Choose an online eCommerce degree if you want to buy, sell, or promote products electronically. eCommerce—short for electronic commerce—includes any business transaction done through electronic means. While the most common form of eCommerce is selling a good or service, even signing up online for a contest or taking a survey falls under this label.
Careers in eCommerce are for professionals who are ready to dive into the ever-evolving, innovative world of online business. As the 21st century takes us deeper into our technological discoveries, it is the perfect opportunity for professionals to develop their skills into an eCommerce career. Plus, eCommerce is booming and increased demand means more opportunities for database administrators, project managers, and eCommerce directors. Opportunities and pay vary, depending on the job and industry. Leadership positions pay the most. Electronic commerce managers earn nearly $91,000 on average.
THE CAREER PATH
eCommerce professionals provide a unique combination of strategic business knowledge and computer sciences. For that reason, there are various career paths within the field of eCommerce that can lead professionals to a position that places more emphasis on an understanding of business strategy or of computer sciences and IT, depending on their strengths and interests. Some of the best options for professionals are:
- Sales Managers — If eCommerce professionals decide to focus on business and sales in order to make themselves more competitive for a wider array of opportunities, they may work as an eCommerce director at some point. Directors specialize in the realm of online sales, and so they fall under the category of “sales managers.” Sales managers typically work in their industry of choice to direct organizational sales teams, set sales goals, analyze data and trends, and develop training programs for sales representatives. Sales managers must have experience in the field in order to be a competitive applicant. Careers in management tend to be both more competitive and more rewarding than entry-level positions or other specializations. The same is true of sales managers, who are some of the highest paid eCommerce professionals; they make nearly $120,000 on average.
- Website Developers — In contrast to sales managers, if e-commerce professionals hone their skills in computer sciences and IT, they may work to maintain the online functions of certain businesses, such as their websites. Because of the scope and demand of websites everywhere, this field is anticipating the fastest growth of all the eCommerce careers—the BLS predicts 27% growth by 2024. In addition to the variety and stability, the outcome isn’t so bad either; professionals in web development earn $64,970 on average.
- Market Research Analysts — These professionals use their understanding of technical business to examine the potential sales for online products and services. They research and gather data to figure out what people want, who those people are, and what prices they are willing to pay. Market research analyst professionals are another group that are expected to be in high demand in the near future. Their skills have gained valuable recognition, driven by the increasing use of electronic data and market research, allowing opportunities to grow by an expected 20% in the coming years and the average annual salary to swell to over $60,000.
- Advertising, Promotions & Marketing Managers — Another career that business-focused e-commerce professionals may choose is to be an advertising or promotion manager. These managers are responsible for planning programs that will generate interest in products or services offered by their online business. By working with sales, PR, and product development staff, they develop pricing and promotional strategies that will maximize profits and market share while satisfying clients. In addition to being accessible and reliable work, these types of management jobs are a worthwhile ambition that pay upwards of $100,000 annually, on average. Like other careers in eCommerce, these types of positions are expected to be in high demand in the coming years—the BLS predicts growth by nearly 10%.
- Computer Systems Analysts — Another common goal for professionals who want to focus on the technical aspect of e-commerce is a career as a computer systems analyst. These positions bring together businesses and IT by understanding the ins and outs of both. They are responsible for creating solutions that allow businesses to operate online more effectively and efficiently. Much like other types of analysts, such as market researchers, these professionals are expected to be in high demand in the next decade. As technology becomes the driving force behind our societal and economic functions, the need for professionals with this set of skills is expected to increase by more than 20%. The average salary for these types of analysts in particular is almost $90,000.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Careers in eCommerce require a unique set of skills that combines an understanding of technical concepts in addition to traditional business and sales knowledge. Professionals who are interested in these types of careers should be prepared for the dual role that they will often play between business and IT. Most successful eCommerce professionals have problem-solving and communication skills that allow them to work with various other types of professionals and to explain and delegate difficult concepts. If you’re the type of analytical, critical-thinker who is ready to mesh the worlds of technology and business, then you may want to consider the many options of e-commerce.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
eCommerce is a relatively new degree major. Constant growth and changes in the field means programs must regularly update courses and learning standards. This is easier to do at the graduate level, so many online programs are master's or doctorates. These advanced degrees allow for intense studies on consumer purchasing, new mobile technology and other topics.
If you're currently working in a tech field or have a computer science degree, consider earning a certificate in e-commerce. It covers many of the same topics that a graduate degree does, but usually involves less time and research. You'll leave knowing how to set up electronic payment tools, manage e-commerce databases and market new products online.
eCommerce degree programs offer many areas of specialty, from tech work to design. Your previous education or experience can help dictate your career path. If your bachelor's degree is in sales or marketing, you could work as an eCommerce sales director or manager, promoting new online security features and special savings events as a part of your job, or pursue a career in internet marketing by tapping into eCommerce strategies.
A computer science degree also segues nicely into an eCommerce degree online. As a database administrator or IT specialist, your typical daily work includes software maintenance, troubleshooting and writing code. Have an entrepreneurial spirit? Start your own online business and manage every aspect of your product, from locating raw goods to communicating with clients. Academic careers are another option. Firms pay big money for statisticians and researchers interested in mobile technology.
The Institute of Certified eCommerce Consultants (ICECC) offers accreditations for institutions as well as certifications for individual professionals who want to enhance their resume.
The average four year bachelor's degree in e-commerce generally costs between $25,000 and $50,000. The tuition in each profile includes all technology and online learning fees but does not include the cost of additional educational materials such as books, certifications, or housing. Before investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, developing professionals should look into programs thoroughly in order to get the most bang for their buck.