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3 Ways Online Courses Can Help Jumpstart Your Career

It’s easier than ever to jump start or fast-track your career—on your own time—without having to go back to school and without paying big bucks. With online learning resources readily available, tech skill development is accessible the same way your favorite music is available on Spotify and your favorite shows are on Netflix.

Don’t believe me? Check out these three ways an online course can get your budding tech career off the ground.

1. Learn from the best

Many online learning platforms like edX among others offer tech courses from top colleges and universities – entirely for free. MOOCs (massive open online courses) allow you to join a class of peers from all over the world and learn directly from the most qualified and distinguished professors.

You can access the content for free, and the quality of the course will be the same as if you were sitting right in the classroom.

Even without an opportunity for face-to-face interaction, you can connect with professors and peers from all over the world through discussion boards to personalize your learning experience. Engaging with professors and curriculum from schools like Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, and Berkeley through MOOCs is a fail-safe way to develop the tech skills needed in today’s workforce.

2. Take a series of courses – or find that RIGHT one

You should keep in mind that the right online course for you might actually prove to be several courses. Taking a few courses in one dedicated area of study will show that you’ve really mastered a certain skill, and help you stand out even more to hiring companies. For this reason, the big players in the MOOC world have designed series of courses to make learners extra-qualified for potential employers.

A couple top universities that offer technology-specific course series are Columbia and UC Berkeley. UC Berkeley’s course series teaches you the fundamental skills needed in the software development industry, including Ruby on Rails, JavaScript and Agile. Completing a whole series will show employers that you’re immediately ready to add value to the team.

3. Spread the word

Spreading the word to your professional network and to potential employers will elevate your credibility and visibility in the workforce. From attending career fairs to updating your LinkedIn, every topic of conversation and credible skill counts. And when it comes to landing an interview, you’ll want as many proof points as possible that show off your qualifications—and you’d be surprised at what a few extra bullets on your resume can do.

Once you’ve successfully passed the course and paid for your verified certificate, there’s nothing holding you back from putting it on your resume and including it on your LinkedIn profile. Adding the certification to your LinkedIn is easy: Go to “Edit Profile”, above your profile summary where it suggests “Add Section,” and select “Certifications.” From there, just enter the name of the course, the name of the MOOC platform (under “Certification Authority”), and the URL that’s listed at the bottom of your certificate.

About the author: Scott Santoro, VP Global Talent Acquisition at edX

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