I have spent $20K+ on online courses as a UI/UX designer — here is how to pick one and not regret it.
“Don’t expect any money from me until September.”
This is what my dad said at the beginning of summer.
Every morning he would leave the newspaper, with the bartender jobs circled. I didn’t go out the entire summer. I spent all my time watching bootlegged Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials that a friend had given me.
In September, I started working on my first graphic design job, earning as much as my dad.
Unfortunately, most people don’t see online courses as a solution to their problems.
People believe online courses are a waste of money.
They prefer to complain and make excuses:
- “There are no jobs for me because of the pandemic, the internet, automation”
- “Yeah, right — I’m not paying someone on the internet to tell me what to do”
- “I have tried this once, it didn’t work for me”
- “If only I had studied X”
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can leverage online courses to re-skill or upskill in record time and earn back your investment.
Here’s how, step by step:
Step 1: Have a specific goal in mind
If you don’t know where you are going — how would you get there?
For example, when I decided that I wanted to go freelance full-time, I didn’t know how to find clients, how to do contracts, communicate with clients. I looked around for someone who had done it and was teaching it. And learned from them.
Make a list and look for people who teach the subject.
Step 2: Learn from practitioners
Learn from people who have done what you want to do.
Look for someone who is close to your desired outcome. For example, when I had to learn how to set up my freelance design portfolio, I was ignoring most of the advice that is given by designers with a full-time job. And I was looking for advice from freelancers or agency owners since they spoke directly to the client, not to recruiters.
Look for specific knowledge, not broad advice.
Step 3: Apply learning immediately
Do the damn exercises that are suggested in the course.
This is not a TV show to just lean back and watch. Look for a real case scenario to use as your training ground. The least you can do is to teach someone what you are learning while learning it. This will help you retain the learning and connect the dots between theory and practice.
Do the work.
And lastly, if you don’t have the money for the course you like, you can always pay with time. Research the course creator. Watch all of their free videos, listen to all the podcast appearances and read their blog or newsletter. The course info is already out there for free — just a bit scattered.
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