Careers Posts

Five New Paths to Self-Education for Career Development

It seems like 2015 is going to be the year of revolutionary educational models. Every few days, a new startup seems to appear with a new vision for how people can learn, grow, or even teach, all on their own.

But even as the long-smoldering debate over whether and how (and how much) to disrupt the university model starts to produce some actual flames, it seems like the demand for new learning methods isn’t coming from a lack of faith in the old, but rather from someplace unexpected: Career development.

Personal development is a big part of it, too—learning to play guitar on YouTube is only the tip of that iceberg—but the thing that really seems to be driving these new sites, systems and software is the idea that what you learned in college isn’t going to be enough to carry you through your career anymore.

In the past 10 years, some things became obvious: Marketers needed to learn HTML. Product designers needed to learn programming code. Programmers needed to learn design. And so on.

Our career silos are breaking down, and in response we need to keep up. And a 15-year-old college degree isn’t going to help with that. That’s why the self-education industry is booming, and sites that make self-guided education easy (like are prospering.

Here are five types of self-education models that have become extremely popular in recent years, and the best E-learning sites within each category:


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Just a few years ago, Massive Open Online Courses made the biggest splash of any category here, because they were a complete disruption of the university model by universities. They rose to prominence when esteemed professors from Stanford University decided to offer free courses online (via telecommute) to anyone who wanted to attend—whether that be several hundred or more than a million.

Since then, universities have experimented in these courses so commonly that they it’s barely notable when a new one launches, but they have the advantage over other self-education methods of (often) being live presentations, and giving students access to legitimate, university-level content for free, from anywhere.

Here are the best sources for MOOCs:

Why a Bachelor’s Degree Won’t Get You Hired: The Experts Weigh In

At skillset, we’re always trying to think of ways we can help people expand their knowledge, develop their career, and gain more confidence in their jobs or in their job search. That means, by definition, we’re helping people move beyond the mindset of “I have my degree, now I need to find a job that matches it.”

Increasingly, that takes us to the question of “What does a modern job candidate look like?” “What should one look like?” It seems more clear than ever that job seekers and professionals need more in their arsenal than a college degree.

There is definitely a debate to be had about whether or not attending a four-year anniversary is the best way to prepare for one’s eventual career at all, but most serious professionals (and employers) agree that it’s the best place to start.

But that’s just it: A bachelor’s degree is more of a starting point than the defining characteristic of your career, or certainly of your qualifications.

To dig deeper, we asked several employment experts to give us their thoughts on how close a four-year degree got candidates to being “qualified” for a specific job opening. Their answers are enlightening.


On the Value of the Real World:

“I actually don’t think a “degree in X” is enough for most positions these days, so in the future expectations will shift towards also having actual real-world experience of some kind as a minimum, as well as (if relevant) a degree.

It’s so easy for anyone to get experience while they’re studying – maybe even while they’re still at school, before they start their degree – that when an employer is faced with ten resumes from graduates who are all academically similar, with similar degrees from similar colleges, excellent marks/GPAs and so on, they have to then start looking at the real world experience the applicants have gained so far in order to decide which one of them to hire – or even bring in for interview.