Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
In today’s competitive market, having and keeping a publishing career is never a sure thing. There’s always someone out there who is younger, faster, smarter or better qualified to do your job. This is especially true in an industry where technology plays an important and shifting role.
When it comes to learning a new digital skill, it’s always easier to cling to the way things have always been done, but technical concepts like search engine optimization, metadata and HTML are here to stay in book publishing. As paper books continue to give way to increasingly sophisticated digital options, publishers and authors need to be familiar with the ways these mechanisms affect and influence their work. They need to be ahead of the game. That means staying up-to-date with what’s happening in the digital book world. (See what I did there?)
While blogs, webcasts and podcasts are a great start, industry professionals need to delve deeper than these resources can provide in 1,000 words or 60 minutes of airtime to deeply learn a new skill. This is where continuing education courses come into play. Need more convincing? Here’s three reasons why publishers and authors should invest their time and energy in an online course.
1. You can do it whenever, wherever. While taking a continuing education course online is beneficial to everyone, it is especially advantageous to people with busy full-time careers. Fit in 15 minutes of study time over a cup of coffee in the morning, get a little extra reading in during your lunch break or simply pull out the laptop after work. Follow a lazy Sunday brunch with some work on a final assignment. It’s up to you. Whenever you’re ready to learn, your course is queued up and ready to go. Although a course may have a specific end date or assignment deadlines to help you stay on track, the majority of the learning can happen on your own time in any wifi-equipped location.
If you’re not up to the task of finishing a course within a strict one-, two- or four-week period, an independent study can be an ideal alternative. This continuing education option gives you all the information you need in pdf form without requiring you to complete activities on someone else’s timeline.
2. You pick the curriculum. When it comes to your career development, you know which skills you need to be indispensable. Whether it’s learning metadata best practices or how to put together a book app, you can select the courses that apply to your daily life. Traditional curriculums line up courses for you. People who attended college may recall filling credit hours with a bowling class or a philosophy workshop that didn’t really align with their overall goals. Taking courses online solves that problem by giving you the option to continue with a particular track or jump from one category or another. The best part is you won’t be labeled a dropout for selecting one or two courses that best fit your needs.
3. You prove you’re a proactive go-getter. What employer wouldn’t want a staffer who works hard to stay ahead of the game? By enrolling in an online course on a topic that’s important to your line of work, you prove to your boss, publisher and everyone else that you’re serious about your career and future goals. It’s a matter of taking the initiative. This new skill set may be the ticket to getting that promotion or raise, and it increases your marketability if your current gig isn’t a good fit. Savvy employees may even get financial assistance from their supervisors if the course will help with workplace efficiency. In the end, you may end up teaching the class to your coworkers, which puts you in a fine position to assume a leadership role within your organization.