”.
Example Responsibilities for Degree Types
I’ve extracted from our survey a few examples of the job responsibilities matching the degree types from the previous table:
Marketing, Communications, Business
- Create and implement marketing strategies;
- Create and manage social media presence (blogging, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook);
- Provide input on content, layout, and suggested messaging concepts.
- Create engaging, relevant content tailored to each communication channel in a variety of formats including photos, video, graphics, and more;
- Upkeep brand standards across content techniques in photography, graphic design, and videography;
- Generate ideas.
English, Journalism, Writing
- Create and distribute marketing copy;
- Interview industry professionals and incorporate their views in blog posts;
Public Relations, Advertising
- Provide marketing support for sales;
- Interpret analytics and insights for content marketing;
- Make and improve advertisements.
Most Content Creator jobs in our survey didn’t require a degree. In the next section I look at how to become a Content Creator, whether or not you have a degree.
How to become a Content Creator
With a degree I’ve found most Content Creators follow these steps:
- Study a field related to content creation (e.g. marketing, journalism, English),
- Apply for an internship or graduate job,
- Build up skills and experience to progress.
Even with a degree I tend to recommend people build a portfolio of content to show off the way they think.
Without a degree, from experience, I recommend the following:
- Learn a skill, try online courses, reading books, or even watching YouTube videos,
- Create content. Build a portfolio of blog posts, videos, photos, social media content, whatever field of content creation you’re in,
- Apply for jobs, show the portfolio to the potential employer, even if it’s in lieu of previous job history,
- Build that job history, work experience, but don’t forget to keep working on the portfolio.
Depending on the job, I’ve found that some skills are best learnt on the job. These are typically the skills related to work, rather than strictly content creation. Skills such as team work, project management, or dealing with difficult customers.
I’ve found it so important to build a personal portfolio or work to show potential employers what sort of skills you have.
How to build a Content Creator’s portfolio
The key to building a personal portfolio is to create content that can be shared with others that also demonstrates the skills that you have.
Below are the steps I followed to get started in content creation. Even though I had a degree, it wasn’t directly related to being a Content Creator. I’d recommend this approach to everyone, regardless of whether you have a degree, as it really captures your thought process - every job is different and I’ve found employers are just as interested in the way you think as they are in what experience you have.
To build a portfolio for content creation:
- Learn relevant skills
- Create great content
- Show that content to others
Learn relevant skills means learning the knowledge, terminology, and tools relevant to the sort of content you want to create. For writing, this could be reading about writing style; for videos, this could be learning how to edit; for photography, learning about lighting and composition.
Create great content means getting out there and practicing the skills you’ve learnt. For writers, write; for video editors, shoot and edit video; for social media gurus, create posts and build a following. At the WCCA we promote creating great content because what is a Content Creator without great content?
Great content doesn’t mean high quality or production worthy. I create great content by building things that help other people, or by doing something thought provoking or novel. As long as you feel it’s the best you can do, then as far as I’m concerned, that’s great content.
The opportunity to show off that content is when you walk other people through how you created that content, why you did what you did, and what decisions you made as you did it. I’ve found taking this approach will help potential employers see how you think and give them an insight as to whether you could help them solve their problems.
Benefits of this approach, in addition to having a portfolio of your skills, include being able to demonstrate the way in which you think to other people. By creating and managing your own portfolio you have the opportunity to demonstrate your thought processes to potential employers. As every job is different, I’ve found this to be an incredible benefit of maintaining a portfolio of work.
The drawbacks however are that all of this is in personal time. I’ve never come across a company willing to pay you to develop your own portfolio. The best I’ve seen is where clients or employers allow you to use the work you did for them in your own portfolio.
What happens in a Content Creator degree
- Writing skills, targeted towards particular audiences;
- Developing media campaigns, a combination of written, visual and audio content;
- Creating digital images and audio
- Podcasting and radio streaming
- Developing branded media
More advanced degrees3 for content creation can include:
- Campaign strategy
- Story telling techniques
- Production skills, such as interviewing, managing, directing
These are some of the common topics I found by surveying these university courses. Each university seemed to have its own take on what being a Content Creator meant. Some focussed more on “new media” (such as social media), whereas others focussed on journalism and what is “newsworthy”.
I’ve found there is no requirement to have a degree to work as a content creator. While some employers prefer their employees to have a degree in a field such as marketing, business, English, or journalism, many employers will preference a specific skill set and experience rather than a degree.
To get started building that skill set and experience, I like to recommend creating a portfolio of work. With or without a degree, I’ve found it’s possible to learn a skill, build a portfolio, and then use that portfolio as evidence when looking for a job. I wrote recently about how to learn software for free in this article on whether being a full-time Content Creator is possible.
Choosing to study a degree can be a good way to demonstrate interest in the field of content creation though, and there are some universities which offer specific Content Creator degrees (see the References section below for details).
The WCCA works to further the recognition, professionalism, and excellence of contact creators.
We are open to new members who seek to demonstrate the professional quality of their work, engage in the industry, and find out about new opportunities to learn, grow, and work.
Check out our Membership page for more details.