Online courses have increasingly been recognised for their benefits, including their ability to offer flexible study, fast-track your career with no industry experience, and even bolster your credibility as a university graduate.
While degrees are highly beneficial in providing a thorough academic exploration of broad industry areas, online courses focus more on the practical – equipping its students with the job-ready skills required to pursue their fields of interest. They also commonly offer opportunities to get qualified in specialised, niche areas; and coupled with a general, comprehensive study of your field, you’re bound to stand out in the job market.
Below, we explore the six major ways an online course can complement your degree, and the options offered by AIICT to help boost your IT career.
You’ll get to hone your practical skills
While traditional degrees excel in providing in-depth academic knowledge of your field, an online course is typically concentrated on the more hands-on, practical skills you need to enter the workforce.
This is especially true of boot camp programs, an online training option that bypasses the 4-6 years of study with a traditional degree – instead providing students with an intensive crash-course on all the practical and technical skills required of their chosen specialty. Though less extensive than a university degree, boot camps zero in on the specific competencies necessary to kickstart your career. When paired with a university degree, these additional technical skills can grant you that extra boost of employability amidst a competitive job market.
IT graduates seeking to diversify their skillset, for example, may opt for a boot camp program in project management – helping boost their business, collaborative, and organisational skills for the workplace. This essentially makes them a more a valuable, versatile IT worker among potential employers; and the relatively brief training period ultimately makes it a worthwhile career investment for the long term.
Explore niche specialties
Another benefit to exploring online courses alongside a degree is the wide variety of specialties provided. As online courses tend to focus on the more practical, job-ready skills necessary for employment, students are given a diverse selection of technical programs that focus on specific skillsets. The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT), for example, offer plenty of certificate and diploma courses in IT, each focusing on a certain industry area – these including web development, networking, or cyber security.
Since these qualifications are often acquired in a shorter period of time (compared to traditional degrees), students are also able to explore more skills and industry areas in a shorter timespan; helping them build a better idea of their career goals and available pathways.
Plenty of online courses (particularly boot camp programs) are additionally formed in response to industry demands, helping you ride with the tides of your field and upskill according to in-demand or emerging new professions.
It demonstrates career initiative
Achieving online qualifications isn’t a mandatory step in your career – though they do significantly add to your professionalism. Having completed online courses alongside your degree demonstrates your passion, self-drive, and motivation to employers; proving you have the initiative to continuously improve and build on your skills. As such programs are typically updated with the latest industry trends, having an online qualification (or two, or a few) under your belt also shows how you’re skilled in the current specialties and demands of your industry.
Additionally, online courses add mobility and progression to your career path. You may have a degree in one field, though may find your interests have shifted down the road. Undertaking an online qualification can help you pursue these newfound passions, build the skills required, and adjust your career path as necessary.
Alternatively, you may also find your degree training lacking when pursuing roles further up the ladder. Online courses are especially valuable in these circumstances, as they add to your skills and training – and grant you the pay rise and job promotion you deserve.
Build your discipline and organisational skills
A major appeal of online courses is the flexibility they offer in your study, helping you build your skills at a time, place, and pace of your preference. With everything completed online, you’re given full autonomy and control over your studies; saving you the time and effort of attending physical lectures, labs, and on-campus tutorials.
However, this flexibility can also test your discipline and drive as a student. While you’re granted the freedom to study when and how you choose, you’ll also no longer have professors or lecturers setting your timetables and reminding you of regular assignments. Instead, all responsibility and accountability fall on you to attend the necessary webinars, participate in the required labs, and consume the essential study material to complete your course and pass your assessments.
Thus, completing an online course not only beefs up your skillset with extra technical expertise, but also helps bolster your soft skills in organisation and self-management.
Expand your professional network
While online study is an often independent task, you needn’t feel alone in your experience. In fact, most online courses offer a wide variety of communication tools to help you keep in touch with your trainers and network with fellow students.
AIICT’s courses, for example, include access to Skype and online forums through their student learning portal. Here, students can connect with their trainers when necessary; participate in real-time, interactive workshops; and collaborate with peers on assignments. Coupled with a traditional degree experience, online qualifications are thus valuable in helping further expand your network of connections. You never know – you may just meet a key figure or fellow industry professional who may just lead you down the next step of your career.
It enhances your expertise
Finally, undertaking an online course on top of your degree can simply, yet significantly, enhance your overall industry expertise. This, in turn, boosts your employability and value as a professional of your field.
Online education has increasingly grown in both popularity and value over the years; in fact, in a recent survey by FutureLearn of over 1,000 hiring managers, 58% of employers agreed that those with online qualifications are likely to have greater earning potential. In the same study, employees with online education cited more promotions, job offers, and pay rises as benefits to their newfound credentials.
While university graduates can benefit from improved soft skills, connections, and a focused career direction with online learning – its greatest advantage is, first and foremost, a sharper skillset and expertise.
Boost your IT career through an online qualification!
Paired with traditional degree experience, online courses can grant you that competitive edge you need to stand out among employers.
As mentioned, AIICT offers a diverse selection of online programs in ICT; from boot camp programs in rising fields such as data science, cyber security, and cloud computing – to diplomas in web development and networking. Students can hone their skills through flexible, innovative online tools, helping them study around their personal needs and schedule.
Those who complete their course will equip themselves with nationally-recognised qualifications, with some certifications offered under leading global IT figures (i.e. CompTIA, Microsoft Azure, AWS).
Start advancing the career ladder today, and enquire with us on a course.