From Accounting to Digital Marketing: A Career Change Through Apprenticeship

Posted by Robyn Savidge on May 9, 2017

What percentage of college graduates end up with a career directly related to their major? According to The Washington Post, only 27 percent. Here’s the story of an Accounting major and her pathway to becoming an analytics guru in the world of digital marketing by adopting an apprenticeship mindset.

Nena Untung graduated from the University of Texas Austin with a Masters in Professional Accounting and minor in Marketing. After interning at an accounting firm and realizing it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term, Nena decided to pursue digital marketing. She secured content marketing and analytics internships at DoStuff Media and VCFO, and realized digital marketing with an emphasis on analytics—her top strength, due to her accounting background—was the way to go. Through her roles in marketing and analytics combined with the coaching and transformational, hands-on learning aspects of apprenticeship, Nena was able to accelerate her analytics expertise and career.

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Nena pictured at WeWork after an apprenticeship session.

Overview of Nena’s Career Path:

  • Content and Analytic Intern at DoStuff Media
  • Marketing Intern at VCFO
  • Digital Marketing Media Analyst at Effective Spend

We sat down with her to explore her journey to becoming an apprentice and her decision to take on the world of analytics.

Full Interview

How did you learn about apprenticeship?

I attended a digital marketing hackathon where I learned more about the field and how my accounting skills could transfer into a marketing career. I then learned about the apprenticeship program and decided to apply. I applied for DCI two months before I graduated and they connected me right away with recruiters and set up interviews. I got a job a week after I graduated!

Why did you chose to participate in the apprenticeship program?

Through Digital Creative Institute we learn all aspects of digital marketing - and there's a ton to learn! Through DCI, I’m excited to dive into each area and see how I can contribute more in the digital marketing space. There might be other parts of digital marketing that I’m good at or that I find more interesting.

You have a lot of intern experience. What did you take away from those roles?

The first internship I did was an audit internship at a public accounting firm and through that experience I realized I didn’t want to do accounting long-term. I looked back to college and I really liked my first marketing class, so from there I decided to look for other internships within the marketing field. I realized I have some strong analytical skills because of my accounting background, so I was able to secure a content and analytic internship at a small media company here in Austin. I did analytics, consolidated their metrics, and learned how to report on performance. It was then that I decided I wanted to explore other areas of marketing.

I did another internship and helped with email blasts and designed their employer referral program. I learned I was also able to help them with their monthly marketing metrics meeting, which is more reporting and analytics. From that experience, I realized that even though my interest is in marketing, my strongest skill set is analytics. That’s why now I’m a media analyst at Effective Spend!

How has the apprenticeship program helped so far with your role at Effective Spend?

One thing that’s really useful is learning Scrum Project Management. In the first week on the job, my boss gave me a scrum book. By going through the scrum curriculum, I was able to help my boss by giving suggestions on how to implement it and how to improve what we are doing. Right now, we’re doing “sort of scrum”, but the full scrum—it’s pretty cool. 

How else has the apprenticeship been valuable to you?

The apprenticeship taught me how to create automated reports to easily evaluate the performance of PPC campaigns. I am responsible for ensuring that the the campaign's landing pages and thank you pages are properly tagged so we can accurately track the amount of conversions or revenue that our agency is bringing to the client. I am still in the learning process with onboarding new paid search clients. However I do attend proposal meetings and observe how our agency can optimize and reduce each campaign's cost per acquisition through better segmentation and testing methods.

What’s your favorite part of the apprenticeship so far?

My favorite part is meeting a ton of digital marketers in Austin with different backgrounds - it's great to hear their insights and network with them. I usually connect with them via LinkedIn or email. Our instructors are CEOs of marketing agencies and marketers higher up within organizations. One of our apprentices works for Apogee Results, and yesterday at our session the CEO said right away, “Is there anything that’s stopping me from hiring these other people to join my team?” It’s awesome to be able to learn from these experienced marketers and connect with them!

What are your overall learning goals for the apprenticeship?

One of the cool things about DCI is that we have a portfolio piece every month, so by the end of the program I would like to have a complete portfolio where I can showcase all of the different skills I have in digital marketing.

What are your post-apprenticeship plans?

Mainly to continue building my skills to become an expert in digital marketing. Based on the conversations from the speakers that come, it’s going to be really difficult to become an expert in digital marketing because the space is constantly evolving, which is why it’s exciting at the same time. My plan is to continue building my skills within the digital marketing field and to keep up with the trends.


Nena continues to learn new skills and connect with other professionals. Want to be like Nena and experience exponential career and skill growth? Apply today to be in one of our cohorts of digital marketing apprentices! Training begins in San Antonio and Austin in August 2017.

Apply to DCI Today!

Topics: For Recent Grads

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