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Friday, July 28, 2017

Is a Certificate Really Worth It?

This is not a dig at any school or learning institution, as I have good and bad feedback about college and franchises.  What I'm talking about is the process of doing research about a position or industry, looking for a resource which will help learning more.  Supposedly, if you're smart, you'll research the instructor or go for a class audit and, if all looks good, enroll.  Finally, you pass the class with flying colors only to learn that the one thing you needed (and it usually relates to technology) is obsolete.

If you paid to learn Adobe Flash in the past year, you know of what I speak.

What about those names that are not as powerful as Adobe, Microsoft, or Facebook?  Less than two years ago, I had a college instructor tell the class that Twitter is gone with the cassette player.  We reluctantly believed it but now I still see Twitter marketing classes...and it's not like the same way a person would see MySpace marketing classes advertised.

A few months prior, I took a social media class at a popular 2-year college and the emphasis was Tumblr.  While I don't hate this app, I've yet to see it work as a primary marketing tool the same way Facebook and Twitter work as a secondary marketing, or in conjunction with word-of-mouth.

So what's an eager beaver to do?  One poster on a respected blog stated they would rather attend classes at a place like General Assembly or Code School for all things related to social content and web design/development.  The good side of some of these schools is that they allow some classes to be taken a la carte for little or nothing.


Codeacademy just started their 10-week freelance web developer training.  Though less than $200, curriculum emphasizes being able to work for micro-to-medium operations, not a corporation that's likely to a have a large or complex intranet.  I like their free classes and the web developer training seems more comprehensive than the web creator certificate offered at my 2-year college.


via GIPHY


As a rule, I don't trust any institution that inundates my email box with deals, testimonials, or sales letters that might as well be landing pages.  That's like the potential mate that gives a hard sell on what a good girl/boyfriend they will be if you just give them a chance.  When people try to hard, money is normally involved.

Another point that was brought up about colleges is sometimes the time it takes to approve something, it's almost out of style.  I can recall the same anti-Twitter instructor from a couple of years ago giving a lot of attention (like almost two long classes) to memes.  We get it...images are the butter/bacon/creamy, cheesy topping on a meal but it takes thought.  However, I would like to see more emphasis placed on intellectual property standards for images taken with a smartphone.

The only feedback I can give based on my experience is to stay on top of feedback.  Course Horse is good (plus they have discounts on some classes), I still use Yelp, and often I just do an engine search and, if possible, look up the instructor on LinkedIn.  A possible dealbreaker: when the person has a degree in something entirely different or gets butt hurt on social media.

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