With Industry experts blogging and tweeting useful articles can you learn more from Twitter and Social Media than University or College?
There has been a lot of press recently from Company CEO’s of Tescos and Marks & Spencers who claim that many school and college leavers don’t have the basic skills to go into the work place. This is a depressing statement in a time when unemployment is at its highest and the youth of today often need that one break to set them on their career path. With jobs being so sparse the competition is higher and employers are often more likely to go for reliable, experienced workers who may have dependants rather than enthusiastic kids straight out of college. If these concerns that young people haven’t the skills to do a job then they may be in real trouble leading to a generation of desperate 18-24 year olds.
Unfortunately I can well believe these claims, having studied design at University I came out after 3 years of study with a massive debt and no Industry skills. Conceptually my course was excellent and having a degree certainly opens doors to a certain extent but I left University to take on shop work, whilst I worked at home developing my computing skills and was eventually given an opportunity to work at a low level within the Internet Marketing Industry.
Not all of my classmates were as lucky and many still work minimum wage jobs or admin work not even in the Industry they studied at University. The only thing that set me aside was hard work learning new skills and a lucky break with an employer who gave me a chance and let me learn within the company.
This hard work hasn’t stopped and within Web Design and Internet Marketing you have to keep up to speed with changes in benchmarks in Website design and Search Engine algorithms this places a lot of strain on individuals to excel at the day to day as well as improve their own knowledge. The best way I find to keep up to speed is by following respected SEO‘s and Web designers on Twitter, this way I can follow their blogs, their company news, and they tweet interesting articles that they found useful.
This helps me keep up to speed with Industry satndards, helps push me into looking further into areas that have been pointed out and has become an ongoing education for me. Does this compare to a College course or degree? I believe practically this is far more useful than anything I learnt at Uni, I have more mentors and can even see their mentors and I have definately learnt more from Twitter than any course.
However a course is for a limited time, Twitter is an ongoing education this means the parameters are skewered but also means the knowledge is more up to date than a curriculum that may not have been changed for years.
In my opinion I think you can gain more Industry knowledge from social media it is more relevant and is not censored but you could never become an expert in any Industry just from reading blogs and articles. You need to be in the Industry working with different clients, websites, experiecing the changes first hand, then, cross referencing them with other peoples experiences and articles.
Perhaps the future of education should look into real time education, getting the latest knowledge and experts opinions, but most importantly they need to stop being so academic and teach people practical skills rather than theories. Find some way of bringing in Industry conditions and maybe set up relationships with companies that are willing to help.
At SEO Creative we understand the need to develop your skills and although our staff all have Agency experience we welcome CVs from graduates and even guest lecture at Universities on Internet Marketing. If you are a college or University that wants to get involved please contact us.