Australian colleges are giving universities a run for their money. The ever-evolving nature of technology is changing every facet of our life, the way we learn, work and live. Its impact on the business sector is enormous, demanding constant innovation and never-ending ‘improvements’. Our love affair with technology has rendered time more finite than ever, placing us in an endless loop of ‘up-skilling’ and ‘adapting’ to the latest technology required to perform our daily jobs and tasks. Our great technological leaps and bounds are as much a marvel as they are a threat. They offer such great opportunities for burgeoning technical careers of tomorrow, while condemning many jobs of today to extinction.
To perform the plethora of tomorrow’s highly-specialised jobs, a degree (or trade) is more important than ever before. "As the number of graduates increases, the value of each individual graduate's degree goes down. But the penalty of not having a degree is even greater, in terms of things like life opportunities, self-esteem and earning power. So it matters more now than it ever did”, says Professor Simon Marginson, from the Centre for the Study of Higher learning at University of Melbourne.
So where should we turn to for a tertiary education which will set us up to flourish in a tech dominated world? What sort of institution is best prepared to ensure students graduate ‘job-ready’ with the necessary skills to walk into an entry-level position with confidence?
Colleges have a number of advantages over universities these days. Though their suitability to your circumstances of course depends on what career you are after.
1. Colleges are ideal for students who know exactly what sort of career they want and have the confidence to get straight into it on their own initiative. Many college degrees require solo, online task completion with a minimal amount of face-to-face time so if you cannot self-motivate, the online college experience may not be right for you.
2. A college degree is much more specific compared to a university degree. With a college degree you will be taught specialist skills directly related to the job role you wish to get into, unlike university which teaches you a broad range of skills and units, many of which are of no relevance to the job you are actually after and are out of date by the time you do get ‘that’ job.
3. Colleges keep themselves up to date with what’s going on in the industry, what the future holds and what employers want, most update their courses regularly to ensure students are taught up to date, relevant skills. The Australian College of Marketing for instance, updates its course notes every 3 months.
4. Depending on the college, you will have access to on-the-job training and learning. Much more time invested in hands-on work experience rather than the week or just a few offered through universities.
5. A college or technical college education is ideal for certain hands-on job roles, ICT and careers in the digital space such as online marketing and search engine optimisation.
Just make sure you check if the qualification is industry recognised and/or internationally recognised before enrolling.