Whether you’re trying to change jobs or add a new feather to your cap : online classes look interesting for sure, right ?! But you’re wondering : is it enough to be competent ? Some are even for free, will it be enough to get the skills to work in the selected field ? Or is it better to look for the ‘real’ thing, via universities and/or private schools ?
As someone who did both (university and online classes), I’d say… yes and no. Let me explain in more details.
First, it all depends on the kind of job you’re aiming for. In some cases, you can’t do it online. For example : doctor, lawyer, hairdresser… Some professions are highly regulated and some are very hands-on so it would be pointless to have it online. Some others could be done online, but for some reason are not available (or maybe not available in a particular language or country for example), so first, make sure to check out if what you’re aiming for is available.
Now you’ve done your research, and you’ve found online classes that are available for the job or skill you’re aiming for ? Yay ! Time to select the best !
Because yes, let’s be honest, not every online class is great, so you have to be careful about which one you choose. Take a look at different websites, browse a lot, read the details of each syllabus, make sure that this is going to be interesting, and this is going to teach you what you need to learn.
While you do your little selection, you will also have to think about something : do I want a free course or am I willing to pay for it ? And if I’m willing to pay, how much am I willing to pay ? And another important question : how much time can I spend on this course ? How many hours a week ? For how long ? Online classes are very practical in the sense that they tell you how many hours a week you have to spend for one course, so please make sure you pay attention to this piece of information too.
Of course online classes provided by famous universities tend to be popular, but please make sure that their content is going to match with what you’re looking for. A famous name is not enough to develop a new skill or to be competent in a whole new job. Also check the ratings, the reviews left by former students. It can give you additional details on the kind of content the course is going to have.
Once you pay attention to all of this parameters, you should find either the perfect course, or a few ones that look interesting. Most courses have a little introduction video, so make sure you take a look at these, it can help you decide.
To come back to the question : will an online course be enough ?
Of course it can. If you find the right one, if you invest time and energy in it, of course it is totally enough. It all depends on what you make out of it. If you work on it like a good student, you’re going to master that skill, you’re going to crush your online exams and I’m sure you will become a great professional in your new field. But if you just take it lightly, watching the videos but not taking notes, taking a look at the exercises but not doing them… well of course, then the online course will not be enough. Studying online is harder then when you have to physically be there in class in front of a professor. You will have to be more organized, more motivated than when you used to be in high school for example, so if you really want to do this, just be prepared. You can do it, you just need to stay consistent and grow with the course. But no one is going to do it for you, so… It’s up to you !
To give you my example, I’m currently working as a freelance translator and career coach. For the translation part, it’s all thanks to my bachelor’s degree in foreign languages + master’s degree in international management that was all in English (I’m French). But for the career coach part, it’s a combination of my experience as a recruiter + my training online, as I’m following Kain Ramsey’s Life Coach training on Udemy. When I started my own company, I also took a few short classes online to help me with creating my business and managing it, which was quite useful.
To be honest with you, I think going to university was of course great for my language skills, but also for me to grow as a human being. I got the chance to study abroad for a year, internships allowed me to get a taste of ‘real life’ in different companies… It helped me grow, it helped me see what I liked and what I hated in my professional life, and that’s something you can’t get online.
But I find that later, when you’re a bit older, it’s just so great to know that whatever you want to learn, it can be made available to you online ! There are tons of things I’d like to learn, and I know I can do it little by little, depending on priorities and time. It’s like a super power for someone as curious as me/for a multipotentialite haha. And I find it amazing that now you can get full courses on a subject online for a cheap price (not saying that teachers shouldn’t be well paid and stuff, but some provide their classes online for a cheap price to reach more students, not for money, and that is so great to have access to such knowledge !!).
In the end, I think a combination of both can be amazing. But in case you know you don’t have time or money to try university for example : don’t worry, online courses are just as great. Just go for it !
What about you ? Did you ever try an online course ? Did you like it ?
I wish you a lovely day and see you next Wednesday !