Learning a new skill will make you confident and relevant in the job market. (Stock photo)

Skilling the smart way: Selecting the right online course for your career

Companies are looking for managers, communication specialists, creative thinkers, and data specialists

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Never stop learning to progress, or to upskill and be relevant in the job market. A digital edtech platform will help you do that: teach you coding or a new foreign language.
“There are two things which are a must-have in today’s corporate world. One is data literacy and the other is digital literacy,” says Mayank Kumar, co-founder and managing director of upGrad, an edtech company.

“In the 35 plus (age) category, the broader thought that they have is ‘how do I position myself well in front of my children and society. How do I give back to society and reach something like a CXO level position’. The kind of programme that a middle-aged person wants to take up is very different. If (a person) with 0-3 years’ work experience is focusing on hard skill, a 10+ work experience person will focus on how to publish a paper or put across something in a journal,” he says.
Demand for software engineers makes headlines, but companies also need people skilled in communications, problem solving, computer literacy and management. “As AI (artificial intelligence) accelerates and puts more jobs at risk, leadership is becoming important. Leaders are the ones who help employees navigate and even thrive during change. It’s a uniquely human skill and one that AI will likely never replace,” says Raghav Gupta, managing director for India and APAC at Coursera, an international online tutor that does business in India.

Coursera said 15 per cent of its users are people seeking entry-level jobs. Career switchers, comprising 39 per cent of its users, want to make a change for growth, higher income, or job security. As many as 29 per cent are career advancers, or people seeking additional skills to advance in their fields, shift to a related field, or specialise in a specific area of study. The remaining 13 per cent are ‘enthusiasts’ satisfying their curiosity about topics outside of work.

Simplilearn, an online platform for skilling and training, said its collaboration with universities and enterprises had given its insight about what “learners” want.
“We observe that 68 per cent of our learners are between the 25-35 age bracket, and we also have a considerable number (20 per cent) of learners between the ages of 35 and 40. On levels of experience, 49 per cent of our learners upskill with us post-completion of their bachelor’s degree program; we have many learners joining post their master’s and MBA as well,” says Krishna Kumar, founder and chief executive officer of Simplilearn.

He adds that 43 per cent of Simplilearn users subscribe to upskilling courses for certification, 21 per cent do it for better job opportunities, 20 per cent for growth in their current job, and 16 per cent to ensure continuous learning.

What to study

“Online learning platforms give learners the option to experiment by enrolling in several courses before committing to complete a particular course. In fact, this freedom to explore various interests is a valued benefit of online education, motivating learners to complete the course they finally choose. When selecting a course, learners should consider their interests, desired skills and knowledge, the course’s relevance to their career goals, the institution’s reputation, and the time commitment required,” says Gupta.
“Education technology has changed learning and teaching forever. However, that is not to say that education technology is a better or worse way of learning than the traditional way. In fact, education technology should not be used in isolation. It should be used as an additional tool to enhance traditional teaching and learning methods,” says Dr Neha Rastogi, a lecturer at Indraprastha University in Delhi.

The first step in selecting an upskilling course is to identify your career goals and the skills needed to achieve those goals, says Ranjita Raman, chief executive officer of Jaro Education, which its website says offers online courses in association with universities.

Research the job market and industry trends to understand the skills that are in demand. Evaluate the teaching content, faculty credentials, and the institute delivering the program. Subscribers must consider courses that provide practical experience through hands-on training, real-world projects, and industry certifications.

Create a learning schedule that suits your work and personal commitments. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day or week to upskilling and stick to your schedule.

Make use of online resources. Take advantage of online resources such as blogs, webinars, podcasts, and YouTube videos to help your learning.
Network with professionals, attend industry events, join online communities, and connect with diverse professionals for insights, advice, and mentorship.

Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of Scaler, which provides coding and software development learning courses, completing an upskilling course depends on an individual’s pace and capabilities. As most users are working full time, courses accommodate their commitments.

Source: Business Standard https://www.business-standard.com/finance/personal-finance/skilling-the-smart-way-selecting-the-right-online-course-for-your-career-123040700291_1.html

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