The internet is full of training programs. Like really full of them. Individuals on social media have their own courses, while colleges and universities continue to have a steady stream of students. How do you know which training program is right for you?
There are a lot of factors to consider when evaluating different programs. This makes the answer a bit more complicated. Traditionally, in order to upskill and boost your career, you were expected to attend college. But things have changed. There are now a variety of alternatives to consider whether you’re graduating high school, considering a career change or interested in taking your career to the next level.
Here are the top 5 things you should consider when choosing a training program.
If upskilling is a goal of yours this year, there is a program out there for you regardless of your budget. For those of us with a big budget and a lot of time on our hands, traditional routes like colleges and universities are great options. They can offer an academic, research based education in your topic of interest. In some fields a specific degree may be highly sought after by hiring managers.
For those of us looking to invest little to no money at all, there are training programs out there. Many platforms like Udemy offer both free and paid courses. Free courses provide a lighter, more holistic view of the desired topic, while the paid courses offer more in depth training. Depending on your budget and what you’re looking to get out of training, there are more options out there than what meets the eye.
In a 2021 Udemy survey of 500 professionals, 61% of respondents stated that lack of time was their biggest obstacle to learning and development. And whether you’re a working professional, a recent high school graduate, an individual facing a layoff or anywhere in between, your time is money. Some training programs are more of a time commitment and may pose challenges for full-time employees. Others only last a few brief hours.
Traditional ways to upskill like college require a heavy amount of time. This can be difficult for a full-time employee (difficult but not impossible). Alternative programs, like Google Analytics, are shorter in duration. You can complete the beginner course within 4-6 hours. In total you can take the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam within 9-13 hours. Shorter programs are perfect for people looking to get a better insight into a particular topic.
Oftentimes, longer courses dig deeper into a topic and offer more hands-on training. It is important to be realistic about how much time you can devote to your learning and development. Use your allotted time to filter through existing training programs and find the one that works best for you.
It is also important to consider whether or not hands-on experience is built into your program. Enrolling in a training program is great, as it demonstrates your willingness to learn and stay up to date on new trends. However, that can only help you so much when searching for a new job or getting that promotion.
You need to dig deep and discover why you are looking to upskill. Is it out of personal interest or are you attempting to leverage this new skill in the job market? If you chose personal interest, you may not care whether or not the program has hands-on training, especially if you’re simply looking to stay up to date on trends.
If you’re looking to leverage this new skill in the job market, you may want to seek ways to get hands-on experience. USA Today notes that, “About 45% of companies are adopting a “skills first” approach.” Whichever training program you choose to enroll in, make sure to hone in on the skills you learn. Hiring managers usually value candidates with hands-on experience over those without. Whether you receive hands-on experience within the training program or have access to resources at your current job, putting your training in action is key to securing your next position.
Some training programs reward you with a certification upon completion. It is entirely up to you whether or not this is a deal breaker. Similar to hands-on experience, you may be enrolling simply to stay up to date with new technologies or learn more about a topic you’re interested in. If this is the case, you may not care whether or not you get a certification.
On the other hand, individuals looking to demonstrate their knowledge and experience relating to a specific topic may want a certification upon completion. These certifications are easily uploaded to LinkedIn profiles and added to resumes. They are a quick way to showcase your knowledge, especially when it comes to job hunting.
Whether or not you receive a certification, learning a new skill can have an impact on your salary. According to Global Knowledge, “IT Professionals who gained new skills and/or certifications last year received an average raise of $12,000-$13,000.” Learning new skills and continuing to stay up to date on current trends does pay off in the job market.
With so many programs out there, it can be difficult to determine which is credible. Does it even matter? The answer is yes and no.
It matters when it comes to demonstrating your skills to someone unfamiliar with the field you work in. For example, you download an influencer’s individual training program. Let’s say they are big on TikTok and their content is centered around growing a social media following. A company recruiter may not be familiar with this influencer’s content and specialty. However, they will likely recognize a Google Analytics certification. If you’re trying to impress a hiring manager or demonstrate your expertise in a particular field, then a more credible training program may be your best option.
Again, if you have a curious mind and want to learn something for the sake of learning something, the source may not matter. A TikTok influencer may be the best person to teach you how to market on TikTok, but you cannot expect a hiring manager to recognize this program as credible. That being said, you should do your research to make sure the program is legit. It would be a shame to invest time and money into a program that doesn’t know what it is talking about.
At the end of the day, go with a program that matches your motive. Find a course that aligns with your budget, timeframe and goals. Every training program has its own pros and cons. There is no right or wrong answer. Enroll in a program that meets you where you are and jump right in.
Need more information on the types of training programs out there? Check our previous post on upskilling or schedule a free consultation with us today. We would love the opportunity to assist you in your upskilling or job seeking journey.