If I told you after earning your PMP, you would be hired in two to four months after receiving your certification, how motivated would you have been to earn your PMP?
What if after earning your Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification, you earned a job as a scrum master in a company like Autodesk or Google, how motivated would you have been to earn your CSM?
Udacity has taken these ideas one step further and created Nanodegrees. They are accredited by market leading companies like AT&T, Salesforce, and Google who also help create the curriculum. I love this idea because the accreditation of the program is proven in whether or not students are hired. The companies that want to hire the Udacity graduates accredit the curriculum because it is driven by what they need. It sounds so simple and I love it.
I think this is a fantastic idea because it breaks up the learning process into a smaller and scalable approach that adapts with professionals who want to learn but who want to focus on very specific skill sets. Right now Udacity is focusing on the following technical skills:
I am sure though Udacity will continue to expand their curriculum as more employers see the value of this model and help them design new curriculum.
It also reminds me of PMI's approach to certifications where you can be certified in broad areas like program management or very specific skills like business analysis. To continue and adapt though, I wonder if the PMI certifications will have to adapt to different markets and technical skills. It is good to be a general PMP but more valuable if you focus in healthcare, IT, or energy. Apply the same logic to portfolio management or program management and you can see how more specialized knowledge in a market or skill-set combined with a PMP is more valuable.
So I wonder if PMI will start offering PMP's specific for different markets like healthcare or cyber security? Perhaps in the future we will see PMP-H (healthcare) or PfMP-IT or PgMP-E (energy).
The beauty of a Udacity Nanodegree is it shows how powerful self-directed learning can be and how employers are adapting to the evolving need of a talented and growing worldwide workforce that demands the best when it comes to professional development and learning.
What do you think? Is this the beginning of an entirely new way of looking at learning and professional development?
So far I have shared the vast worlds of Massive Open Onine Courses (MOOC) and Open Education Consortium, Now I want to share what I consider the third piece to the online open learning worldspace, online learning communities.
If you are like me, you learned how to become a project manager by trial and error in the working world. Learning communities focus more on providing digital skills that are becoming more desirable by more employers almost daily. With projects becoming more distributed across the globe, understanding how to navigate and exploit digital online tools and resources is even more critical than ever before.
I briefly want to share with you four of my favorite online learning communities but as always, I am sure there are more waiting to be discovered so if you know of any, please share them in the comments.
The first is Skillshare. They provide classes in design, photography, business, film, technology, fashion, music, gaming, culinary, DIY, writing, and crafts. Their primary focus is on creativity. Their manifesto is simple; "The future belongs to the curious." Add that to their mission statement, "...unlock the world's creativity," and you have a gorgeous resource to discover just how curious and creative you really are.
Next there is Skillcrush. They are a self-described online learning community for creatives, thinkers, and doers. The primary focus is on web development skills. If you check out their website, you will see they offer career "blueprints" focusing on web design, web development, Wordpress development, Ruby on Rails, and responsie web development and design. Their primary goal is to, "...demystify technology and help you completely transform your career," They are one of the best sites I have found for learning skills in this new digital age. The focus is more on web development but if you talk to any millenial project managers, they will agree with you so it is time now for everyone to jump on this new age digital project management train.
The third site is Udemy. Their mission is to, "...help anyone learn anything," Udemy offers a vast catalog of classes which include, development (software and web), business, IT & software, office productivity, personal development, design, marketing, lifestyle, photography, health & fitness, teacher training, music, academics, language, and test prep. Their portfolio is much more diversified but at the same time a fantastic example of just how far digital learning resources have come.
The last resource today is Lynda. They have done a great job of quickly becoming relevant for working professionals, especially project managers. They provide courses on 3D + animation, audio + music, business, CAD, design, software development, education + elearning, IT, marketing, photography, video, and web, Of all the reources I have shared today, they are the only Registered Education Provider (REP) where you can learn the skills you need and earn PDUs and we all know how much we love PDUs. They are also my favorite site because my good friend, Aileen Ellis, teaches a course on Calculating Earned Value. Lynda provides over 50 project management courses so they are a fantastic resource you can use in your professional development and project management career.
The other cool feature of these communities is you can become a teacher on each site. So if you are interested in becoming a teacher, mentor, or coach for students all over he world, I recommend checking out those resources as well.
Corners of the internet have quickly turned into beautiful virtual campuses. I hope you find these resources helpful and are able to enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea while you snuggle up with your laptop or tablet. Also, if you know of any similar online learning communities, please share them in the comments.