When the planeteers put their rings together, they form captain planet. When I put my real world work experience together back in 2010, it formed an SEO-specialist. If you can build, if you can write, if you have a sufficient understanding of data AND you can talk to regular people about it you might have what it takes to be an SEO-specialist.
Blink your eyes twice and two years go by. My responsibilities grew into e-mail marketing, automation and even a fair chunk of offline marketing. But I wanted to nothing but SEO. So I switched to an agency.
Servicing SMB's with SEO was my proving ground. From helping out sole proprietors to financial unicorns such as Mollie Payments, I did it all. While working for a cool Hotel Vacancy startup called Hotelprofessionals I bumped into my first real world SEO-specialist. He showed me keyword research and I was hooked right away.