people studying on laptops

Things to consider before taking an online course

With so many choices when studying online, it can become overwhelming. Particularly when some platforms offer very similar content.

If you’re struggling to commit, we’ve complied a short list of things that you can ask yourself about the course.

What do the reviews say?

Ensure you check reviews for both the website and the specific course you intend to take. Whilst some reviews might be fake, they will still give you an idea about the popularity and may reveal if things are amiss. If there aren’t many reviews for the particular course you’re interested in, check the author out, this might not be their first rodeo.

How much does the course cost?

It seems obvious, but in the past 10 years online course providers have increasingly been using different pricing strategies to lure users into signing up. This is in the hope they will stick around! Before pulling the trigger on a course, carefully check if it’s a one off cost or automated subscription that sneakily reoccurs. We’ve also seen some providers increase the price after 3-6 months.

How long do I need access to the course materials for?

If you plan to take your time or would like to go back and review particular topics, you may find some platforms have locked you out. Damn it! Check if access to the materials is for life or a temporary subscription. Our pro tip is to download all the materials you can once you’ve finished.

Where and how do I intend to study?

Some platforms support a whole host of options to consume their content. So if you plan to study anywhere other than a desk we would recommend checking how you can access the content.

For example, whilst travelling it might be much easier to use your tablet or phone, rather than pulling out your chunky laptop. Pluralsight even go as far as to offer TV apps for Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV!

We love the course providers that offer mobile apps, particularly those that allow you to highlight interesting sections and add notes as you go.

Will I receive a certificate?

New to the industry or trying to impress a new employer? Sometimes it’s great to be able to show off your accolades. Whilst the vast majority of qualifications you will receive online are not recognized by any official bodies, demonstrating your commitment and ability to learn will still impress many interviewers.

Do I receive any supplementary content?

Signing up to a platform just because it offers EVERYTHING, isn’t always the best move. Ensure that the course is closely aligned with your learning objectives and try to ignore the lure of “more is better”.

That being said, access to other resources can be useful.

Good luck CS Team