After graduating from a rigorous university program or working for 20 years in an industry that you know cold, the idea of enrolling in an online course can seem downright torturous. There are many benefits, however, to continuing your education in areas that align with your personal or career goals. With the recent shift in focus from traditional educational structure to a more open one, online learning has grown tremendously which allows you to find courses in even the most niche technologies in order to stay up to speed.
1. Keep Your Skills Sharp
Although Moore’s Law is dead, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that technology has been evolving at a breakneck pace since the 1970s. In a world where technology moves faster than people do, it can be easy to get left behind with skills that are outdated, irrelevant, and unprofitable.
It’s important to stay up to speed by reading up on the latest trends, interfacing with other professionals in your industry, or taking online training and education courses in order to not fall behind in your industry. When it comes to delving deeper into a particular tech skill, especially one in your toolkit that has dulled, nothing beats finding high quality online courses created by experts.
2. Get Certified
Whether you’re an aspiring sysadmin or a seasoned networking professional, getting the latest certifications in your industry can help to build your personal brand. For those on the job hunt, having certifications such as the MCSE and CCENT under your belt can often put your resume at the top of the pile. Seeking out additional education and certifications shows initiative and dedication, both of which are highly desirable qualities in a candidate.
These certifications often come with an arduous exam, however, so taking an online prep course from an expert is essential. Many online courses also offer certificates of completion, which can help to strengthen your case if you are asking an employer to sponsor your online course.
3. Negotiate a Raise
The same display of initiative and dedication that can get you hired is also a valuable tool when negotiating for a promotion or raise. If you’ve been at the same level in your company for a while, taking an online course will not only help build skills and experience, but also display your mastery of a certain technology. You can use a certificate of completion or examples of coursework to show your boss that you are a major asset, and that you should be compensated accordingly.
If it’s a promotion you’re after, take a look at the company as a whole when choosing which courses to take. What business critical skills should you have to better assist in reaching company goals? This practice will not only impress your boss and help the business, but will stimulate your overall professional growth.
4. Broaden Your Horizons
Continuing your education with online courses can help to enhance your marketability by teaching you a new skills and technologies. If you are a freelancer this can be especially key to growing your income and client base. You can open yourself up to a whole new market or offer tasty add ons to your existing services by learning a new skill.
Already versed in web design? Take an SEO course and offer consulting services on top of your builds. Have a background in security consulting? Try adding technical writing to your skillset and produce killer documentation. Online courses make this easy to fit into a hectic schedule while remaining cost effective.
5. Personal Growth
Regardless of your industry, not having hobbies outside of the workplace can cause you to be uninspired and productivity can suffer. Learning a new skill that’s unrelated your job can be a fun way to blow off steam and help you discover new passions.
Having purpose in your personal time is important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and can bring new energy into your professional role. So get out there, find the course that’s right for you, and continue your education and growth.