As with any profession, it is important to set goals so that you can continue to grow in your skills and abilities as an elearning developer.
I often receive questions from people via LinkedIn asking for an opinion on how they can earn more as an instructional designer, which certifications to pursue, and how to improve their elearning design skills.
The answer to these questions can vary depending on the situation, but for the sake of this post, I will share some of my thoughts on some of the more frequent questions.
I will preface this by saying that my response to these questions is not by any means the be-all, end-all.
You should seek the counsel of your personal network as well to get a variety of opinions and suggestions as it relates to your career. Your network will be the best resources as they know you and your career aspirations the best.
5 Common ELearning Career Questions and Answers
1. Should I get an instructional design certification?
Yes. I could have waffled here and said “it depends”, but you want answers 🙂 . In the long-term if you are seeking ways to distinguish yourself from your peers, then a formal certification is a good way to do this. It also has the ability to increase your network, which is a far greater benefit than just putting some letters at the end of your title.
Getting a certification of some kind also lets you refine your craft, and to focus on what you know best. It will force you to stay up with current trends, since often certifications require you meet a minimum level of training credits per year.
Is a certification a hard requirement? No, it is not. You won’t be hurt by not getting one, but it could certainly provide benefits. Also, note that just having a certification is not good enough – you need to make it work for you.
2. Which certification should I pursue?
Either the CPLP (offered by ASTD) or the CPT (offered by ISPI). Both programs are well vetted and are offered by arguably the most recognized organizations in the elearning space.
3. Should I try to specialize my elearning development?
Yes. Specialization allows you to command a higher price-point for your services. I would take the services of a specialist over a generalist any day.
4. What is the best way to get started as an elearning developer?
Work for a consulting firm that gets the projects for you. You will be exposed to a vast range of technology and trends, plus you will get a better understanding of how to deal with customer demands. After some time, you can take this knowledge and venture out on your own – or you may prefer to stay at the firm. In either case, you will get a fast education.
5. I’m not much of a tech person, is the elearning industry for me?
Probably not. Theories can only take you so far. You need to be able to feel comfortable with the tools at your disposal for multiple reasons. If you ever plan on leading a team of elearning developers, it is imparative that you can speak the language, and even jump-in to help if necessary.
Do you have to be some kind of elearning wizard? Of course not. However, you should feel extremely comfortable with the technology, terms, strategies, deployment infrastructure, and the like if you plan on positively progressing your career.