Author Topic: Online Learning (Coursera) in the world of hiring, and to pay or not?  (Read 1674 times)

kandj

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I wasn't able to find anything about this so somebody please redirect me if I was blind in my search.

Long story short - I've been trying to convince my husband to go back to school to finish his associates degree, of which he is 1/3 of the way done. He really really hated attending college classes and while a really smart guy, doesn't exactly learn the way our school system is set up. Not uncommon, I know. Of course I'm not going to force him into going back to school. We've reached a sort of truce where we are looking into him taking some specialized courses at Coursera, or similar, instead of a full out degree. I know he could try a fully online associates/bachelors degree but if he goes back to the college he wants to finish his photography degree, and that's not online compatible.

My main question is this: Should we pay to get the Course Completion Certificate? I've never been asked for my diploma but I also got hired at my job before I graduated college (I have 2 associates degrees). I'm not sure if there are ways that an HR person would verify that he has taken whatever online options that would end up on a resume. Has anybody run across this before? I assume we should pay for the certificate but maybe that is just throwing money out...

Specifically we were looking at this photography course, which he is way beyond in knowledge but it would put something concrete on his resume https://www.coursera.org/specializations/photography-basics  and probably a business course or something else that catches his eye.

plog

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Re: Online Learning (Coursera) in the world of hiring, and to pay or not?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 11:53:40 AM »
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...trying to convince my husband to go back to school to finish his associates degree...He really hated attending college classes...doesn't exactly learn the way our school system is set up...but if he goes back to the college he wants to finish his photography degree...

To what end?

Even if you are one of these it's-the-journey-not-the-destination people, you haven't made a great case for pursuing more education.  I don't really see the short, middle or end game to all of this.  What exactly would be the point of all of this?  It's like you want to check a box off of life simply to say you checked a box off in life.

I'd spend more time thinking about what it is you want your future to be like and then develop a plan to get there.   

kandj

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Re: Online Learning (Coursera) in the world of hiring, and to pay or not?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 08:31:42 AM »
The end being my husband has felt trapped at his retail management job because he has no higher education on his resume. He has applied to other jobs and ultimately they go with somebody who has something of a college education. He has no idea what he wants to do but he knows he is unhappy at his current job.

Not sure why the search for education is so terrible to you, he has a high school diploma at this point. I'm not asking him to get a doctorate and a job paying a millions. He feels having some sort of education on his resume will be a confidence boost as he searches for a new job.

kandj

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Re: Online Learning (Coursera) in the world of hiring, and to pay or not?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 08:50:16 AM »
I agree that photography isn't the most valuable certificate because, of course, you'd see the portfolio, I thought it might be an easy confidence builder for different courses, but probably better money spent on something else. His dream job is, I think, Commercial Photography for one of the car companies, which isn't going to happen unless he starts working for it and we move to an area where this happens.

On the business front we are debating creating an etsy store so we can start a business combining our creative abilities - did not consider that as a resume point. What do you mean by coherent narrative for the career, like goals? Thanks for the input immattdamon.

kandj

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Re: Online Learning (Coursera) in the world of hiring, and to pay or not?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 02:47:39 PM »
immattdamon, that is some wonderful advice that I haven't been sure how to put into words for my husband. Given that we are both in our early 20's we don't have tons of experience and it is very helpful to consider how the resume needs to make sense for the particular job not just a good resume. I'll ask if there is a blog or forum he can participate in for the kind of work he hopes to do, that is a great suggestion as well. I feel for him because I loved college, and he hated it and thinks that is what is holding him back from a new career. I'm not set on him needing a degree - but steps like you have laid out will get him farther than wishing.

notactiveanymore

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Re: Online Learning (Coursera) in the world of hiring, and to pay or not?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 03:08:59 PM »
I have done many online courses and certifications and have only paid for one. I have completed courses from Udemy, Alison, Open2Study, and I am currently working on a certification from BrainMeasures (that one cost $85). Alison requires you to pay to get the certificate of completion, but Open2Study and Udemy both let you print out certificates and Udemy gives you a license number. The cost of Coursera was a put off for me as well as the non-self-paced nature of it.

These courses were valuable to me because my education is in math education but I work in communications/marketing/website stuff. My resume demonstrates that I can do these skills and I have never found my self-taught background to be a hindrance. But I want to lean in at both my current employer and more broadly looking for a position/company where I would be happier. The courses provide that more formal education that some employers (and my current one) are looking for and to others they demonstrate that I'm invested in continuing education and learning new tools and strategies to stay at the cutting edge.

I am not sure it makes much sense for your husband to pursue these courses until he has narrowed down a bit what he wants to do. Maybe he should do some career placement quizzes online to get a start and what he might want to do. If he hates school that much, he has a ton of options still for growing in a career that does not require a degree. He just needs to start somewhere and keep looking for opportunities. Maybe he should try and pursue part-time photography on the side for a little while and see if that is the path he wants.

Some options if he wants to pursue non-wedding photography: contact real estate agents and offer them a flat fee price to go and do high-quality and well-lit pictures of homes before they go on the market, talk to local businesses about doing product photography (you can do a home setup for this pretty easily), offer businesses headshot rates for updating their company directories, investigate local prep sports to see if there is demand for competition shots... you get the point.