Whenever I’m asked by younger professionals about what further studies they should take, I now always reply that it depends on their career goals.
Maybe 10 years ago, I would have automatically responded that an MBA or Master’s Degree would be essential, but I no longer believe it’s as crucial as it was before.
I tell them that once you have decided on a career path, you should investigate what professional certifications are needed in your chosen field. And ensure you have them.
What has changed is that employers now prefer specific skill sets and qualifications— for example, Project Managers who are certified PMPs, Financial analysts who are CFAs, and so on.
Even CPAs require CPDs, essentially professional development units.
Added to that the disruptive technologies of the past 10 years, and now we can observe that coding skills to develop an App are deemed more immediate, more relevant than say, general management skills. Think about it—if you wish your company or brand to continue to be innovative through the next five years, then your employees being “digital and programming natives” has become necessary.
Of course this doesn’t mean that general management skills are no longer important. HR and OD (Organization Development) experts still would prefer that their line managers further hone their management abilities.
But now, the challenge is the available time and budget. In the past, one could devote two years to earn an expensive master’s degree, and everyone would understand.
And this is where continuing education or short courses come in.
Everyone can now select which skills gap they would need to further develop, without committing to a long time frame.
It’s possible to choose from specific subject areas, or general soft skills.
Furthermore, the trend towards workshops—where participants undergo SLEs, or structured learning experiences, have proven more effective in ensuring retention of subject matter.
Thus, short courses are the solution for many continuing education requirements.
We at Inquirer Academy, certainly recognize this trend and we will continue to offer new, relevant courses throughout 2017.
We will also highlight, through this column, many learnings and insights from our subject matter experts. Stay tuned!