Ontario college to offer programmatic course

Partnership with Centro gives students hands-on DSP experience

Programmatic advertising is a skill in high demand, but employers say not enough people have hands-on training before being hired. Sheridan College saw that as an opportunity and will begin offering a course in programmatic advertising next month.

“It is something completely new,” said Hayder Sultan, programmatic media project lead and creator of the course. “We take great honour and pride in that we are the first institution in Canada to offer it.”

The course is part of the Ontario college’s Digital Marketing Management program, with 21 hours of class time and a partnership with Centro that gives students the ability to train on its DSP software to learn about real-world case studies and actual campaign optimization.

Students will use Sheridan’s own programmatic advertising campaign as part of the course, which Sultan said gives students the opportunity to “utilize the DSP, tools, campaign, reporting and optimization after the campaign.”

When it came time to create the curriculum for the course, Sultan consulted with industry colleagues and attended events to understand what was needed.

“The general feeling is that there is a huge gap between the theory and hands-on,” said Sulltan. “If you go to any job board and look for programmatic buyer, you’ll see high salaries and a lot of opportunities. But we don’t have a big workforce who are qualified for that job because they need the experience in utilizing [the tools].”

Sultan said the course is designed to be flexible, wtih the college able to change material during a semester if needed in order to keep up with the demands of the industry.

“It’s a full-time job for someone just to be up to date with the changes in programmatic advertising,” he adds. “Programmatic advertising is moving forward rapidly, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit and wait for it to be finalized. We can tap in, contribute and use whatever tool is available now while being open to any adjustment in the near feature.”

Already the interest is strong, as the course has a growing wait list and some agencies even want to send a dozen people over multiple intakes. In addition, Sultan said the college is in the final stages of creating a special course for the publisher-side of programmatic advertising, too.

“It will be a custom solution for publishers,” he adds. “There is also a gap there and we recognize that.”

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