Whether you’re just graduating college or you’re in the middle of your career, it is never too early or too late to upskill and continue your professional development. There are thousands of programs and certifications out there, making it difficult to determine which one’s right for you.
We’ve compiled the top ways to learn and improve your skills. Some take a more traditional route, while others are new and innovative. There are many options available so it is important to find one that works for you.
Vocational schools are a great option for students who know what they want to do. They offer career specific training that can give you a running start in the workforce.
I know that many of us think of cosmetology and medical assistants when we hear the word “vocational school.” Many offer a wide variety of courses, varying from school to school. Some programs may include courses that build leadership skills and other necessary soft skills to boost you in your career.
We recognize that not every high school student knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives. It’s a big decision and it isn’t for everyone. For those driven students who have a set career path, vocational schools allow you to get ahead and get to work faster.
Colleges and Universities
The college route is probably the first thing to come to mind when considering ways to upskill or pursue professional development opportunities. Whether you’re fresh out of high school and looking to further your education with a Bachelor’s degree or you’re mid-career looking to pursue your Master’s degree, universities have great programs to further your career.
Upon completing all of your coursework, you’ll earn a diploma. This is probably the most recognized “training program” you can go through, whether or not we’d like to admit it. There are some drawbacks to the traditional college route. Many programs focus on teaching terms and definitions, as opposed to hands-on implementation. This can be a major drawback in your college experience.
A few other things to note, college is not for everyone. Some people simply do not have thousands of dollars available to spend on a 2-4 year degree. In addition, some people don’t learn best through books and lectures. Unfortunately, most college programs are geared towards testing, and let’s face it, not all of us are test takers. This isn’t always the best way to assess our knowledge and retention.
For individuals that want to upskill but choose to deviate from the traditional college experience, there are other options out there for you. These options are also great tools to stay up to date with your industry throughout your career.
Individual Training Programs
We’ve all seen influencers marketing their individual training programs on social media. It’s hard to say whether these programs are effective or not. It is important to look at the owner of the program. Are they successful? Are they well-known? Does the industry see them as a master of their trade?
These are all things to consider before pulling out your credit card. If the individual in question is the Gorden Ramsey of paid ads… then it may be worth a shot. Make sure to factor in the person’s credibility before making a decision.
These training programs may or may not come with a certificate. If there is a certificate involved, will hiring managers view this individual as credible? Odds are, these training programs will not be recognized in the professional world. If you feel compelled to take a course, you can still learn some great things. However, do not expect that training program to land you a job without solid hands-on experience.
Online Course Platforms
There is a wide range of online course platforms… some better than others. Platforms like MasterClass, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning and Coursera all offer a variety of ways to upskill. With so many options available, how do you sift through all of it?
Whatever platform you choose to follow, make sure you receive hands-on training. It is one thing to memorize digital marketing terms but it is another thing to put them into action. Your goal is to complete the course with more knowledge than you started with. This knowledge should then be applied in your current role.
Some of these courses do not provide certifications. This should be a personal preference of yours. If you’re seeking a job that requires you to know Python, you’ll likely want to have a certification to prove your knowledge. If in your current position, you’d like to take on Python, then any platform will work regardless of a certification.
At the end of the day, your budget is a big consideration and will play a big role in your decision. Courses range from free to expensive. Go with whichever platform gives you the best bang for your buck.
There isn’t one method of upskilling that works better for everyone. Different stages of life, different learning styles and different budgets all determine which upskilling method is best for you. The main takeaway is to find a method that gives you real-world experience. You want to walk away from the training with enough knowledge to be dangerous.
If you have questions about which training is best for you, schedule a free consultation with us. We would love to help you level up in your career.