Posted on 21 September 2020
When people think of upgrading themselves and furthering their career, most of us jump to the idea of taking a master’s degree or diploma in our field. It’s the most familiar and obvious solution – a year or two of intensive study whether online or offline, taught the same way we were taught in JC or polytechnic. And at the end of it, a valuable graduation certificate that adds significant value to the resume and a whole suite of new knowledge.
However, it is easy to get stumped by the high cost and time commitment, and wonder if you can “make do” with a short course or training programme instead. While those provide gains of their own, there are some integral learning opportunities only a long-term higher education will provide.
Depth of Knowledge
A degree programme aims to provide a wide breadth of knowledge on its subject through compulsory keystone modules, meant to teach the most fundamental and necessary learning points, and optional modules for students to choose from. Through this combination, you will gain a much broader understanding of your chosen field, and probably come across concepts and skills you had no knowledge of before.
Aside from the depth of knowledge this provides, you will avoid the common “targeting” pitfall of the short course.
For example, say you discovered that you are unable to interpret data, so you take a two-day course to learn exactly that. However, a degree or diploma in Sociology would expose you to not only data management, but the functions of different analytical tools, their purpose, as well as usage scenarios and helpful apps and hardware.
With this understanding of the field, you would be better placed to use the data you have gathered than if you had simply learnt how to interpret it and ended your learning journey there.
The Academic Rigor
Your educational gains are not measured only in certifications and accolades. The process of learning can be just as, if not more, important.
Postgraduate degrees offer students the chance to conduct independent research or in-depth study in an area of their choosing, and also opportunities for internships and exposure. No matter what, the process itself equips students with important time management, analytical and organisational skills as they study.
The academic rigour of a postgraduate degree cannot be understated. Even if your postgraduate degree does not equip you directly for your job, you will still come away with broad-based skills and a renewed sense of intellectual independence that will stand you in good stead anywhere.
Knowledge is food for the mind, and regardless of which circle of academia you choose to pursue your postgraduate degree in, you’ll always be better off with more knowledge and richer learning experiences.
The Practical Gains
We need to face the facts – a Bachelor’s degree is now the norm. You can no longer expect a degree to secure you the job of your dreams. As the proportion of university graduates in the working population increases, you can only expect the competition to get tougher.
Hence, a postgraduate degree will allow you to stand out among your peers and equip you with skills relevant to the workplace.
It is obvious that further education will further your career. You will be able to command a higher pay because you bring more skills to the table, and stand in line for promotions and bonuses as you have shown your dedication to higher learning. And if you wish to change companies, you will stand in a better light than your competition.
Also, your tutorials and classes will provide networking opportunities with those in a similar industry, or with similar interests.
There are many ways to upskill yourself, but sometimes, traditional is best – get back to school and get those credits!
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