“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ― Isaac Asimov
Learning something new daily doesn’t have to be for students only, it should be for everyone, especially those in the professional workplace. Technology is moving at such an immense pace that it is nearly impossible to keep up with. Every time you turn around, there is a new analytics platform, social network, mobile app, etc. You can’t know everything, but you can try to hone in on certain topics, or your area of expertise, and utilize the resources you have at your fingertips to stay in the mix. I often wonder why we complain about not knowing certain things when nearly all of the world’s information is in the palm of our hands on a daily basis.
School Doesn’t Cut It
During my last year of college, I had been researching jobs in Milwaukee and Chicago in the social and digital media space. Many job descriptions had mentioned necessary skills that included experience and knowledge of numerous social networks and analytics programs. To get that experience I would need to work at those types of jobs, but to work at those types of jobs I had to have those types of skills. It made things difficult. Students are at a disadvantage because they don’t get a lot of hands-on experience with a lot of the necessary applications found at social and digital media jobs. Because of that, I had taken to the internet and started to teach myself as much as I could. Whether you want to learn to code websites, build mobile apps, create 3D graphics with Photoshop or decipher analytics reports from Hootsuite, there are educational resources out there for just about everything you can think of for FREE or at a minimal cost. So why not take advantage?
Advice for Budding Students
As a somewhat recent grad, my advice for students is this: figure out what you want to learn, find the resources online and teach yourself everything you can about your topic of choice. I understand teaching yourself can be difficult, especially when it comes to motivation. Ask a few friends, or students in the same field, to work together and push each other to learn certain topics. It can be better that way because then you bring in new perspectives. School can’t teach you everything, at some point you have to take it upon yourself and begin learning on your own. Who knows, learning with a group of people, with the same goal in mind, may even lead to a start-up company of your own.
Advice for Professionals
For those in the professional world, continuous learning is essential in order to grow and further your career. Fail to do so and you will be left in the dust. You should always strive for knowledge, no matter the year you were born. Sites like Grovo, Skillshare, Codecademy and Udemy offer simple tutorials that allow you to learn at your own pace. All you have to do is take the time and make the effort. If two people apply for a position and have virtually the same skill set, except one took the time to learn HTML5 or built their own mobile app, I’d say that one likely has the better chance of landing that job because they have a more valuable set of skills.
Companies Like Valuable Employees
Companies like valuable employees. So learning new skills or gaining new experiences, especially on your own time, on a variety of platforms can help make you incredibly valuable in the workplace. For those in upper management, you may not need to be the expert, but understanding the basics in different areas can help you manage employees easier and even allow you to hire more fluently.
Never Stop Learning
Everything you want to learn is out there, just make the effort. I am a huge believer in open-sourced education and free/cheap educational resources across the web. Kids in today’s society that have been coding since the age of 8 are already working to solve some of the world’s biggest problems by the time they are in high school.
You can take it in your own hands and virtually learn anything you want.
Below is a list of a few educational resources you should definitely check out. The list is small now, but please feel free to add your favorite online learning sites that you find valuable and would love to share with everyone.
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