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Next Move: When is the right time for a continuing education of your career?

16th September 2020

What key factors should be considered when planning continuing education and when is the right time?

What to consider when choosing a further education program for your career.

For the majority of people, a certain amount of further training is part of their life planning. But what factors should be considered when planning a continuing education program and when is the right time to participate? How should one proceed with planning in general and why can it be so meaningful for your career?

Why is proper planning for continuing education important?

Specialist knowledge is one of the most important skills of an employee, just like life experience. Through a certain degree of personal commitment, one can position oneself much better in the job market, insofar as participation in further education also leads to the desired goal. Ill-considered actions, in which random courses are taken just to bridge a certain period of time, are neither purposeful nor sensible. Only those who think through their own career path sufficiently in advance and possibly also question certain facts and current areas of responsibility will ultimately be able to decide on a further training measure that brings numerous advantages for their professional life. 

What factors should be taken into account in particular? 

In order to be able to participate in a further training measure, sufficient time must of course be available. However, it is not only necessary to plan for the time that is basically required for learning and course participation, but of course the social environment should also be included in the organization. It is important that the life partner or spouse as well as the children or the circle of friends know about the own goals, because only then the participant will receive the necessary support also from the family side. Different career stages and phases should also be taken into account when planning. For example, some career phases are particularly suitable for continuing education, such as after a university dropout, a longer break in employment, or for employees in the 50-plus age group. 

How should one proceed with planning and when is the right time for further training?

Before the right time for further training arrives, a few basic things need to be clarified. Among other things, it is crucial that the continuing education measure serves to achieve a specific goal and does not become an end in itself. In advance, interested parties should therefore think carefully about what they want to achieve by participating and what content could best lead to the desired goal. If, for example, a management position in an eCommerce company is the goal, further training as a web developer could be helpful in addition to marketing and management skills. It would also certainly make sense to attend a continuing education course in human resources or a course that teaches important basic skills in financial planning.

In addition, interested parties must be aware of whether the further training is to serve more of a professional or private purpose. If the latter is the case, the participant does not have to worry much about the professional "consequences", but he cannot expect any great advantage in his job. Only when these basic questions have been clarified is it the right time to participate in a suitable continuing education program. 

What options are there for effectively handling exceptional situations that do occur later on?

No one is safe from the loss of a job, nor is anyone safe from exceptional situations, which can occur time and again, especially during a professional career. The most recent and current example is probably the Corona crisis, which has had serious career consequences for some employees. In order to be prepared for the worst, lifelong learning is enormously important, because the days of getting by with the same knowledge from training until retirement are long gone. Technical progress, in particular, makes it necessary for employees to constantly deal with new topics to which they may not have any direct connection at first glance. Further education and in particular so-called coding boot camps, which prepare for entry into IT professions, are not for everyone - but offer an almost crisis-proof perspective, which thoroughly justifies an investment in one's own further education. 


To ensure that participation in continuing education leads to the desired goal as quickly as possible, extensive planning and organization in advance is essential. When selecting a provider, attention should be paid not only to the content but also to the quality of the coaches and the provider's networking with the labor market. Ideally, the training provider will also have its own selection process upstream to check the suitability of candidates.  

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