“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”-Mark Twain

With the boom in online teaching platforms and the ever rising cost of getting a degree, more people are starting to take their education into their own hands.

The total student loan debt has tripled in the past 10 years from $363 billion in 2005 to more than $1.2 trillion today. Many are starting to question the value in pursuing a college degree. Graduate school, a long opportunity to boost one’s income, is being challenged. The New York Times published an article about what a master’s degree is worth. A Forbes article talks about the reasons to not go to graduate school.

People are seeing shortcomings in what they learn in college and what the job market demands. A growing number of people are using the expanding selection of online education sites to self-learn the skills they want or need.

The rise in student debt over the years

The rise in student debt over the years

Resources have been popping up that are catered to people wanting to self-learn something new. Online platforms like Udemy, Coursera, iTunes U, Skillshare and others provide online courses (in which many are free) that lets anyone learn anything from anyone. Courses are taught in learning Adobe Creative Cloud, writing fiction, knitting, culinary arts, history and many more.

The new found ability for people to be able to teach themselves things has prompted many questions. Are any practical skills for the job market learned in college? Is it up to universities to provide students with applicable, real world skills or is it on the students?

Fast Company published an article where industry leaders give advice on how to successfully learn skills for a new field without going back to school. Georgia Tech shocked many in 2013 when it announced a fully accredited $7,000 masters of science degree in computer science that could be earned exclusively through the massive open online course (MOOC) format.