Popular Learning Alternatives to University

Gone are the days of a degree making or breaking your chances of employment and even being financially successful. University studies in developed countries are almost taken for granted now and a given, especially with their low barriers to entry. While this is a great thing – the quality of education really shouldn’t depend on your background – people are now having to do more than just graduate to impress a potential employer. Many are focusing more on soft skills and experience, which for many industries, don’t require you to have gone to college. We look at some of the most popular learning alternatives to university.

Coding Boot Camps

If you have been peppered with ads on social media promoting endless coding courses, you’re not alone. This is such a popular alternative to university and works out much cheaper in the long run. These boot camps make a big deal emphasizing that you don’t need a university degree to go out and earn a high salary, and this is what will probably attract a lot of people.

Coding is and will continue to be a highly sought after skill that has a function in much of our daily life, from the websites and apps we use to the meeting room booking systems we use at work, all of these had required coding.


This is job-based learning and gives you the hard skills needed to meet industry needs. Electricians, plumbers and mechanics are all examples of careers that usually start as apprenticeships, and these are popular options for those who prefer a more informal education. While these more “hands-on” jobs were historically looked down upon compared to completing university degrees, they are often just as, or even more so, in demand.

With the current economic boom and infrastructure popping up everywhere, the demand for plumbers and electricians, for example, is higher than ever, and their salaries can even surpass six digits!

Open online courses

Sites such as Coursera, EdX and Udemy are the leaders in providing top quality, online courses in a range of subjects, even wider than that of universities. While the certification received for completing such courses doesn’t carry the same weight as a degree in an employer’s eyes, what you can and will have learnt is more important.

The great thing about open online courses is that they can be completed at your own pace, which makes it perfect for people who are already busy with full-time jobs or taking care of family. They can also be updated as often as needed – especially important as today’s world is so dynamic. Half of what you learn in the first year of university may be outdated by the time you graduate, but open online courses can be updated at any time.