Building Your Skills With Online Courses

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Any skill can be learned with a little diligence.

Someone once told me that one of the best ways to beef up a resume is to take really ordinary-sounding skills and make them sound really fancy. That’s one approach, certainly, but you know what might be a little more efficient? Picking up some marketable skills. Of course, in the olden days, if you wanted to pick up skills, you either had to know someone in a relevant business or take on an apprenticeship or internship. Thankfully, those days are behind us; now you can learn all sorts of things from your desk.

Online skill classes have exploded in popularity over the last decade. People want to better themselves and become more knowledgeable (not to mention marketable), and it was from that desire that this young industry emerged. In college, I was required to assemble my own website for a demonstration, but I had no idea how CSS or HTML worked. A few quick courses later, though, and I actually had a working web page of my own.

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It’s important to note, however, that not all online courses are made equal. The downside to such an open-ended industry is that any shlub who thinks he knows what he’s talking about can claim to be an expert. If you’re searching for classes, pay attention to a few key points:

  • Course structure: Open-ended learning sounds nice on paper, but in practice, it’s messy and chaotic. A good course should have a proper syllabus and progression.
  • Relevance: If you’re trying to expand your knowledge on a skill you already have an inkling of, don’t pick a basic course. Find something that fills in the gaps of your missing knowledge.
  • Price: Cost should always be a factor in long-term commitments, both financial and time. Learning a marketable skill isn’t especially helpful if doing so will put you in the red.
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