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Essential Programming Languages You Should Learn as a Digital Marketer

To take your digital marketing skills to the next level, you should consider learning programming skills. Learn about the benefits of understanding code and how to get started - even as a non-coder.

This is part 2 of a 2-part article exploring whether digital marketers should learn programming skills. Head over to part 1 here to find out the reasons why having coding skills might give you an additional boost as a digital marketer.

Programming Skills to learn as a digital marketer

There are many programming languages out there, but they’re used in different circumstances. Some might be better suited for data analysis, while others are used in web development. Let's look at some of the most commonly used languages in digital marketing!


Website is arguably one of the most important channels in digital marketing. A well-designed website with clear user navigation and visuals leaves a good impression on visitors.

For digital marketers, it is important to know where your meta titles, descriptions, and keywords are on your website. HTML tells you exactly where these contents are, while CSS amps up the graphics by adding styles including colour and fonts.

Here’s a trick that I use to get the source code of any website. Right click on your webpage, and click on ‘Inspect Element’. A panel will appear on the right side of your screen, and that’s where all the magic happens. You’ll see the source code with all the elements, animations, and images that make up a webpage.

With website builders like WordPress, Wix, and Webflow, it is now possible to build your own easily. However, organisations often have specific needs with regards to the functionalities of the website. Therefore, having knowledge of HTML and CSS can help you customise your website freely.

It also helps that these two programming languages are relatively beginner-friendly. I’d recommend any digital marketer looking to increase their digital literacy to look into HTML and CSS as a starter!


In digital marketing, Javascript is best at implementing tracking codes and web-development.

As digital marketers, we’re concerned about when a potential customer clicks on a page, and how they navigate through the website. Google Tag Manager is a useful tool to fire triggers on web pages that visitors land on. Other tools like Google Analytics, Google Ads, have code snippets - all written in Javascript too.

While most of these can be copied and pasted to your website builder (e.g. WordPress, Wix, Squarespace), more advanced Javascript knowledge can save you tons of time through automations and track more interesting user insights.

For example, you can automate repetitive tasks in Google Ads. Let’s say you have an eCommerce website, and would like to run ads for your products. However, you might find that the manual process of checking your inventory, pausing and unpausing ads for out-of-stock products repetitive and time-consuming. Google Ads has an inventory-based ad management code to automate this process. Here’s a quick visual representation of what this looks like.

Google Search Ads 360 Process
Credits: Google Search Ads 360

Javascript is amazing at connecting your inventory data to Google Ads, and cuts a lot of time on your end.


Python is one of the fastest-growing programming languages in the world. Think of it as advanced Excel. Excel is great at analysing small data sets and using simple formulas for calculations. You might even find yourself using the same formulas over and over again. However, if you want a more powerful way to do marketing data analysis, Python is particularly useful especially for non-technical digital marketers.

For example, you can import data sources from common digital marketing platforms Google Analytics and Facebook. Thereafter, you can perform different types of analysis of your marketing activities - such as predicting customer behaviour, creating charts for sales over time.

If you’d like a greater in-depth understanding of using Python in marketing, here’s a detailed read covering marketing analytics reporting to customer feedback analysis.

Where to learn basic programming as a Digital Marketer

Coding can seem daunting and difficult. However, don’t feel intimidated by this! Even if you’re completely new to programming or even digital marketing, it’s doable as long as you set your mind to learn. Here are some recommended resources to get you started.

1. Self-learning sites

If you’re unsure about committing to a course fully, you can get started with self-learning sites online. It could also be from YouTube, the best platform for all free video tutorials. This is great if you’re in the exploratory phase, as you can test the waters to see if this is something that you’re keen to learn more about.

freeCodeCamp also has short tutorials that you can try out yourself before committing to a course. There are also free games and exercises to test your understanding after each chapter. There are many languages available, including HTML, CSS, SQL and Javascript.

freeCodeCamp interface
Programmer’s favourite first words - “Hello World”

2. Online courses

Online courses are great for those with some foundational knowledge of digital marketing, but are looking to expand their skill sets. Most of them come with paid certificates that you can put in your resume or Linkedin after course completion.

For example, Coursera has a Digital Marketing Specialisation. You can learn about analytics in digital marketing, search engine optimisation, tools you can use to guide you in the decision making process.

Coursera Digital Marketing Specialisation
Credit: Coursera

Alternatively, Udemy has a course for you to learn the basics of programming for marketers. They will teach you about how technology and code are used in marketing, and how web technologies work.

Udemy Basics of Programming for Marketers
Credit: Udemy

However, keep in mind that they’re often not easy for beginners and depend on your level of self-discipline to keep up with the curriculum.

3. Cohort / structured bootcamps