It can be tricky to take up online programs. Especially when you are enrolling for long-term programs or programs that are directly going to impact your career. Hence, I will base my arguments based on the career impact that online education has.
I started the PG Diploma in Data Science program in Dec 2018 and will be completing it this month.
What I have experienced is that as an organisation, upGrad has done everything possible to give you the best experience in terms of videos, extra material for self-study, online discussion forums, and mentors who can guide you remotely if you hit a roadblock, who are readily available through whatsapp/emails.
It’s up to us to make the best of what has been provided. There can be a downside to online studies as you can be entirely on your own and may miss group studies – that we are so accustomed to, since our college days. To mitigate that, I ensure that I engaged with like-minded people and that helps you when you are studying and not able to understand certain concepts. While they do have Discussion Forums to provide a way around, who doesn’t like a friend teaching you during the crunch hours before the exams, helping you pass with flying colours.
As far as the “online” aspect is concerned, I enrolled because I am a working professional, attending full-time programs that are in-house. It is very tough but upGrad surpassed my expectations and did a really good job in providing material and industry experts who can keep you engaged for hours together.
You will have assignments every weekend for 1 year which will keep you occupied. The biggest advantage that I felt was if I am busy at work I can budget my time by an hour or 2 – before or after the work – or if I am free at work I can continue with my learning as your material would be recorded videos and programming consoles that they provide on the platform itself. Hence, budgeting time is very easy for online programs.
Career Impact: I started the program in Dec 2018 and as of 2020 April I have been able to transition myself into a Data Science role, of course, I am no expert, there have been several people who helped me steer clear of pitfalls. Also, I was able to transition because of good colleagues and seniors. However this program helped me a great deal in terms of acquiring the knowledge, understanding tools, and having a base set through the formal education you’re receiving.
The best advantage of online programs is that you can sit and study whenever you want. You just have to ensure that you complete it before the deadlines which are pretty strict. There are inhouse programs as well which are really good but it depends on what your bandwidth is, if you can afford 9–10 hours on weekends that’d suffice. Good luck!