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Old 07-05-2005   #1
MarZ
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Question What Degrees Or Professional Backgrounds Do SEO/SEMers Have?

I'm not sure whether this has been done or not. Perhaps I just can find it. But it has occurred to me on a number of occasions to find out what sort of degrees or professional training do SEOs/SEMs/Internet Marketing professionals have. I know many don't have directly related degrees.

I also wanted to find out how this compares in different countries. Is there a major difference, for example between U.S. professionals working in the field to those working in say Europe (although breaking down Europe would be nice also), Latin American, Asia, etc. etc.

It's mostly a curiosity, but I think it can definitely be of benefit to know. I believe it would be a reflection of where the industry stands at the moment.

So what do the moderators think? Is it possible to set up a survey? Is it even appropriate to ask?

Again, if this type of survey has already been conducted, I would be greateful if someone could point it out to me.
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Old 07-05-2005   #2
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An article I was e-mailed today, fully referenced

Me Personally:

BS Sociology/Psychology
MS Research, Measurements, and Quantitative Analysis



Here's an example of various backgrounds hired in basic area:

Hiring Key to E-LOAN's Search Strategy By: Christine Blank | July 06, 2005

Last edited by Nacho : 07-05-2005 at 03:02 PM. Reason: No need to copy entire article in forum, a link to it is enough.
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Old 07-05-2005   #3
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Effie - I'm not sure what that has to do with MarZ's question...

As for me, personally, my educational background is actually in finance (stocks & bonds), but my personal education has always been with computers and the web. Since there aren't many degrees that apply directly to SEO/M, I'm not sure you could get a good sample or "representative" population from which to cull data.
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Old 07-05-2005   #4
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Thanks for the article nonetheless.
Randfish,
I think it would be interesting to see the variety and you never know until you do it, there just might be a trend. I'm also seeing more and more people TRY to get some sort of training (at least those i know here in Spain).
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Old 07-05-2005   #5
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Edit

Does it help?
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Old 07-05-2005   #6
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yes, i thought it was definitely relevant!

which is why i'm still curious to get a survey.
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Old 07-13-2005   #7
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Great question!

I think this is a great question - and for the record, I have seen successful SEO/M's from all over the educational map.

For me, I have a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's Degree in advertising. I also have a professional background in public relations. I've found this combination to be VERY useful as an SEO/M professional. But I know some others who have come from a more technical persepective and done well. In fact, I work with many of them. In my opinion, to be successful, it takes both marketing and technical personalities to see the greatest successes.
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Old 07-13-2005   #8
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My background is in music, so much of my experience in local act promotion merged well with the technical aspects of SEO.
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Old 07-13-2005   #9
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From what I've seen around, people with a programming/technical background seem to have a bit of an edge where certain aspects of SEO are concerned.
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Old 07-14-2005   #10
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BSc (Hons) Web Development

Hi,

In response to your question I am doing a BSc in Web Development at the University of Teesside in the UK. Previously I also did a Diploma in Corporate E-Commerce Development.

Though I have to admit neither of these courses seemed to have covered SEO, but the technical expertise and other Web Development issues definately help.

Regards,

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Old 07-14-2005   #11
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The more documents you have to illuminate or advertise, the more important programming skills are. You cannot feasibly manage hundreds of thousands of documents without custom queries and scripts... and that's where the big money is . I have a strictly technical background, but I plan to absorb as much marketing proficiency as possible while I'm in this field. Who knows what's next?
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Old 07-14-2005   #12
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great question.

I have a Bachelor's in Marketing, with a concentration in Information Sciences/Internet from Umass-Amherst. I got that back in '99, so in the last year, I was taking some of the first Internet/e-commerce courses offered there.
I also spent time in communications classes.

since I kind of became a sports/travel journalist by accident, I have a really interesting background of marketing & journalism that really works for my clientele.
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Old 07-14-2005   #13
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One of the most appealing aspects of SEO/SEM is the blend of technical and marketing skills.

I was quite lucky. When I was at high school, we had a teletype terminal, with a paper tape printer, and they taught us programming in BASIC. That was 1977- 1978.

