Self development is something that everyone should be applying to themselves not only professionally but personally as well. As a kid I wanted to be an engineer after seeing the Zords in the Power Rangers as I thought the idea of building skyscraper sized robots to settle an alien threat was a sound solution. However due to my naivety and immaturity I never applied myself at school which did result in me scrapping with just two C Scottish Highers which closed so many doors.
After years in doing qualifications I kind of didn’t enjoy as they led me towards a career path I wasn’t interested in. I foolishly thought getting a degree was a necessity after countless rejections from mechanical engineering courses and just took courses I was qualified for. I eventually landed myself an engineering position that I initially enjoyed where I was tackling many technical challenges. However after every success I seen myself getting pushed towards project management. I was also being tipped as a future manager which really irked me as I enjoyed developing technology and found management jobs boring.
My opportunities for technical roles were becoming more scarce and after countless rejections for design engineering roles due to gaps in my mechanical engineering knowledge. I thought maybe I should train myself up. This lead me to discover a large wealth of free tutorials on sites such as Youtube and also Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s).
I’ve read many articles and debates on forums discussing whether or not MOOCs are worthwhile, a scam or if employers should take them more seriously which got me interested in writing my views on this topic. The MOOC’s I have seen are free to attend and are provided by recognised universities and upon completion of these courses you have the option to purchase the verified certificate.
Throughout my education I couldn’t care less about certificates or diplomas as I was more interested in gaining knowledge and not the piece of paper at the end of the course. This is my similar attitude to MOOC’s as I am attending them to fill the gaps in my knowledge. I would say my self confidence has improved and I am using this new found knowledge into practice by carrying out mini engineering projects to demonstrate what I have learned. I find them useful for introducing me to a new topic and I have even attended a two hour MOOC to help me understand how I should develop a marketing plan for my freelance business.
Even if they weren’t recognised by employers and industry I think they can help anyone who just wants to expand their knowledge and develop new skills. We are getting too caught up with getting as many qualifications under our belts when our ability to apply ourselves effectively is more important.
I think people could use MOOC’s as an example of a time where they took personal responsibility of their own development during an interview. They are good at plugging gaps or learning something new. But I don’t think they should be relied upon to land you a job. In saying that MOOC’s and online tutorials on Youtube will help this Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fan get closer to build his own Zords.
Title image from Entrepreneur the arts
CANDACE HAZLETT , (2013), MOOC-Learn [ONLINE]. Available at:https://www.edx.org/sites/default/files/upload/mooc-learn.jpg [Accessed 26 October 2016].