The Growing Need for Online Educational Resources

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This deserved more than just a bookmark and a tweet. This is a really amazing list of resources.

Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Why am I excited about free online education? For a few reasons

  1. I really want to teach myself to program and Google Code as a great resource
  2. Along those lines I’d actually like to figure out how to really use the Ubuntu laptop I have set up
  3. After decades of owning a guitar I should learn how to play it

But there are less personal and more interesting reasons why I think this post is timely (and I’m sure the staff at LifeHacker knew this).

I was recently (yesterday actually) talking to my good friend Ilya about some recent trends we have been noticing. Ilya BTW is one of the few people locally I get together with to compare trends and let our brains explore where “things” are going. We rarely answer any real questions and always leave with more questions than answers. I highly recommend following him on Twitter.

We were talking about a trend that we are seeing in the available talent pool. Lot’s of the top talent people who are Gen X or older and have been consulting are starting to seek refuge in a stable job. One thing I’ve learned is that no matter what the market is like top talent can always find a job.

This leaves, what I’ll call 2nd and 3rd tier employees out in the cold looking for work. By 2nd and 3rd tier I do not mean to be disparaging it only indicates that at that job at that company they were not a top performer. There are a lot of reasons for this:

  1. The company was a bad fit
  2. The team or boss was a bad fit with the employee
  3. Their were external personal reasons that effected their performance
  4. The type of job was a bad fit

This last reason (although it applies to the others in some degree) is where continuing education comes into play. It’s no secret that universities see a spike in enrollment, especially in post graduate programs during down turns. Some people will turn back to higher education to bolster their resumes and ride out the downturn, presumably scraping by with part time or lower salary wages and relying on student loans.

Many people won’t be able to afford going back to school, or college may just “not be their thing.” For these people there is an ever growing resource of free online education.  While many of these resources may not help your resume just by the fact that you watched a bunch of online videos and read a bunch of book, having and being able to apply the newly acquired skill sets will be key. And for many just being able to brush up an a skill that they haven’t used at their previous job will also be a huge  benefit.

I’m a firm believer that from here on out (at least for the rest of my life) people will need to be able to reinvent themselves professionally every 10 years. If you are not a continuous learner, you need to be. primary and even secondary education should just be the start of your educational endeavors.

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