When you’re starting out in the workplace, it’s important to know that employers want candidates with a diverse range of skills and abilities.
Entry-level positions are often designed for individuals to take on different roles, requiring them to multitask and wear many hats within a corporation. While most degrees will help you develop relevant workplace skills, some roles may require a specialized skillset that aren’t standard with every degree. Luckily, that’s where MOOCs come in!
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are a new form of online education. Institutions and corporations like Google, Harvard and MIT have all launched their own online platforms and taking these courses often come at zero or little cost to participants, depending on what type of education and certification you’re looking for. Subjects vary from polishing up your mathematical skills, to ancient Chinese philosophy, and even IT and programming courses. Some platforms are even offering complete “nanodegrees” in iOS, Android and Web Developing. Courses are taught online through a mixture of video lectures, tutorials, readings and projects. Some programs allow you to move at your own pace, while others have set start and end dates.
While many of these certificates are not transferable for university credit, they are still considered assets by many employers, particularly those in the tech sector. The only catch is you must be able to prove to an employer that you’ve learned these skills. This can be accomplished by completing projects to demonstrate your abilities, or carrying over your certificates onto your LinkedIn profile.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a round-up of the most popular types of MOOCs for students and new grads!
IT and Technological Skills
You may be overwhelmed at the thought of building an entire HTML webpage from scratch, but that’s eggs-actly what MOOCs are for. Part of the learning process of these technical programs includes a final project where you must demonstrate your abilities, ensuring that everything you’ll be able to apply these skills to future assignments. Bonus? When you complete the course, you’ll have a project that you can show off in your professional portfolio.
It’s also worth noting that many of the computer science courses and “nanodegrees” offer support after completion. Career advisor courses give you feedback on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and portfolio in addition to helping you prepare for interviews.
Practical Workplace Knowledge
Aside from the practical and technological skills that you can learn from these platforms, they also function as resource guides for young individuals stepping into the workplace for the first time.
For example, there are many courses offered in topics such as Marketing, Communications and even professional growth. Some programs explain how to budget and plan out a corporate project, while others help you effectively manage meetings to stay on task, organize an entire event or help you polish your public speaking skills.
Even if you’re a star programmer and have mastered all the day-to-day business skills, there’s still something in it for you. Why not brush up on your Chinese Ancient Philosophy? Or take an Intro to Psychology or Human Rights class? A lot of topics might not be directly applicable to your chosen career and that’s okay – education is not simply about job training, but also expanding your knowledge of the world. Plus, employers love to see candidates with a thirst for knowledge and personal development.
Young professionals are expected to be constantly learning and developing their skills, but there’s no need to stress! Instead, view it as a challenge to expand your expertise and develop new skills. Not only will MOOCs make you more employable, they could help spark a passion for a new subject!