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Professional Development: The Benefits of Working Smarter

It’s been said that the act of learning is a disruption. Our human brains must stretch and bend to absorb, comprehend, and retain new facts and ideas. This isn’t always a comfortable situation—who enjoyed memorizing multiplication tables or arcane grammar rules?
But as with athletic training, temporary discomfort in the short term can bring rewarding and lucrative long-term results.
Not only can professional development (the business term for “school”) earn you a better job title on your business card, it could also lead to extra zeroes on your paycheck. And getting started only takes a few clicks of your mouse.
In this post, we’ll talk about why it’s cool to be in school.

Skillset Diversity

Learning for learning’s sake has its advantages in the workplace, especially if you work for a large organization. Maximizing your options may just come in handy with projects that span different teams and departments. A varied set of strong abilities can also make it easier to transition within the organization.
Employers are often trying to plan for many different situations at once. Positioning yourself as “that employee” —the reliable one who can handle different duties at any time—can make you indispensable.
Versatility also shows you’re ready to tackle challenges, handle complex issues under pressure, and adapt to changes in technology and business models. If you’re starting a new business, a finance or management class could help you navigate the road ahead with confidence.
So how do you obtain the training and qualifications to be the office superhero? Read on.

Technical Improvement

Why settle for good enough when you can be better? Advanced training in specialized, high-value areas can make you an important asset in your department and throughout the company.
If you feel like your career track has hit a dead end, you might consider a new direction. Software developers, for example, are the brains behind the apps and gadgets we rely on every day. Accordingly, the demand and annual salaries for these positions continues to see robust growth. It comes as no surprise, then, that software engineering degree programs are some of the most popular and affordable online courses out there.
You may also find training resources right in your own backyard. Many areas offer regular professional training seminars in fields such as Information Technology, Healthcare, Real Estate, and Business Management. While not as convenient as online training, these live events can help broaden your expertise. They’re also a great means of networking with other professionals in your field—an essential element to healthy career growth.
Research your local community and technical college network as well. More and more, these institutions offer online and in-person classes, certificates, and degrees, depending on your needs.
It’s also a good idea to keep your eye on popular industry websites for special offers on training software or virtual courses.

Leadership Training

Do you get frustrated or impatient with the way things work in your organization? Managing people is a skill and talent all its own. Good management means better performance and a happier team. You may be ready to step up to a leadership position, and a targeted management curriculum can help you get there.
Project Management Professional (PMP) training programs are popular and reliable ways to jumpstart your business leadership journey. A PMP certification is highly-regarded and sought after by employers, and is recognized worldwide as a standard of leadership. It’s not easy (or cheap) to qualify for and achieve PMP certification, but the advantages to holding this type of advanced qualification are numerous and lucrative.
PMP programs demand quite a bit of dedication and work hours, but there are myriad other leadership training opportunities online in high-demand areas such as Legal, Healthcare, and IT. You can explore more fulfilling opportunities for career growth in your field—or transition to a new one.

Degree/Certification Requirements

Sometimes the position you want requires a specific academic degree or certification. There’s just no way around it: no diploma, no job. Luckily, many reputable and accredited schools offer low-residency programs, online classes, and flexible scheduling to make it easier than ever to get your degree.
Services like Udemy and VTC offer access to individual online classes from top-rated universities and companies. Though not accredited educational institutions, they provide convenient and affordable training programs that can improve your resume.
Looking for a degree? In addition to their selection of individual courses, sites such as Coursera allow you to earn graduate-level degrees. U.S.News and World Report’s list of highly rated online programs offers another great resource for those pursuing an undergraduate degree.
Your local community college system may also offer low- or no-residence degree programs in a variety of fields including accounting, finance, nursing, education, engineering, and, of course, software development. You may find that some colleges provide health coverage to enrolled students as well – a valuable perk, especially for freelancers. 
If you’re a full-time employee, ask your employer if they offer financial assistance. Many companies will cover some or all of the costs of job-related training. Be sure to do your research when shopping for online instruction, however, as not all programs are created equal.
The transition from summer into autumn is the start of peak hiring season—a great time to add some extra power to your resume. Whether you’re pursuing an advanced degree or taking a few targeted classes, now is a perfect opportunity to step up your brain training. You’ll see some long-term gains in your career and your bank account.

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Basil Harris avatar

Basil Harris

Basil is a senior content writer for Namecheap, Inc. Based in Seattle, he works as a freelance copywriter, actor, teacher, performance and presentation coach, and musician. Against the advice of his friends, children, and personal physician, he’s recently become obsessed with skateboarding and personal electronic transportation gadgets. More articles written by Basil.

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