Staying stagnant in your career and not being open to learning new skills is a great way to turn yourself down to opportunities that may arise in the future, regardless of whether you’re at entry, mid or senior level. For most people, education starts early in life and ends around their mid-twenties, and once they walk across the podium to receive their earned degree, it is effectively the final chapter in their formal education career.

Sure, there are probably work-mandated training in the companies you work for, but going back to school is a hassle and an expense that is hard to justify if you already have a degree in your chosen field. For those looking to stay competitive in their careers without signing up for an extensive program at a university, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are an excellent option.


What are MOOCs?

MOOCs are free or relatively inexpensive courses that are available to anyone who has access to a computer and internet connection. The major MOOC providers in the United States are Coursera, edX, and Udacity and many prestigious colleges across the country and around the world. Additionally, individual universities like Stanford, MIT, and Harvard provides MOOCs through their online portals.


Expand your current skills

As a business professional, you probably know the ins and outs of your current role and what is expected of you each day, but there is always room for improvement. Courses that are related to your industry will give you the opportunity to modify and enhance how you structure your day, speak to clients, or manage your workforce. To succeed in advancing your career with MOOCs, make sure you’re realistic in your course load and set aside time each week to work on assignments and readings.


Be a cut above the rest

These learning programs allow you to gain valuable insight into upcoming technologies and changes in the industry you work in. Technology and applications are always changing and keeping current and being cognizant of changes as they happen will only add value to your company.


Expand knowledge of outside interests

Even if you love your current position, growing your knowledge and skills outside of your wheelhouse enables you to spark your interest in other areas and grow as an individual. Think about what subjects you’re interested in outside of your current position that would enrich your life. Chances are, there are MOOCs available for you to expand your knowledge in whatever interests you, whether it’s astronomy or learning about medieval literature.


According to a survey that was taken by Harvard Business Review, over 30% of MOOC learners were able to improve their careers as a direct result of having committed to these courses. Moreover, 85% of those surveyed believed they benefited from taking MOOC courses in their professional career. Completing MOOCs shows that you are dedicated to improving your career despite having a hectic schedule and professional and personal responsibilities.