According to India Skills Report 2020, more than half of graduated engineers in 2020 are not employable. As we’ve known for a long time now, having a college degree doesn’t automatically mean you are job-ready, especially in future technologies like data science, machine learning or UI/UX design. You need more than that. The good news is: It is easy, accessible and affordable to get an education online. But, can online courses get you a job? Of course! Let’s see how.

Can Online Courses Get You a Job?

Today, certificates from online course platforms have not only become more acceptable among hiring managers but have also become the only way to gain niche skills. Here are some of the key reasons why the demand and adoption of online courses are increasing:

1. Lack of specialised courses in traditional universities: For instance, even some of the best design schools in the country don’t have a specialised UI/UX design program! This is also the case for courses in latest technologies like data science, AI/ML analytics, etc. In this case, online education is the only choice because online programs can help you acquire all the required skillsets and give you the technical knowledge you need to qualify for your dream job.

2. Experience matters as much as a qualification in tech-related fields: See the following job description for a data scientist position at Citibank.

Can online courses get you a job
Source: jobs.citi.com

It asks for ‘working experience in a quantitative field’. While it prefers someone with a degree, it is open to hiring someone even without a degree if they have skills and equivalent experience. Both of which can be acquired through an online course.

3. Online programs are good for upskilling: If you’re a data analyst looking to progress into the field of data science, it would be next to impossible to quit your job and go to college. Education from online platforms is great for such upskilling before applying for a promotion, making a job-switch, negotiating better salaries, etc.

4. Online courses facilitate transition: For experienced professionals, transitioning to a new field can be difficult. If you’re a banker, interested in becoming a data scientist, you will lose the value of your banking experience. However, with an online certificate program in data science, you can leverage your banking experience, while also using your newly acquired data science skills.

Aritra Chattaraj, a Springboard learner achieved this. He had a background in liberal arts and wanted to career transition into data science. Springboard Data Science career track program enabled him to make that transition smoothly. Find out how in the above video.

5. COVID-19 has made online courses more acceptable: The pandemic has made everything digitally-mediated that online education doesn’t feel as distant anymore. Online courses are gaining legitimacy — in the near future, they’re likely to be seen on par with full-time in-person programs.

How to Choose an Online Program?

Not all online courses are the same. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are the most common form of online education today are often not job-oriented. While they have brought about significant change in the accessibility of education, they do not solve the employability problem. To be employable, you need a course that is geared towards that.

Here is the three-step process we recommend to find an online program that will help you build a lucrative and rewarding career.

Step 1. Identify your goals

If you’re looking for a job, you need a course that’s aimed at that. But before that, understand your present situation clearly. 

  • What are your skills?
  • What are your interests?
  • What experience do you have? 
  • Are you willing to move to another location for a job?

Based on answers to these questions, set your goals. These could be about the kind of role you want, the type of organisation you want to work in, the industry you want to be in, the salary you would like to make, etc. Imagine what you would be like when you achieve your goals, and then move to the next step.

Step 2. Identify your needs

To achieve those goals, you need certain tools, skills and attitudes. Do your research and identify them. 

  • Look at job descriptions of the roles you want and understand the qualifications required for those roles.
  • Speak to your peers and seniors to know what skills are in demand.
  • Skills are not just about technical skills. Soft skills, communication, etc. are equally important; explore those as well.
  • See what kind of skills you already have and can capitalise on.
  • Understand what’s your preferred mode of learning – recorded, live & online or mentor-led

Make a list of all the skills/support you need for a career in your chosen field. 

Step 3: Find a program that serves your needs

Shortlist programs that offer what you need — remember that this is not just skills. A good online program must give you all the support required to kickstart and flourish in a career. This includes the following:

  • Job-ready curriculum: The educational program must be aimed at finding you a job. This means that the curriculum and structure need to be in line with market demand.
  • Hands-on experience: One of the biggest shortcomings of a traditional college education is that it is mostly theoretical. An online program must offer as much practical experience as it does theoretical foundation.
  • Mentoring programs: In many MOOCs, the only interaction with the teaching team would be through community forums and recordings. Sometimes, this can be intimidating and insufficient. An online program must offer personal attention to help you take your skills and abilities to your first job. Also, please make sure that the mentoring is 1:1 and not 1:many which is far too common in e-learning.
  • Career coaching: Finding a job is a lot more than having skills. How to make a CV, how to speak in interviews, how to negotiate salary, etc. are questions that no course teaches. Look for a program that takes a holistic approach to your career than just imparting skills.

Can online courses get you a job? We hope that this blog post gives you an answer to this. After a clear understanding of the online learning ecosystem, we, at Springboard have developed career track programs in data science, data analytics, AI/machine learning and UI/UX design aimed at upskilling you for the challenging and competitive job market. All our programs include capstone projects, 1:1 mentoring from industry leaders, and career coaching along with a job guarantee. Some of our graduates work for organisations like Google, Salesforce, IBM, Visa, etc. Check out details of all Springboard programs and apply today.