Going to a college and earning a degree might not be possible to everyone. One effective alternative is to enroll for an online course and then complete it. Also, you can learn new skill sets by taking a specialization course. All these would help you to find a career in the field that you prefer.
Also, if you are a college graduate, you may end up working in a completely different field. And MOOC would be an ideal option if you wish to switch careers. Also learning new skills would enable you to advance in the career that you are in. Also there are courses that are related to entrepreneurship and hence you can take such courses if you wish to start a new business.
Challenges to getting a job after a MOOC:
- The first and foremost problem is that a number of the students do not complete the course after enrolling for it. If the person is already in a career and has taken the course in order to advance in the career, then the chance for completion is very low.
- All MOOC certificates are not as valid as a college graduation certificate. Hence, many companies still only go for conventional graduates. Many employers are not well aware of MOOC certificates and they consider it just like free lectures available on youtube.com.
- Choosing the wrong course. If you do not choose the right course then you may not be able to reach the field that you desire.
If you already in a career and complete the MOOC with certificate by fulfilling all the requirements, it will definitely improve your skills and give you an edge over the other candidates.
Below we have given a case study of a computer science graduate who further advance his career as data scientist. Following his path to take MOOC courses and advance career in any field can be helpful.
Job placement in different platforms:
In the case of Coursera, the certificates provided would be accredited by the partner university that offers it. Also, there are degree programs that can be taken by the students. Master of computer science, masters in innovation and entrepreneurship, global master of public health, master of business administration etc. are some of the many degree programs that Coursera offers. Also, the truth is that many jobs that are related to science, technology and maths are filled by people who do not have a college degree. So, the chances of getting a job after completing a MOOC is quite large.
edX courses are similar to Courses from Coursera but the difference is that there would not be any accreditation. As a result, it would be more difficult to acquire a job after completing an EdX course when compared to a Coursera job. But still most technical jobs demand skill and if you are able to achieve the skill from completing the courses then you would certainly find a job.
Udacity is the most effective platform in getting the students into careers. In fact, Udacity prefers not to educate the students in the particular field but to help them start a career. Udacity has a number of companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, etc. as partners and hence most of their students would be settled after completing the course. In fact, Udacity guarantees that the students who complete the Nanodegree plus program would get a job for certain.
Case Study of a Computer Science Graduate:
Javed Ahmad is a computer science graduate from India. He was working in a software company for 8 years as Sr. database guy in Dubai, UAE. He wanted to enhance his career and grow as a data scientist. He successfully did that by enhancing his skills using online MOOCs and now, he’s working in another very reputable software company in Dubai as “Data Scientist”. We interviewed him and find out his path to career growth as follows:
He started with one basic data science course to understand the technology fundamentals and requirements as Data Scientist. Course taken was “What is Data Science?“, created by IBM and taught by “Alex Aklson, a Data Scientist”. Course is 3 weeks long and requires a 2-3 hours a week engagement. Following areas are covered in this short 3 weeks course:
- Week 1: Defining Data Science and What Data Scientist Do?
- Week 2: What skills are required for anyone interested in this field by Norman White, The faculty director of Stern Centre for Research Computing, at New York University.
- Week 3: Data Science in Business, what companies need to do in order to start with Data Science.
This course not only gave him good understanding about the data science but also about setting his complete career path as data scientist. So, he prepare a complete syllabus for himself to advance in the field of Data Science. He shared the following path:
- Course 1: What is Data Science? by IBM via Coursera (mentioned above about data science fundamentals)
- Course 2: Learn to Program: Crafting Quality Code by University of Toronto via Coursera
- Course 3: Foundations of Data Analysis – Part 1: Statistics Using R by The University of Texas at Austin via edX
- Course 4: Foundations of Data Analysis – Part 2: Inferential Statistics by The University of Texas at Austin via edX
- Course 5: Data Visualization Specialization by Arizona State University via Coursera
- Course 6: Launching into Machine Learning by Google Cloud via Coursera
- Course 7: How Google does Machine Learning by Google Cloud via Coursera
- Course 8: Deep Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Artificial Neural Networks by Kirill Eremenko, Hadelin de Ponteves, SuperDataScience Team via udemy
The same approach can easily be replicated in any area of interest to get required skills and land a dream job.