I then studied accountancy - which I hated - and switched to marketing - and found a niche in Technology marketing.

My first role relavent to 'online' was as the Product Manager for Australia's first National email system - that was around 1985/ 1986.

As General Manager of a Multinational tech company - I commissioned my first web site in 1995.

I hand built my first website using notepad in 2001 - and built my first full CSS website (not CSS for a few fonts - CSS for layout) which went live in January 2002.

One thing I've found about the tertiary education system is that it lags a little behind the industry - e.g. right now - every recent graduate I interview for a job seems to have only been taught table based design. I'm sure there will be a glut of W3C savvy developers by 2009.

So I suppose my qualifications are a Marketing certificate and 20 plus years of Sales & marketing experience in technology based industries.
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Old 07-14-2005   #14
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I have a technical education and data/statistical analysis background and have been in web development since the 90's. I think it was easier to start as a developer and learn web marketing than it would have been to be a marketer with no technical skills.

I dont think you can be a complete SEO expert without having a good understanding and experience in both web technology and web marketing.

Also, with as quick as technology changes, it already instilled the discipline of always reading and always learning something new...unlike SEO of course.
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Old 07-14-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Martin
I dont think you can be a complete SEO expert without having a good understanding and experience in both web technology and web marketing.
With that in mind, what is the general opinion: what gives you more of an edge in the SEO/SEM industry: a tech related background or more of a marketing/advertising related background.
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Old 07-14-2005   #16
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That’s a tricky question. If we are strictly talking about getting rankings I’m leaning towards technology if we are talking about end-user experience then I would lean towards marketing. I 'lean' because good rankings aren’t possible with a significant deficiency in either.

Obtaining good rankings while maintaining a positive end-user experience, once you get them, is the sweet spot that is different for every site and varies depending on what industry you’re in.
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Old 07-14-2005   #17
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I think there are countless examples of both the technical and marketing minded being successful. I admit, I am a marketing guy. I have more technical skills than most marketing types as well, but I'm not a coder. I don't ever plan on being a coder. I need to understand what the code can do and how the tools can work, but I hire people that can do the technical aspects. I concentrate on the overall marketing strategy of the site. I think one of the reasons that SEO is just now vaulting into the mainstream is that just recently I am seeing marketers and techies trying to understand each other. I cringe when I have a client who's IT department is afraid of losing their jobs. I also cringe when the marketing department says "I just want to be number one!". It takes both marketing and tech saviness to run a successful campaign. That's actually one of the premises that our company is founded on.
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Old 07-14-2005   #18
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Hi marz...I recognize you from the IP forums!

My education is a BS Marketing with an emphasis on e-Business, much like Elisabeth. I also am a certified section chief on the M-198 155mm Howitzer in the USMC, which has taught me to be patient with others

<added> To answer your follow-up question, I actually went back to finish my degree in marketing to be able to better equate Internet marketing (mostly self taught) with more traditional marketing. I have learned a fair amount about technical stuff through being a hands-on SEO, but I still feel that developers are developers and marketers are marketers, by nature. Marcia may be right about what she says in regards to technical backgrounds being more efficient, however I feel that having a basic understanding of the technical stuff and a deeper understanding of marketing is what has led to my initial success in the SEM field. I know I have a long way to go...perhaps an HTML class would help

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 07-14-2005 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 07-14-2005   #19
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My B.A. is in English, which I suppose is handy for copy editing and writing and putting together a somewhat coherent thought...

But I worked my way through college as a web site designer than got an education in the school of hard knocks working for half a dozen failed dot coms.

I tend to agree with others that for hard-core ranking, especially in highly competitive organic areas, a tech background is invaluable. But for ppc related marketing and overall search marketing strategy, I think a traditional marketing background comes in quite handy.

Perhaps most importantly, I think it takes a pretty high obsessive-compulsive factor to make it in this industry.
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Old 07-14-2005   #20
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I love this industry because I get to do the "right-brain left-brain" type of stuff. I get bored easily so this keeps me on my toes.

Me (in rough order):

Combined BA/Sc in Anthropology/Religious Studies
LLB (Law)
A+
MCSE

Interesting to see the backgrounds of others here

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