Online courses: Here’s how you can prepare for a post-COVID-19 world

Short courses in business can be helpful as you prepare to enrol in an MBA programme.

By U2B Staff 

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It took a pandemic to radically alter our lives, forcing many to retreat to their homes and turning bustling cities into ghost towns. Acquiring new skills during a lockdown with online courses is not just a great way to pass the time, but to upskill in increasingly tempestuous times where today’s in-demand skills may no longer be so tomorrow. 

Unsurprisingly, lockdowns have resulted in an enrolment spike in online courses. 

According to Venture Beat, Udemy saw a whopping online course enrolment surge 425% for individuals between February and March; in the first week of April alone, people watched 1.7 million hours of learning content on LinkedIn Learning. During the 30-day period ending May 20, Coursera saw nearly 300% more course enrollment than for the same period in 2019.

What people have been learning varies. The UK government, for instance, is encouraging furloughed employees to build their digital and numeracy skills with The Skills Toolkit.

Meanwhile, Udemy’s figures show that in the US, people have been leaning toward creative courses, with Adobe Illustrator lessons up 326%. VB notes that India has seen a 281% rise in business fundamentals and a 606% growth in communication skills. Italy saw a 431% rise in people seeking guitar lessons, followed by copywriting (418%) and Photoshop (347%).

With so many courses to choose from from numerous providers, you may want to be selective over which courses you choose to ensure it helps you meet your career goals post-COVID-19. So, which courses should you choose? Here are some suggestions:  


Digital marketing

Digital transformation will continue to drive businesses into the future, making it essential for you to develop digital marketing skills as online takes centrestage. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, a marketer for a small or large organisation or are looking to build your skillset for a freelance side hustle. Digital marketing is useful across a range of roles, especially with social media use surging since the pandemic broke, making it an ideal time for individuals and companies to beef up their online marketing to capture a wider audience.

There are many options for professionals to upskill in the area. Platforms such as LinkedIn Learning offers courses such as Marketing Tools: Digital Marketing for beginners, while Coursera offers a Digital Marketing Specialization programme.


Cloud computing 

LinkedIn’s The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2020 lists cloud computing as among the top 10 in-demand hard skills. Back in 2019, LinkedIn said, “As the world rushes toward the cloud, companies are desperately searching for engineers who have the skills to accommodate this demand.”

LinkedIn Learning offers Learning Cloud Computing: Core Concepts, which will give you an overview of cloud computing and the key concepts that you should consider when making a move to the cloud.

Udemy also offers an array of cloud computing courses that will help you understand the basic concepts, or if you’re looking for more in-depth learning materials.


Critical thinking

It’s not just hard skills that will make you an asset in a post-COVID-19 world. Critical thinking skills will grow increasingly important as companies look for talent who can come up with ideas or solutions to tackle challenges, or in finding new ways of doing things more efficiently. 

This is also echoed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which notes that critical thinking is among the top 10 skills that is essential in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Many learning providers offer critical thinking courses. eCornell’s critical thinking certificate programme will teach you how to deeply analyse a problem, assess possible solutions and associated risks and hone your strategic decision-making skills by following a methodology based on tested actions and sound approaches. 

“Whether you’re interested in preparing for a management role or already lead an execution function, you’ll come away better equipped to confidently tackle any decision large or small, make a compelling business case, and apply influence in your organization in a way that creates the optimal conditions for success,” notes its website.

Coursera offers a plethora of critical thinking-related courses to help you dip your toes into the water.

With the rise of online courses, there are many skills you can pick up for free or at an affordable rate during your free time that will make you more attractive to employers or help you carve a new career altogether. With some hardwork and persistence, you’ll come out of the pandemic more skilled and attractive to potential employers post-lockdown.