As we grow up, we are rightfully encouraged to go through school and to look towards higher education. We’re told of the value that college degrees have, which is certainly true. As adults across the USA and wider world push through self-isolation and the COVID pandemic in general, many are turning to online and paid education courses to help give them an edge when the country emerges from the other side of this ordeal.
What type of training should you go for? It’s entirely up to you. Many adults, for instance, are reskilling to enter booming industries. A great example of this is the IT industry, which in 2015 was already accounting for $1.8 trillion of the US’s value-added GDP – that’s over ten percent of its entire economy, and it’s only grown since. It’s a varied industry, too. Want to get into cybersecurity? You can take courses to become a certified penetration tester (CPT) or security analyst (CSA).
It’s important to be realistic about your current situation, the career you want and what it will take to get you there. Most college degrees take years of full-time study and typically charge in excess of $20,000 a year. As above, however, you may find a shorter, professional training course combined with the valuable work-experience you already have is enough to get you noticed by employers.
With these in mind, let’s go over some questions to ask yourself before starting your way down the path to a new career.
Will it advance your career directly?
If you’re employed and want to advance or would like to secure a new job in a different field, considering a return to study or paying for a professional training course is entirely standard. It makes your resume look better and it can be an effective means of updating your skillset to the current industry standard. This is particularly relevant in tech fields where staying on the bleeding edge is all but essential to remain relevant and attractive to employers.
Be careful, however, that the training you’re considering really is necessary to get into your desired career. Do your homework, speak to some recruiters specializing in that particular area – find out what they look for when sorting through applications, you might be surprised at some of their answers!
Who is paying? Do you have enough?
If you are in a current role and are aiming for a promotion, you’re in luck: employers often pay for training. Have a chat with your manager and prepare a case for how the training will make you more useful to the company. Consider things from their perspectives, such as improvements to productivity and how you might pass some of your new skills to other members of staff. It’s important to remember that you are talking to a business, show them that they will get a positive return on their investment in you.
If you are considering training outside of your employment, be absolutely sure that you understand the finances. Take stock of your savings and be realistic about what you can afford. You may need to look at finance options from lenders such EverydayLoans to cover your costs. Look at the tax implications, you may find that your chosen training lowers your liability through the Lifetime Learning Credit.
What are you sacrificing to study?
It’s very important that you be aware of the workload and sacrifice involved re-skilling. Particularly if you are embarking on this later in life, your other obligations need to be carefully weighed up against the demands training will put on your time.
This isn’t to paint re-training in a bad light; far from it. What we are saying is that you should be clear on the investment in time as well as money. If you’re unsure, contact the course provider and talk to them about flexible studying options, as well as the exact predicted time involved in their course.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make a much more informed decision. If you do have to sacrifice other areas of your life temporarily, you can decide if it’s worthwhile quickly and confidently.