There you are, out of your university education and thrust into the fast-paced world of business. You’re working your way up the ladder, but there’s one kink in your trajectory – your qualifications and experience aren’t quite enough to nab those top jobs.
It happens to so many of us in the world of work, a glass ceiling brought upon by simply studying the wrong thing. In larger companies, especially, you’ll be competing with so many people that moving up the ladder can become like an outright bear pit. It means you’ll have to find that oh-so-important edge.
Within the daily grind of nine-to-five, studying for another degree can seem as realistic as chasing rainbows.
But with the revitalisation of distance learning courses, and the young upstart known as the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), the world of studying part-time has become a convenient and flexible way to gain new qualifications.
Gaining a qualification alongside a job shows how effective you are at balancing multiple tasks, a quality that employers value greatly.
Only two decades ago, gaining a distance learning degree was a wholly different story. You’d have to receive your coursework in the post, search your local library for obscure set texts and be left pretty much on your own to work. Isolated from campus life, these potentially convenient ways for a degree became nothing more than the poor cousin of “proper” education.
The easy way to study and work
Now, the narrative has shifted. The internet, coupled with a rise in living costs and tuition fees for brick-and-mortar universities, has created a perfect storm in which distance learning degrees have become a viable, convenient and good value option.
Indeed, most colleges and universities now offer a distance learning alternative for the majority of their courses, with Anglia Ruskin University standing as a prime example.
In a report from national newspaper The Guardian, distance learning graduate Rachel Stiles outlined another reason for studying away from campus: “It seems like employers are putting more emphasis on experience and personal characteristics than they are on your actual degree.
“So if you can show an employer that you’ve worked and also studied for a degree at the same time, it says much more about you as a person.”
“If anybody of any age wants to further themselves, or to learn something, it’s such an easy way of doing it.”
Indeed, gaining a qualification alongside a job shows how effective you are at balancing multiple tasks, a quality that employers value greatly.
Naturally, MOOCs don’t quite count in this high praise. Unaccredited, these short-form courses can give you a taster session to “top-up” your knowledge but, in terms of what you can put on a CV, won’t open up new job prospects. Despite this, courses from reputable universities (all available from MOOC hub site Coursera) have skyrocketed in popularity.
Really, the choice is yours. With a fierce job market, gaining an extra degree has never looked more appealing.