Daniel, 29, a digital marketing professional in Los Angeles, shares how edX is helping him to gain new skills to improve his career and explore a variety of interests on his own time.
I started taking classes on edX for two different reasons – partially to fulfill my own interests and to take courses in topics that I’ve always found to be exciting and partially to help me improve in my career.
In terms of my career, I’ve been working at a digital and social media marketing agency for the past few years, mostly working on the strategy behind campaigns and the messaging my clients are putting on their websites and social media posts. While I am very close to the strategy and content element of my job, I wanted to learn more about the technological side of the apps and programs I work with and to understand why things function in a particular way. I realized that a better understanding in both these areas would help me better communicate with the developers that I work with everyday.
Based on this, I took the HarvardX course Introduction to Computer Science. The skills I learned from the course have really helped me meet my learning goals! Being able to talk to the right people, in the right language helps me get things done better and faster in my career. When I have an idea for a particular website or feature, I know whether or not it’s possible and can come up with a suggestion for how it might be created.
Another big part of my decision to take Introduction to Computer Science is my drive to be creative. I’m fascinated by being able to create something from scratch, and having knowledge of computer science allows me to say, ‘I have a cool idea for an app or a website’ and then be able to make it. I’m toying with the idea of becoming a full-fledged developer and without the knowledge I’ve gained from this course, I wouldn’t even be able to think about this career switch.
In addition to helping me to expand my career options and explore new industries, I’ve also turned to edX as I contemplate further education. I consider going to graduate school every now and then, but I get stuck on the fact that I’m not sure what one thing I would want to study. When I was in college, and even now, I’ve found that I’m interested in too many things. As an undergrad at Harvard, I majored in the History of Science, mostly because I couldn’t decide between the humanities and the sciences. But even with striking this balance, there are still countless subjects and fields that I wasn’t able to explore while on campus.
With edX, I have the opportunity to take courses in any topic I choose. I can study whatever I want for whatever time period I want, so I can get the kind of variety and continual learning that I’m looking for. For example, I’ve started taking The Science of Cooking from HarvardX and Solar Energy from DelftX. For me, the caliber of the classes is the best thing about edX.
The most important way that edX has helped me is by allowing me to know more and learn more. I think having knowledge, whatever the actual subject matter, is really useful, as it allows you to better make connections and find new ways of looking at things. Additionally, knowing how to learn well and keeping those learning muscles toned will help you catch things faster and better in your professional and personal lives. With the free price tag and the learn-at-your-own-pace courses on edX, there’s no obstacle to learning great new things.