Chart Your Course: A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting Digital Learning Courses

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GA Malaysia
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Chart Your Course: A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting Digital Learning Courses

91% of Malaysians say they intend to upskill or reskill in the near future. Half of them say that their main motivation for doing so is to prepare for digitalisation and automation. 

However, the question for many is how do you pick the right course to develop skills that will fit your career goals and personal aspirations? We hope this article will help!

 

Step 1: Identify your goals

The first step comes down to one question: Why are you looking to develop your digital skills? Individuals at different stages of their careers and with different passions have their own answers to this - there is no right or wrong. Here are some potential questions to ask yourself as you reflect on your goals:

  • Are you aiming to change careers? What do you hope to achieve by shifting careers?
  • Are you seeking to accelerate your existing career? How will developing digital skills help you?
  • Are you seeking to enhance your employability and improve your chances of securing a good job? How will digital skills support your aspirations?

Identifying your goals and objectives will allow you to make a more informed decision when you are considering which skills and courses to pick. When in doubt, ask yourself what skills or courses will better position you to achieve your aspirations.

 

Step 2: Select a digital discipline

The next step is to identify what skills you hope to develop to achieve your goals. For instance, if you aim to switch careers so that you can find a job that is more personally fulfilling and that financially rewarding, you will probably want to identify a digital discipline that is:

  • Aligned with your passions. For instance, you may enjoy solving problems through quantitative analytics or have a passion for creative design
  • Experiencing high growth in demand. All digital disciplines are increasingly in demand but some are growing faster than others.

If you are stuck and don’t really know which digital disciplines to start considering. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Product management 

Companies are looking to increase their product management hires. Over half of the organizations surveyed by McKinsey planned to hire product managers within the first half of 2021. It’s likely that the role of product management would expand to talents beyond engineering and computer science, reaching out to potential hires in marketing or design backgrounds, especially as low-code software becomes the norm. Wondering if you have what it takes? If you’re a big picture thinker with a knack for balancing intuition and logic, product management could be your new career path.

2. UX design

UX design is predicted to go through an 18% growth rate by 2025. Although it’s a relatively recent branch of design (and technology), UX is growing more vital because the “user” is at the center of its operations—and your user is your driving force. UX designers hail from all sort of backgrounds and are present in many industries—finance, HR, sales, and especially in the coming future: Internet of Things (IoT) and big data. As a UX designer, you’ll learn how to keep customers loyal and become an indispensable member of your team.

3. Coding 

It has been projected that the growth rate of computer and information technology employment will reach 11% by 2029—an accelerated rate compared to other industries’ projected numbers of 4%. In fact, software development in particular is seeing a 22% increase within a decade. At GA, we offer multiple courses to learn different programming languages:  JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SQL, and Python. And the good news? They’re among the top five programming languages of 2020, as voted by professional developers, with JavaScript claiming the number one spot. As we enter the IR 4.0, coding will revolutionise every industry, and create pathways to new ones—and the industry will need talents equipped to carry out this task.

4. Digital marketing

Digital marketing specialists made it into the list of LinkedIn’s 2021 Jobs on The Rise 2021, and this digital skill is expected to rise on an upward trajectory. In 2020, the projected total digital marketing spend hit 206 billion dollars. Now you know that digital marketing is in demand… but why? Digital marketeers come in many shapes and sizes and are expected to work on a variety of campaigns and handle various challenges. In digital marketing, you’d need a combination of creative and technical skills to communicate the right message to the right audience, which is why talents of diverse backgrounds are gravitating towards this field.

5. Data

With big data being one of the main pillars of the IR 4.0 and experts projecting that 463 exabytes of data will be created daily by 2025, taking on a role in data is a pretty good idea. Data analytics skills is useful in practically any role, from digital marketeer to risk management analyst, and analytics are becoming ever more present in non-tech industries like healthcare and agriculture. The role of data scientist is just as important—their job scope is vast, and data scientists are usually the drive behind new possibilities created by data-backed insights. Data roles tend to attract those who value simplicity, integrity, and user empathy—do you?

 

Step 3: Pick a course

Now you’ve found a digital discipline that is aligned with your goals, it is time to pick a course to help you develop the skills related to that digital discipline.

There are several factors to consider when selecting a course:

  • Curriculum - What does the course cover? You may want to research the following:
    • Objectives, e.g., some courses are designed to upskill those with some experience while others may reskill those with zero experience and transform them into practitioners
    • Specific skills and technologies covered
    • Level of recognition of the curriculum, e.g., do employers hire course graduates or set the standards for the curriculum
  • Delivery mode - How will the course be delivered? Here are a few factors to consider as you research courses:
    • Instructor-led or asynchronous (i.e., pre-recorded content) - an instructor can offer feedback, answer questions, and provide personalised career coaching and advice unlike pre-recorded courses
    • Number of learners per instructor - fewer learners per instructor means more dedicated support for you
    • Type of content - some instructor-led courses may only offer lecture style content while others may offer more practical content, e.g., project work that can later be used in your portfolio when you search for jobs
  • Timing - How many hours of instruction will you receive and does the timing of courses fit your schedule?
    • A full time course over 3 months may not suit a working professional as well as a part time course conducted over two 2-hour classes per week for 10 weeks
  • Financials - What is the total cost of the course and what are the payment and financing options?
    • Beyond the cost, what is the value you are receiving? For instance, a course costing RM4,000 for 40 hours of instructor-led learning may offer far better value than a RM2,000 online course with 20 hours of pre-recorded content.
  • Provider quality and credibility
    • Potential indicators of quality include training provider’s scale and experience, instructor expertise and credibility, and partnerships with reputable organisations among others. When in doubt, speak to admissions teams and attend free intro classes to get a feel of whether you are willing to trust the provider with your career.

Want to get a closer look? We have a variety of intro classes and webinars in various digital disciplines to help you make the right choice—make sure to keep up to date with our online events.

Chart your next course and see what we have to offer. 

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