By learning new digital marketing skills, this Udacity student was able to break new career ground for herself … at her current company! Here’s why they created a new role, just for her.

Udacity - Practical Lifelong Learning - Digital Marketing

Meet Kat Halo. She works as a medical assistant in a prominent dermatology office; a career she was inspired to pursue after seeing the incredible care her father received throughout his battle with cancer. She loves the experience of supporting and caring for her patients, but she’s also been wrestling with a growing need for more creative fulfillment. Her partner works in marketing analytics, and she’s been curious about his projects. When her office started investing in some digital marketing efforts, she recognized an opportunity:

“I started paying close attention to how these new marketing initiatives were being conducted, and I continually found myself thinking, ‘I bet I could do this!’”

The marketing budget was already allocated to another provider, however, but that didn’t stop Kat. She decided to learn the skills on her own:

“I discovered Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program via a Facebook ad. I remember, I showed the course description to my partner and he commented: ‘These are exactly the skills you were looking to gain.'”

She enrolled, and commited her spare time to the program. The project-based curriculum was ideal, as it enabled her to gain real-world experience. In the first project, students select a client to build real marketing campaigns for—Kat chose a dermatology office! She started creating email campaigns, social campaigns, and SEO/SEM simulations, all aimed at marketing to potential patients:

“This was a great way to practice new skills and tools in a space I was already familiar with. Additionally, the projects helped me to realize where my current employer could improve their efforts; specifically with email campaigns and our social media presence.”

As Kat advanced through the program, her confidence continued to grow, as did her conviction that there was a real opportunity on the horizon, for both her company, and for herself. She began to informally discuss her ideas with her co-workers, and her manager was impressed enough to suggest she present her thoughts to the company:

“We discussed the Udacity program, and the skills I had gained. They were impressed with my new marketing knowledge, and also agreed there was an opportunity for the company to improve their digital marketing efforts. They asked me if I would be interested in maintaining some of my medical assistant responsibilities, in addition to taking on new marketing tasks. Together, we worked to design a new position at the company: marketing coordinator and lead medical assistant.”

Kat Halo - Lifelong Learning - UdacityThis is proving to be a win for everyone; the company is benefitting from the addition of a skilled digital marketer with deep insights into their industry, and Kat is breaking new career ground for herself, and feeling really excited about her work:

“I am loving my new role. I’m now working with the CEO to create an overall marketing plan for the company, focusing on patient acquisition and retention. It’s a challenge, but Udacity really helped me to understand how to grow a brand through smart digital marketing. And the best part is, I am still working for a company I love, doing two things I love: working with patients, and being creative.”

As it turns out, Kat isn’t stopping there. She’s already found another way to apply her newfound skills—she and her partner are in the midst of opening their own brewery! Both of them are passionate about beer and have been brewing at home for years. They’re now working through their business plan, and scouting a location. It’s early days yet, but powered by their combined marketing skills, they’re confident their first business venture together will be successful.

Kat is a wonderful example of “practical” lifelong learning—finding and taking advantage of new opportunities that are readily accessible, and that will have an immediate impact. For her, it wasn’t about complete and total transformation. She didn’t change companies, relocate, or reinvent herself wholesale. She didn’t need to. She liked what she was doing. But, she also knew she could do more. So she set her sights on learning practical skills that would be immediately applicable in her career, and as a result, she’s gotten a raise, delivered significant new value to her company, and brought herself to a new level of excitement about her work, and her future.

Kat, congratulations on all your hard work, and the successes you’ve achieved! We look forward to watching your continued progress (and to tasting your beer!). Thank you for learning with Udacity!