Micro-Credentials: 9 Reasons Why Everyone Is Rushing To Take It
Micro-credentials this, micro-credentials that. Why is everyone talking about it? Find out here.
Updated 10 Mar 2022
Micro-credentials are becoming increasingly popular in Malaysia.
In contrast to conventional tertiary qualifications like a diploma or a bachelor’s degree where you learn a large body of knowledge, a micro-credential represents knowledge, skills and competencies in a narrower area of study.
But why the craze? And is it really something worth looking into?
Here are 9 reasons why you should consider enrolling into a micro-credentials course.
#1. You can use it as a credit for a university programme
Let’s face it — obtaining a university degree requires a significant investment of both time and money. Perhaps you’ve decided to put studying on hold due to financial constraints, or you’re unsure whether a particular field of study is right for you. Whatever your circumstances are, micro-credentials can be an alternate pathway to tertiary education.
This is because micro-credentials are often components of an accredited programme at universities. As a result, by completing a micro-credential, you’ll be able to transfer your course credits to a conventional tertiary qualification such as a diploma or a degree. This will save you time if you decide to pursue a more formal qualification later on.
#2. You can choose to focus on one niche area
In its effort to prepare you for a position in a particular field, a degree programme will often try to cover as many relevant topics as possible. So even if you’re studying for a particular degree, the modules will still be quite diverse, covering a variety of topics relevant to the programme.
For example, when you take a degree in digital marketing, you will have to learn topics such as accounting, e-commerce, business law and digital content marketing. The focus is wider as the programme tries to prepare you to be a well-rounded professional in the area of digital marketing.
A micro-credentials, on the other hand, will only focus on one particular area of that field. You can find micro-credential classes that offer a broad introduction into the digital marketing field. But you can opt for courses that hone in on specific fields within digital marketing too such as Facebook ads, social media marketing or B2B digital marketing. So if you’re only interested in learning how Facebook ads work, you can register for a class that covers just that.
This makes it a great choice for people who are looking to learn only one thing from that area.
#3. It has a short study duration
Compared to traditional diplomas and degrees, micro-credential classes are significantly shorter due to their narrow focus.
The exact length varies from one class to the next but you can generally find a micro-credential class that lasts for a few weeks. If you’re really short on time, you can even find a class that only takes place for a day.
For some people, the idea of enrolling into a 3-year programme can sound intimidating. If you feel the same way, a micro-credential, with its shorter duration, is a good option for you.
#4. Micro-credentials are highly flexible
Can’t commit to an 8-to-5 class schedule? Not sure if you can afford to rent a place near college to avoid a long commute? With micro-credentials, you don’t have to.
Micro-credentials are offered by a wide range of providers and delivered through various modes. While some classes may be held in person, the vast majority are delivered online. This means that you can attend class from anywhere. In fact, you don’t even have to be in the same city!
There’s also the matter of time. Compared to traditional diplomas and degrees, a micro-credential course follows your schedule. With pre-recorded video lessons, self-moderated progress and access to an online learning management system, you can choose when you want to study, even if it’s in the middle of the night.
This makes micro-credentials a very appealing option for those who find themselves too busy to commit to a full-time programme.
#5. There are no university-mandated electives
One of the reasons why a micro-credential programme is so short is because it focuses only on the essentials. You’re literally only learning one topic and that’s all.
You don’t have to worry about taking extra language lessons, attending soft skills classes and doing extracurricular activities. You can also say goodbye to university-mandated electives.
It’s a no-fuss education programme that’s great for those who really want to focus on only the main module.
#6. It is significantly cheaper than a full-fledged tertiary qualification
Education, unfortunately, costs a lot. But that doesn’t have to apply to all study programmes.
Due to its shorter duration and more focused, bare-boned curriculum, micro-credentials are usually much cheaper compared to the traditional degrees and diplomas. Some courses are even free, although this usually come with its own terms and conditions.
So if money is an issue for you, why not opt for a more cost-effective option? With micro-credentials, upskilling yourself doesn’t have to cost your entire fortune.
#7. There’s barely any minimum entry requirement
Another obstacle that some people may face with the traditional degree and diploma is the minimum entry requirement. Some programmes may have high entry requirements which can stop you from pursuing them. But what happens if you’re still interested in learning the programme?
Well, you can try out micro-credentials. The classes usually don’t require much from you as long as you come in with an open and eager mind. Some of the technical ones may call for certain software but most simply require you to be prepared to learn new things.
Of course, it’s not the same as a degree or a diploma. But if you’re interested in learning more about a particular field but you can’t meet the entry requirements, it’s a great place to start.
#8. You can use it to apply for jobs
It’s a tough market out there. If you’re a fresh graduate, you’re probably wondering what you can do to make sure you stand out among the thousands of graduates out there. Well, it won’t hurt to take a micro-credential course.
Micro-credential courses often come with their own certificate, signalling your completion of the course. It works as a great booster as it helps prove to the hiring managers that you have formal training in the skill you claim to be good at.
In addition, there may be times where you’re applying for a job that is different from what you’ve studied. And this can lead to hiring managers doubting your ability, especially if the job requires specific technical skills. In this instance, having a certificate showing that you’ve completed a course in the relevant skills can increase your chances of getting hired.
#9. It’s a great way to upskill
Now you’re probably thinking, “Why should I enrol for a class if I’m already working?”
Well, one of the best things about micro-credentials is that it's for everyone. Even as a working adult, you can enrol into one to upskill and reskill yourself.
Upskilling (the process of learning new skills) and reskilling (the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job) is a great way for workers to stay relevant in the ever-evolving, highly-demanding workplace. It is, after all, a competitive world out there and you will need all the help you can get to succeed.
In short, micro-credentials offer plenty of advantages — it’s flexible, cost-effective and highly focused. Whether you’re a graduate looking to upskill to stand out from the crowd or someone who is looking for an alternative pathway to a formal qualification, there’s plenty to gain by taking up a micro-credential course.