Here's a reality check: your career will likely span upwards of 40 years of your life. That's a long time spent at work. Given that empirical fact, ideally, you want to be in a position where you can actually get the most out of your job in terms of satisfaction, pay and its alignment with your personal goals.
We have one word for you: upskill. Your working life is rarely one continuous upwards trajectory. Yes, there are successes — but, equally, there are slumps. One way to avoid these and pivot your way out of job stagnation is through targeted education. Taking a course related to your career goals helps you expand your realm of knowledge beyond your original training, keep up to date with the latest research and methodologies in your field, and show your present (and prospective) employers your ambition and drive for self-improvement.
To help you do this, we've picked five university subjects with no prerequisites that you can take as one-off courses to help you get ahead in your job.
PROGRAMMING: LEARN HOW TO CODE
Digital skills! These are in increasing demand across a broad range of industries, from media and advertising to design and technology. Retraining is essential in today's world — technological changes are constantly challenging the basic skillsets required in the workforce, and there is always something new to learn. Keep up and adapt with RMIT's introductory programming course. You'll learn the basics of coding and sequencing as well as ethical considerations in programming. So when someone in the office needs someone to go in and tweak the website's code, you'll be able to smugly run to their aid.
What's the subject? Introduction to Programming at RMIT. Enrol here.
UX DESIGN: KNOW HOW TO CREATE A USER-FRIENDLY PRODUCT
Demand for good UX (that is, user experience) designers is most definitely on the rise — it's something we use every single day. That's because UX designers create frontend designs for users that are attractive and functional — it's what makes apps like Instagram or Airbnb intuitive and useable. In this course, you'll learn the basics of UX design. Then, from there, you can experiment on your own or even opt to take on further study. Because this is a relatively new occupation, doing this course will give you the ability to differentiate yourself in an emerging area of expertise.
Salaries depend on experience, but on the whole they're way above the national average, with senior UX designers earning up to $120,000 per annum. Not bad. But even if you don't become a UX designer per se, knowing the basics helps facilitate communication with any UX designers you hire or work with. Knowing what you're talking about cuts out unnecessary back and forth communication thanks to a shared language and will allow you to get the project done much quicker, saving you time and patience and your company money.
What's the subject? User Interface and Experience Design at Curtin University. Enrol here.
BUSINESS INNOVATION: GET THE KNOW-HOW TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
This course is a perfect booster if you work in an existing business, or if you're thinking of starting one on your own. You'll learn how to tackle business issues in a creative, innovative and — most importantly — practical way. Across the course you'll scrutinise real-world examples of innovation in the workplace that you can then apply to your own practice. You'll also learn how to pitch a concept (which we're going to say might be more useful than listening to episodes of StartUp).
What's the subject? Innovative Business Practice with Swinburne University. Enrol here.
PEOPLE MANAGEMENT: LEARN HOW TO FOSTER A THRIVING (AND DIVERSE) WORKPLACE
If you work in HR or you lead a team or company, this one's for you. Equity and diversity are important principles getting a lot of airtime right now — and for good reason. The workplace only stands to benefit from diverse perspectives and bigger companies are constantly looking at how to create a more consciously egalitarian environment. If you know this is true but don't quite know how to put it into practice in an ethical and balanced way, this course should put you in a position to do so. It looks at the founding principles of HR management that will allow you to recruit, foster and maintain a happy, healthy, diverse and productive crew of colleagues. Anyone involved in recruiting and people management — and the companies they work for — only stand to gain from this training.
What's the subject? Human Resource Management Principles with Griffith University. Enrol here.
LEADERSHIP: BECOME A BOSS PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE
If you want to increase your existing skills as a manager or are looking to be promoted through the ranks of corporate leadership, this course is a strong option. You'll learn about different team management styles and assess the varying ways that project teams can be structured. Relationship management and team development is absolutely vital in proving yourself as an effective team leader, and this course can help complement your at-work practical leadership experience. Essential stuff. Plus, if a promotion comes up, you'll be a prime candidate for the role.
What's the subject? Project Leadership & Teams with University of South Australia. Enrol here.
Start looking at all the subjects on offer online from leading Australian unis through Open Universities Australia and you could have a new skill by the end of the year. Hop to it.