Stage 2 of non-pudding brain: It’s official. I’m a student again.

"Ah, glad to see that you are working on stretching your intelligence, TechCommGeekMom. Now, when you are done, you can help me with this equation on this board..." --The 12th Doctor

“Ah, glad to see that you are working on using your intelligence, TechCommGeekMom, and not becoming a pudding brain like the rest of your human race. Now, when you are done, you can help me with this equation on this blackboard…”
–The 12th Doctor

As I stated in my last post about my resolution not to be a pudding brain in 2015, and understanding that in order to get ahead in the next year, I need to learn something, and learn something new. It’s been mentioned before that content marketing is the skill emerging most in content strategy jobs, and so I need to make myself eligible to get on that bandwagon. I have a strong customer service/client services background, and my career has steered me into content strategy, but what I lack is a basic understanding of marketing, especially digital marketing.

I looked at many programs, and there are a LOT of good ones out there. During my process, I needed to figure out what would give me the most bang for my buck in the shortest amount of time, so that I could hit the ground running even while I was in the midst of my coursework. It would be best if it was online and part-time, obviously, since I’m still working full-time for the moment. (My contract doesn’t expire until the end of April.) I also looked carefully at curriculums to see what topics would be covered that would satisfy the gaps that I think need filling in my skill set.

Rutgers_Scarlet_KnightsAfter discussing the options with my husband, who reviewed some of the choices I had narrowed my list down to, I can now say that yes, I am officially a student again. I have registered to take the Mini-MBA certification coursework in Digital Marketing at Rutgers University. It starts at the end of this month, and finishes by the time my contract ends. It covers several topics that I have some familiarity with, but not enough experience or actual training of any kind.

I’m excited to start classes. I’m fortunate that an online version of this coursework was available, and being a veteran online student, this is ideal. I find that I actually do much better in an online format than a classroom format. Online learning isn’t for everybody, and I’m a person who enjoys listening to classroom lectures, but find it very difficult to take notes during one. (Hey, it’s hard for me to take notes or write social media posts during presentation events–why do you think I learned to type so fast?) My brain is a little slow to process and summarize concepts quickly then write them down, so online learning is usually great because if there is a video or audio recording, I can rewind the recording if I didn’t catch something, or take my time reviewing slide presentations. Online discussions can be as animated as live conversations. I’ve often found that online class discussion threads are great writing exercises as they force you to truly think and strategize what you want to say in a way that encourages plain language and clarity to all readers.

The other thing I’m excited about with this class is that the online format is for MOBILE!! Part of the tuition goes towards a new iPad to deliver the coursework (or you can get a discount on the tuition if you already have an iPad, like I did). I tried to use my iPad when I could during grad school, and it helped when I would try to get papers done during my lunch hour, or review information on the go. This time, it’s different. Everything is being delivered to a mobile device, so it’s automatically going to all be on mobile. So, I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out. I’m still an iPad aficianado, and have often promoted the use of iPads and tablets as learning tools (look for early TechCommGeekMom articles about the topic), so now’s my chance to do it myself!

So, I’ve made my first big, bold move for the year. Pudding brain will be erased, and some new information and skills will be attained in order to better my chances in the job market later this year. This is how I chose to invest in myself this year. Conferences are still good, and I’m not knocking them, but when I am done with this, I will have a small credential that will boost my resume.  Maybe I’ll get to a conference later this year, but in the meantime, this will be my educational focus. This is part of the mini-reinvention of myself. I might end up in another straightforward content strategy/web publishing job later, but having these additional skills can only help, not hurt me. I’m glad I have my husband’s support in this (he’s going to be a weekend and weeknight widower again for a short time), and I’m hoping that the tech comm community will support me in this endeavor as well.

About TechCommGeekMom

Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who has recently started her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, and BASF North America, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog, TechCommGeekMom.com, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/daniellemvillegas, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog.
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2 Responses to Stage 2 of non-pudding brain: It’s official. I’m a student again.

  1. Larry Kunz says:

    Good for you! I think that digital marketing will provide a great complement to your tech comm skills. And Rutgers is dear to my heart: my parents met when they were students there, long before anyone thought of online courses.

    • Thanks, Larry! Ironically enough, Rutgers is one of the few institutions of higher learning that’s actually close to me–it’s only about a half hour drive from my house. (Princeton is closer–about 10 minutes, and Rider University and College of New Jersey, formerly known as Trenton State College, are about 20 minutes away.) Even so, online learning is so much easier for me, and I did well with it when I got my MSPTC from NJIT, so I’m sure it’ll be fine now.

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