Every journey needs a map.

Beginning your career—especially in an unfamiliar profession—can be daunting: What skills are critical to your success? Which skills can you save for later? How should you prioritize?

The skills every digital marketer needs.

We know the feeling, and that's why we assembled a group of top digital marketers at Google and beyond to create a "digital skills map" for the industry. It's a clear set of specific know-how—including "soft" interpersonal skills and "hard" technical skills—that all entry-level marketers should know.

The skills you'll master.

To get a sense of what you'll be learning, we've divided the competency map into three broad categories:

  • Foundation skills: Critical for success in any career—and life in general
  • Business skills: Invaluable for any fast-paced career in the business world
  • Industry skills: The know-how you need to thrive as a digital marketer

Foundation skills

  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Design thinking
  • Reflection
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Business skills

  • Interviewing
  • Feedback
  • Facilitation
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Data-driven decisions

Industry skills

  • Search engine marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Web analytics
  • Content marketing
  • HTML

What is digital marketing, anyway?

Maybe the best way to understand this fast-growing industry is to meet an actual customer.

This is the story of Roberto Gil, a designer and owner of Casa Kids, a custom furniture shop in Brooklyn. Google AdWords, the premier search engine marketing (SEM) tool, helped him increase website traffic by "30 percent in just a few months." That kind of improvement can mean the difference between success and failure for a small business.

But most small—and large—businesses can't handle the complex challenges of digital marketing alone. That's why they turn to agencies to create online advertising and social media campaigns, website design and optimization, and much more. As a digital marketer, you'll help businesses like Casa Kids—as well as some of your favorite big brands—thrive on the web.