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What price do you put on your education? I’m not talking about the remnants of factoids you may – or may not – stumble across on this blog. I’m talking about real education, the kind handed out by meticulous professors with sagging beards and white coats.
Thanks to the Internet, learning new skills and advancing your expertise has never been easier. It’s as simple as point, Google, click and digest.
How I Became an Internet Scumbag
Before I evolved in to an affiliate marketer, I was a sloth-like web developer.
Admission: I say evolved, in reality it was more like a Big Bang. A collision between entrepreneurial dreams and the revelation that money truly did grow on trees. Google Money Trees, to be precise.
Before I was a web developer, I was a high school drop-out with too much time on my hands.
I wouldn’t exactly say that I’ve trailblazed my way in to self-employment. A better description would be that I’ve fumbled through the darkness, made a shit ton of mistakes, but ultimately managed to teach myself just enough to make a good living online.
One of the websites that made it all possible was VTC. Now, when you look at VTC today, it may seem a little outdated and slightly tattered around the edges. But back in 2005, VTC was my primary source of education for a career in web development.
I watched video after video after video for a period of at least six months. It was the ‘almost-free’ alternative to a fortune spent attending physical classes.
Looking back, the site has probably shaped why I’m so dismissive of the academic route in to any career that involves a computer. You can find the information online for a lot cheaper than what it costs to attend University.
Sites like VTC and Lynda gave me the platform and the vital skill-set to move seamlessly in to affiliate marketing. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. The industry was booming, and I merely had to hold on to the gravy train to steal my first break.
The point I’m rather ambiguously trying to make here is that education is always on your doorstep, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. While I used sites like VTC and Lynda to inadvertently guide my career towards Internet Marketing, there are now even greater courses available. And those courses are the reason for this post. They are too fucking awesome to miss out on, so you need to hear about them.
The Rise of Open Courses
A few weeks ago on StackThatMoney, my attention was drawn to a selection of online modules that mark the next great advance in distance learning. These are high quality courses, taught by world-class professors with full integration of the modern digital web.
Take Coursera for example. Coursera offers free courses from some of America’s most renowned Universities. You could learn computer science from Stanford, or model thinking from the University of Michigan, or how about an introduction to genome science from Penn? That’s genome science for Christ’s sake! You’re not supposed to try that shit at home. But now you can.
It’s clear that high quality distance learning now extends far beyond the grainy PHP tutorials I used to watch. You can get an introduction to just about anything if you shop around.
Even Harvard is getting in on the act. The closest I ever thought I’d get to a Harvard brainfart was in those two hours I spent living vicariously through Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.
Another site that offers a great interactive learning experience is Udacity. While Coursera takes the traditional route of heavy lecturing, Udacity places the priority on getting you to build workable solutions.
One course walks you through the building of a search engine from scratch, while another covers the complete development of a web browser. Udacity is rightly praised for turning the learning experience in to a practical examination of your skills. It forces you to build and develop. So if you can’t handle endless theory and lecture, it may be worth a look.
Apple Smells the Opportunity
If you needed any further evidence that distance learning is about to evolve spectacularly, look no further than Apple’s showcasing of iTunes U.
Having such a wealth of information on a phone or tablet in your pocket should be great reason for excitement. It certainly is for me, and I don’t even have an iPhone (although this is the sort of technology that could make me sell out).
The age old excuse of “I don’t have the skills to move my career forward” is finally being tarred as the bullshit it always was. There’s truly no excuse for accepting defeat and spending a lifetime in a career that you’re unhappy with.
Admittedly, there are some career choices that are always going to require the traditional road through Academia. A surgeon should never qualify to tamper with somebody’s guts by virtue of watching a few video streams. Even if they’re in HD.
But for most people reading this blog, all the information you could ever need to increase your expertise and broaden your prospects is sitting in the cloud, waiting to be tapped. What are you waiting for?
Recommended This Week
Make sure you grab your copy of the newly released Premium Posts Volume 5. It’s the perfect tonic for anybody wanting to crack Internet Marketing on a shoestring budget.
Also be sure to check out Adsimilis, the official sponsor of Premium Posts Volume 5. Adsimilis is one of the most effective networks in the world for a CPA marketer to sink his teeth in to. They are particularly dominant in the dating vertical, with industry leading payouts. If you are a dating affiliate you need to be on Adsimilis. Simples.
IT courses (especially degrees) are a total waste of time. Having said that, I did love doing my PhD. It…