The world of business and technology is always changing, evolving, and progressing, and to keep up with the times and remain competitive you need to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The Internet makes it possible to obtain any information and do online research at the touch of a button, and with the right guidance and support this can be a very efficient way to learn.
Fortunately, there are viable options available for those looking to gain the skills necessary to become financially independent and free from the shackles of traditional employment, and with modern education and the ever-increasing accessibility of information online numerous possibilities exist. One such route to take is online learning through learning curves, tutoring sessions, and mega-courses, and while there are undoubtedly benefits to be had from a traditional classroom setting there is no denying that the world of digital education is advancing at a rapid pace.
Why Online Learning?
Traditionally, schooling in Ireland wasn’t available to everyone, especially those living in rural areas or on the other side of the country, and for those who could attend school there was no guarantee of a job once you graduated. These factors combined created a demand for alternative forms of education, and since the early 1900s homeschooling has been a popular choice among Irish families. With the rise of the Internet in the latter part of the 20th century home learning has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, with many successful educational businesses, such as Studybay, providing online study resources for students of all ages.
The advantages of online learning are numerous, not the least of which is the ability to learn at your own pace and in your own time. If you have a busy schedule or live far away from your school then online learning allows you to study when and where you want without having to worry about going to class or making friends. Furthermore, with the world of digital education progressing at such a rapid pace it might be difficult for a student to keep up with the material in a traditional classroom setting, making a digital education a much more appealing option. Jobs in information security, data analytics, and web development are projected to grow by 2020, and with increasing competition for talent coupled with improving working conditions in these sectors the need for skilled workers is at an all-time high. An additional advantage of online learning is that you can take the course even if you’re not located in an educational hub, giving you the opportunity to gain the skills you need to succeed even if your local educational institutions are closed due to the pandemic.
The Rising Cost of Living And The Demise Of ‘Significant Other’ Jobs
Along with all the benefits that online learning has to offer, there is also the downside. One of the major concerns for parents who choose to educate their children digitally is the rapidly increasing cost of living. According to the CSO, costs such as energy, water and food have all increased in recent years, making it more difficult for families to provide for their children the way they had in the past. Inflation is also a major issue for those on low incomes, and for families who are being forced to make ends meet on a single income the stress of paying for all your child’s educational expenses is immense.
While there are undoubtedly benefits to be had from an online learning environment the increasing cost of living demands serious consideration. Another disadvantage of online learning is the ‘significant other’ jobs that many graduates are faced with. With more and more families choosing to educate their children digitally there is a high demand for part-time jobs, particularly in the initial learning curve, to help make ends meet. This can create additional stress for young graduates, not to mention the fact that these jobs aren’t usually included in the contract when you’re signed up for a course, so you might find yourself working for free for a while.
Online Learning And The GI Bill
While you might be able to get by on a single income in today’s world of digital education, doing so wouldn’t be advisable. The Government’s GI Bill, introduced in 2019, provides up to $4,000 tuition reimbursement per semester for those attending an approved digital education program. This is an excellent option for those who qualify, and it ensures you’ll have the financial support you need to further your studies.
The GI Bill only covers tuition fees at approved institutions, so you will still need to find the money to pay for other costs such as housing, food, and transport, which, as we’ve established, are all becoming more expensive as a result of increased demand and limited supply. The GI Bill alone won’t help you make ends meet, but it will provide you with the motivation to find additional work and study opportunities to pay for your education.
Which Type Of Online Learning Programme To Choose?
The type of online learning programme you need will depend on your personal situation and the type of job you plan on getting once you graduate, but there are some common threads that can be drawn between the various platforms. If safety and security is a concern then look for a programme that is accredited by a respected body such as the SSCP or CISM, and ensure the provider is committed to keeping your information secure, as well as being a member of a professional organization such as the IT Professionals Association of Ireland or the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
The cost of an accredited SSCP or CISM certification varies from €250 to €600 depending on the level you choose. The price of non-accredited qualifications range between €80 and €250 and there is no guarantee that the information you provide during the application process will remain secure. The cost of a professional association membership is either €25 or €50 per year, depending on which organization you join, and can help protect your career should you find yourself in a position where your security is compromised.
How Does The Job Market Look For Those With Digital Degrees?
With the job market in Ireland currently facing an oversupply of qualified candidates, employers are turning to alternative routes to fill their positions. One such route is through online learning, and with more and more people opting to educate themselves digitally it’s an excellent option for those looking to further their education. Since the majority of jobs in Ireland are either linked to sales or service, hospitality, and food preparation, jobs in the administration sector are likely to grow in the coming years.
According to the CSO between 2012 and 2020 the number of administrative and secretarial jobs is expected to grow by 27%, and since a lot of this work can be done remotely it would be a great fit for those looking to further their education. If you’re looking for a stable job with a growing company then consider working remotely for a period before moving to Ireland to live, this could prove to be a great way to gain valuable working experience.
Where Can I Study In Ireland?
With the cost of living in Ireland being among the highest in Europe and the demand for educational services increasing, various government measures have been put in place to provide additional support for students.
The Irish Government provides scholarships and grants to students who meet the criteria, and since the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on both students and the economy alike many institutions have changed their tuition policy to be more accessible to those who need it. Several Irish universities, including AIB, NUIG, and TCD, have introduced significant new discounts for students who qualify, with some offering full bursaries for certain courses. If you’re looking for a new start in life or are in need of financial support then explore your options, whether they are traditional or digital, formal or independent.