Why You Should Take Online Skills Courses When You're Already Pursuing a Degree

Why You Should Add Online Skills Courses When You're Already Pursuing a Degree

The access and affordability of online skills courses can lead some students to question whether it’s necessary to pursue a college degree. But the two are not mutually exclusive. While there are some things a degree cannot teach you, skills-based training platforms such as [email protected] and Fullstack Academy can be the perfect complement to your college degree program, allowing you to present yourself as the “complete package” to future employers. 

These courses are highly specific but cover a wide-ranging number of skills – both tangible and intangible -- that are needed in every industry. Having these ready-to-use skills in your back pocket allows you to showcase them in a resume or during a face-to-face interview, increasing your chances of landing the job you want.

Here are three reasons you should consider skills courses when you’re already pursuing a degree.

1. Balance your soft skills and hard skills

Becoming the “complete package” requires a combination of soft and hard skills. The latter is often defined as something measurable – your ability to physically do or not do something, such as type a certain number of words per minute or master a programming language. The former comprises many intangibles, such as your ability to problem solve or communicate effectively with your colleagues and customers.

As a college student, your courses will teach you a combination of both, but you should consider an online skills course to give you a competitive advantage when entering the job market. These courses can also help fill in the gaps when employers are looking for hands-on experience in addition to your degree. 

For example, students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Software Technology at Ashford University will be exposed to fundamental, knowledge-building courses such as Operating Systems Theory and Design and Computer Networking. However, to bring balance to your skillset, you might consider taking the [email protected] Data Science, Deep Learning & Machine Learning with Python course, a 12-hour programming workshop that can be used to inform what you’re learning in your degree program, and vice versa. 

Having the right mix of soft and hard skills is an excellent way to show a future employer that you not only have the knowledge required for the job, but that you are also able to perform at a high level immediately.

2. Add a marketable talent to your foundation of knowledge

You can study a book for hours before taking a driver’s test, but you cannot pass unless you can apply that knowledge and perform to expectations when you’re behind the wheel. The same logic applies to today’s professional workforce.

Skills-based courses can help put you over the finish line in job interviews or projects that require a specific task. For instance, if you are a Master of Business Administration student, you can acquire a database of business knowledge while pursuing your online degree, but what happens when you are asked to present your employer’s quarterly financial reports to the board of directors or the media? 

If you have no formal training in public speaking, a skills course such as [email protected] Effective Presentations workshop – which teaches communication and PowerPoint essentials -- would help you make the best impression. 

Perhaps you are interested in adding software development to your skillset but don’t wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree. You might consider Fullstack Academy’s Software Engineering Immersive, where you can add learn today’s cutting edge development technologies to your resume after completing the 13-week course. The Flex Part-Time Immersive course even allows you to learn fullstack software development over 24 weeks without having to quite your job.

Additionally, because they are hyper-focused on a single subject, skills courses don’t require the same time commitment as a degree program. In many cases, you can finish your course in a matter of hours or a few days and return to work ready to tackle a challenge you weren’t prepared for just a few days beforehand. 

3. Stay in demand with in-demand skills

One of the biggest reasons to add skills-based learning to your resume is similar to one of the biggest reasons for earning a college degree: relevancy. 

Time stops for no one, and many seasoned professionals are watching as their younger counterparts who have grown up in an era dominated by data science, apps, and computer programming enter the workforce with more technical proficiencies. 

While your college degree is helping you catch up on a world of knowledge and laying the foundation for your future, you can stay relevant right now by learning in-demand skills with an online course.

According to LinkedIn, Cloud Computing is the hard skill companies need most in 2019, with Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning) at No. 2; and Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, and People Management also in the top 25. Possessing a skill your employer needs today will make you even more desirable. 

The proliferation of online education has given learners of every age access to user-friendly, on-demand skills training for nearly every industry. More than anything, they can help you fill a gap in your skillset, one that will ensure any employer is seeing the “complete package” when you send them your resume or seek a promotion.   

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By Ashford University staff

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