In today’s rapidly changing job market, people change career direction for any number of different reasons. Better yet, with the explosion in online learning and the opportunity for students to undertake a wider range of courses than ever, there surely couldn’t be many better times to start thinking about that career change.
Table of Contents
- 1 How studying online is making it easier than ever to expand your skill base
- 2 Qualifications with the best job certainty and career prospects
How studying online is making it easier than ever to expand your skill base
Before considering the best qualifications to take to expand your career opportunities, it would perhaps be worth considering just how much the world of education has changed.
Over the last couple of decades, the online learning market has mushroomed, with more colleges and universities now offering the opportunity for students to study in their own time by signing up for web-based learning.
Studying online offers considerable advantages to both students and educational establishments. For example, from a student’s perspective, online study is:
- Almost always cheaper: Due to the reduced costs of colleges and universities not having to pay rent and rates for real-world classrooms, heating, etc., they are usually able to pass on these fixed-cost savings to students
- Learn at your own pace: The regimented structure of attending classes at a fixed time often meant students falling behind or not grasping a particular subject. With online learning, if you don’t fully understand a topic or section, you can go back and review it – as many times as you need to.
- Juggle an existing job with learning: In the past, it was very often the case that students looking to learn new subjects would have to juggle lessons around an already-busy schedule of daytime work and night-time family responsibilities. With an online course, students are free to study at a time that suits them.
- Learn anywhere: The world today is more connected than ever and with the majority of people owning a smartphone, it’s possible for students to learn anywhere. Got a few minutes spare on the bus commute to work? Great – why not put them to good use by doing a little coursework while you have the extra time?
- A greater range of support and backup materials: In the traditional learning environments, the onus lay largely on students to ensure they took detailed notes and found supplementary backup materials. However, with the majority of online courses, universities and colleges offer an extensive library of additional coursework material to help students.
- A wider diversity of subjects: Because much of the material produced for online learning can be used over and over again, the teaching establishments can offer a much wider diversity of courses – including subjects that may not have been commercially viable in the traditional learning environment. In turn, this opens up a far greater range of choices for students looking to learn less common subjects.
Much of these advantages are repeated from the point of view of the university or college. However, it would probably be fair to say that their greatest advantage is the reduced overhead and opportunity to reuse course materials.
Qualifications with the best job certainty and career prospects
Whether you’re looking for a new outlook or just want to find a job with a little more security, below are some great qualifications that could offer you a whole new start in life and kickstart your next work cycle.
Take a qualification in computer studies
Few people would deny the tremendous impact the web, computers, and tech have had on the modern world and, in particular, today’s workplace. These days, it’s almost impossible to think of any company that doesn’t rely on computers to at least some degree.
By undertaking a Master of Science in Data Science online, you won’t just massively expand the number and type of jobs you’ll qualify for; you’ll also more than likely improve how much you could earn.
In today’s super-connected world, having computer skills gives tremendous advantages, and no matter what industry you currently work in, these types of abilities will be viewed very positively by a prospective employer and as an added bonus.
Typical skills that are in huge demand include a working knowledge of cloud-based networks, a proficiency in the typical Microsoft Office programs, or an understanding of basic programming skills. Having these core bases will help in any modern job and give you that extra something when you’re looking for work.
Look at branching into Human Resources (HR)
The role of the modern Human Resources (HR) practitioner has changed massively in recent years and now goes much further than just looking after the needs of employees. Today’s HR professionals are often involved at a managerial level in companies and can help shape the direction a firm takes by finding ways to maximize the effectiveness of a firm’s in-house skills.
Whether you’re already working in another role and want to add HR abilities to your skill base or are looking for a complete career change, having HR skills will be viewed as a positive advantage by most employers.
Take a course in project management
Possessing skills in project management will be seen as a bonus for almost any position you can think of. Unless you’re talking about the smallest of companies, pretty much all firms rely heavily on teamwork in their organization – and a fundamental part of that is having the ability to coordinate and oversee a wide bunch of individuals while still keeping focus on the overall aim.
However, project management abilities aren’t just about organization – rather, they also encompass the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are such an integral part of getting on through life.
Taking a course in project management will help you hone these abilities so that you ultimately become a better boss and, some might argue, a more rounded person.
Study a certification in sales
Depending on the industry in which you work, it may be possible to undertake a specific sales qualification related to your role. If not, you could always check with universities and colleges to see what courses they offer for training in sales.
As the old saying goes, ‘money makes the world go around’ and few bosses will be able to resist a candidate that has gone the extra mile to learn better sales tactics.
Learn specific software like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package
It’s often said that a company’s greatest asset is its staff – however, sitting a very close second behind employees must be a firm’s clients. Customer relations used to be a constant headache for many companies – particularly smaller firms that often found it difficult to justify the extra time required to stay on top of fostering and maintaining a good relationship with their customers.
However, in recent years, a huge range of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions have come on the market that can more or less automate the entire client/company interaction process and put companies head and shoulders above their rivals.
Conservative estimates suggest it can cost as much as five times for a company to find a new client compared to holding onto an existing customer – so good CRM is vital for companies that want to remain profitable and retain their client base. Moreover, it’s also suggested that firms that can increase their customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by between 25%-95%.
The importance of good client relations cannot be overstated – and most forward-thinking firms are slowly coming to realize the value of keeping in touch with their customers and building stronger bonds.
Good CRM software can largely automate your client care responsibilities from first contact on your website right through the sales process and onto support and follow-up contact with the hope of encouraging repeat sales. These are the kinds of tasks that often caused a time and financial headaches for companies (as mentioned above, particularly for smaller firms).
By learning the ins and outs of a CRM program, you’ll stand out from the crowd and make yourself an invaluable member of any workplace.
Perhaps more than any other tech, social media has completely upended the way companies can find and reach out to clients (both potential and existing). By harnessing the tremendous power of the larger social platforms, companies have the opportunity to directly contact their clients and build relationships in a way that simply wasn’t possible before.
However, while social media undoubtedly offers massive potential, if it’s not used correctly, it can also irreparably damage the reputation and standing of a company – so learning a little more about how best to promote a company is a key skill to have these days.
By taking the time to learn the differences between the major social channels, you’ll add an incredibly valuable skill to your main talents. Promotion on social media is a problem for many firms – again, mostly smaller firms that may not have the time or budget to be able to post updates or make videos to the likes of YouTube or Facebook, for example. Showing an employer that you have these skills on point could increase your employability – and possibly your wages.