Advice for a Marketer: Which one I should invest my time HTML&CSS or SQL? (or both)


After majoring in Business now I’m about to finish MSc in Marketing. Marketing is becoming a more technical area than a creative one as it used to be. So what I observe is you need to know at least basics of coding or analytical tools to be competitive in the job market.

So my question is should I invest my time in HTML&CSS(I already finished basic tutorials) or more on data analysis (SQL)?

Time is precious and I’m 28 and ready to hear every bit of advice from you guys!

I would tentatively say SQL is likely to be vastly more useful, particularly for you financially.

Being able to analyse (for example) purchasing patterns or user retention or the success of promotions, or building lists of specific types of customers: they’re are all things that will make money, maybe even make or break businesses. The ability to quickly access and collate and analyse data, that’s super useful from a business PoV

In contrast, I think basic knowledge of web technologies is very useful, and important, and I would look for ways to practice the basic knowledge you’ve got and keep it fresh. But is it something that’s going to directly translate into value? (Not a rhetorical question!)

Note that the basics of coding is not necessarily particularly useful. Understanding how the web works at a given technical level – that is maybe very useful, as it means you can understand technical limitations

Hey Dan,

Thanks a lot for your response! You pointed out all my concerns accurately.

I would like to be stronger with my financial situation so as you said spending more time on SQL might be a better option. If you have any recommendations learning SQL and resources on it I will appreciate it a lot!

Also, I agree that web technologies are very useful, at least at a level that gives you a basic understanding. That generally makes communication between tech guys and marketing much easier.

Do you think I should also mention HTML and CSS in my CV? (of course as basic knowledge. )

Yes, I would do. Careful though, as you may be asked to use that (“oh, we’ve hired a new junior marketer and he knows some HTML, let’s have him do all the email coding”)

This is a key thing. It’s a bit hard to say what knowledge and how much of it you need (a lot comes though experience, which is why I’d say practice to keep knowledge fresh, and keep reading up on things, following influential developers on social media etc etc), and a helluva lot comes via experience. But having someone on the business side of things who speaks the same language as developers, who knows at least some of the right questions to ask and understands technical limitations, like a bridge between the two, that’s a useful position to be in. If you’re on the business side, business concerns are much more important, and learning skills directly related to that will end up eating most of your time, which will take you away from the orbit of developers (that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing). But worthwhile ensuring you have a useful knowledge base