Online certifications have been around for quite a while now and are increasingly gaining the attention of many students, graduates, professionals, part-timers, and several others. One of the major reasons for that is a win-win situation for trainers and e-learners. The trainers get more attention and get paid on delivering on-demand content while the learners are rewarded with learning a new skill and a certificate which adds value to their resume or CV. Some of the popular platforms used these days include Coursera, edX, Linkedin Learning, Udemy, etc.
However, with a drastic increase in E-Learning platforms over the past years the concept of over-engagement also comes in. While it is true that certifications are mandatory it does not mean that they guarantee a job or position. What ultimately matters are the skills that you attain and how you apply those skills. Here, are the top 5 mistakes that beginners do while choosing an online certification
5. Choosing Irrelevant Ones
You might have come across a situation like this: ” You subscribed to receive regular notifications from an E-Learning website. A few moments later you received recommendations to a few courses which state in the description that they are recommended and highly demanding. After receiving several notifications as such you decided to enroll in one of them only to know later on that it was absolutely not what you had in mind!”.
Social Media can be distracting but you should know when to switch on and most importantly when to switch off. Let’s say you are a Computer Science student. Then the fields that you like maybe AI, Cyber Security, Software, Programming, etc while the fields that would be irrelevant to you may be VLSI, Fashion, Marketing, Electronics, etc.
Choosing absolutely irrelevant certifications may seem satisfying at the beginning but can be a pain in the neck in later stages as you will have to understand the content that you haven’t even heard of and not interested in. So always try to choose certifications that are actually relevant to what you want or at least closely relevant. Try to read the content or brief introduction provided for the course before enrolling.
4. Choosing too Advanced
Let’s consider another case of the situation mentioned above. Let’s say “You did not choose an irrelevant one this time. Instead, you did choose a course absolutely relevant to you and read all about it. But you never looked at the duration of the course and the intended audience. You enrolled in the course only to realize that it was for professionals and it would roughly take 4-6 months to complete!”
The duration of the course and most importantly the intended audience are mentioned for a reason. They in other words mean that professionals with the specified skills who tend to improve their skills in their area can complete the course much easier compared to beginners.
If you are an expert in python then python software development specialization, python web development, robotic process automation, etc should be much easier to understand compared to a beginner who knows a little or nothing about it. Always try to notice the intended audience for the course and that will guide you to or not take the course. Even try to find the duration that you will have to dedicate for it which will help in planning accordingly.
3. Choosing too Many
Now let’s assume you neither choose an irrelevant course nor choose too advanced. Instead, you were looking for certifications relevant or closely relevant to your learning interest. You found a whole bunch of courses all stating that they are on-demand and the instructors are unsung in those fields. You did happily select one of those courses but out of over engagement and over-excitement, you registered for 4 courses. After completing 2 courses with all the hard work and dedicated time you only realized that there are still 2 remaining.
Too much of something is a bad thing! In our case choosing too many courses not only adds additional load on your mind but can also leave you intimidated and that gets the best of you.
What started in the beginning as dedication changes into obsession and then into regret. It is true that you need to gain knowledge but there is a step by step incremental approach to that. Always consider yourself a beginner in terms of gaining knowledge and in turn choosing a course.
Instead of choosing multiple courses that make you nervous, tired, and stressed, try to complete one. This way, you will be able to completely focus on what you are learning and least worry about the mammoth tasks that await you.
2. Switching Across Multiple Platforms
So after preventing the above-listed mistakes from happening let’s say you successfully choose one relevant course that even beginners can understand. Now after enrolling you started receiving ads on different social media such as Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, etc stating that a few other platforms are offering certifications and are also providing a reasonable discount or even providing on-demand courses for free for a limited duration. At first, you tend to ignore it but later you enroll in courses by a few other listed platforms as well creating multiple accounts and passwords for them as well, only to start memorizing the moral again “Too much of something is a bad thing!”.
Once again Social Media and Over Engagement turn out to be the hot topics. There are many platforms offering certifications but that does not mean we have to check out every single one. Only try to choose one platform and stick to it for anything you want to learn and if and only if you do not get satisfying content or the content you are searching for is unavailable or any other valid reason should you consider switching to another platform.
Switching across multiple platforms will not only fill up your e-mail inbox with notifications by a whole lot but will also increase the load of maintaining those accounts. So you have learned another important lesson! Stick to one platform and if unsatisfied search for others, do your research and stick to just one more at most.
1. Relying on Certificate Value
Let’s say you managed to prevent all the above mistakes and stuck to one platform, choose one relevant course that even beginners can complete. So let’s say you completed the course and want to explore more. You started searching on your favorite E-Learning platform in which gaining a certificate has a lot of industry value and found multiple courses that are relevant, as well as the ones not closely relevant to you suggested to you by the recommendation system. Keeping in mind that a certificate on the platform has a lot of industry value you enrolled in 2 courses, one of which is relevant to you and is a bit advanced but one of the most demanding and the other one irrelevant which you choose in a hurry. After enrolling you came across another platform were gaining a certificate is of high value in the industry as well. You immediately created your account in it and once again choose 1 relevant and 1 irrelevant course. Finally, you checked out yet another platform only to realize “You have repeated all the above-listed mistakes thanks to just making this one mistake! “.
So you are once again stuck in the maze, aren’t you? As mentioned right at the beginning of the article, the skills that you gain matters and not the certificate itself. Even a low valued certificate can absolutely make sense if you are absolutely confident of what you learned and are capable of reproducing the same at any given time to any given person. Its because you absolutely liked the content, enjoyed, and understood almost every single bit of what you learned.
Whereas a high valued certificate cannot make sense if you have somehow managed to pass after referring through a lot of online content, straining yourself physically and mentally. And in vain you just can’t present a bit on what you learned and can’t apply the attained skills anywhere. Now that’s a wastage of money, time, and the certification itself.
Hence to conclude, it is always advisable to put a skill-oriented goal in the picture and satisfy it with the utmost relevance. This way you will stop worrying about certificate value, stop making quick decisions on something you do not know, and start thinking more wisely on choosing what is best for yourself.