The online learners who do well are usually those who have a clear idea of why they are pursuing their education. In other words, the degree they will earn will benefit their career. Some of my students tell me they are returning only because they are tired of being passed over for promotions, and it’s time they have that piece of paper called a diploma. Apparently, this accomplishment alone will open the promotional opportunities. Students taking that approach are more likely to fail in the online learning world. Instead, they must have a bigger picture in mind, one that includes a long-term plan.
Select the Right Degree Program
One huge advantage of virtual learning is that you can find the right program for you. If you desire to be a Chief Technology Officer, you should pursue an undergraduate degree with a technology angle, such as B.S. in Information Systems. Given that you want to someday qualify for a “C” level position, you must earn a higher level of education, such as a Master’s in Computer Information Technology, or even an MBA. You can go further and complete a Doctorate in Information Systems. Once you know the end goal, you can start working today on what it takes to make that dream a reality.
Align Your Experience to Your Education
We’ve all heard people complain about how a lack of experience is keeping them from moving up the corporate ladder. The work you want will not always come to you. You must take the initiative and volunteer for projects and other work that is aligned with your career goals.
There is so much work to be done in today’s companies, and no one is asking for it. If you go to your boss tomorrow and let her know that you are willing to take on more responsibilities, she is likely to look at you in shock. If you want the experience, you can earn it quickly because work is everywhere. The advantage of seeking more work is that you will be placed on projects in which you will meet influential people from other departments. These are the same individuals who will soon look for hard working and committed employees to fill high-ranking positions, such as the CTO.
An Online Degree is Only Part of the Equation
While earning a college degree will result in increased opportunities for you, you must also consider professional certifications. If the project management field interests you, go to PMI.org and read-up on the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. If the HR field is your cup of tea, visit SHRM.org to learn more about the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) credential. These certifications require extensive work experience, and the candidate must also pass a rigorous exam. In short, the combination of a college degree with a professional designation places you on a path to long-term success.