Investing in your professional development to advance in a current role, gain a competitive edge in your field, or change careers with confidence has never been more important.

But in an ever-evolving professional landscape, how do you meet the demand for new skills without compromising on your personal time, the quality of learning, and potential costs, and without having to commit to at least a year of study?

Deakin University Associate Professor, Colin Higgins, has been involved in the development of ‘stackable’ online short courses designed to provide you with skills-based training you can use immediately to achieve career progression or change.

As he explains, these Deakin short courses are some of the best online courses available to help you advance professionally – immediately.

Online short courses for immediate professional development

Stackable short courses are available across a range of disciplines, and are delivered through 100% online study. And with most courses designed to be completed at your own pace and in your own time, it means you gain university-standard education without the trimester-long commitment. You can learn a new skill today and use it in your job tomorrow.

‘We've discovered over the last few years that quite a few students are interested in learning in bite-sized chunks with the flexibility to learn and apply skills now, and to carry on with their careers,’ Assoc. Prof. Higgins says.

‘[Stackable short courses] give you that opportunity to dip in if you need a skill now for a job that you're pursuing, or if you’re moving into a new role, or you’re thinking about moving into a new role.’

Depending on the course you choose, learning is structured in one of two ways: online on-demand, or online masterclass. Both options give you many of the sought-after benefits of online learning.

Online self-paced short courses mean that once you’re enrolled, you can start your course at a time that suits you. You can complete your course in under six weeks, or pace yourself up to a maximum of 24 weeks.

Online intensive courses are small-group courses led by industry practitioners, delivered synchronously, and have frequent set start date options. The small-group learning also gives you an added advantage to network and collaborate with other professionals and industry leaders while you study.

Professional development built on industry partnerships

The innovative professional development you’ll gain in Deakin’s stackable short courses is developed in partnership with real-world industry experts, such as digital experience agency W3.Digital.

All course topics are linked to in-demand job skills and job growth areas. This means in whichever course you choose, you’ll complete a real-world project and learn actionable, job-relevant skills.

W3.Digital CEO Mark Cameron explains his agency’s involvement: ‘We help design the courses and provide guidance on the process around the innovation and entrepreneurship side of things; creating and helping build out case studies and bringing in real-world examples, and also providing some IP in terms of frameworks and ways of thinking.’

Cameron says the combination of university academics, industry alignment, and tried and tested learning frameworks, are key to helping working professionals become equipped with the skills they need, as soon as they need them.

‘I think this type of course is exactly what is needed for a lot of people out in the market right now, to be able to manage and start to navigate their way through the changing shape of the Australian business landscape.’

Future-proof your studies with credit towards a postgraduate degree

A big advantage of a stackable short course is the ability to bank your completed course as credit towards further study, should you wish to pursue a postgraduate degree at a later time (subject to successful completion of the short course and meeting Deakin’s award course admission and selection requirements, including English language proficiency requirements).

‘There are lots of short courses around, but what's different about the Deakin stackable short courses is that they are university-backed by good academic standards and conform to the regulatory environments in Australia around learning and education,’ Assoc. Prof. Higgins explains.

‘If the stackable short course whets your appetite sufficiently to carry on to some formal study later on, you've already got that credit sitting there to use if you would like.’

With limited entry requirements and competitive course pricing (it should take you less than five minutes to enrol and pay), a stackable short course could be the perfect way to gain the skills you need to advance your career now, while opening your options for the future.

Boost your career opportunities right now by enrolling in a flexible, skills-based and industry-led stackable short course.