How to add (real) value to your MOOC certificates
Many students and young professionals are keeping themselves occupied with different online courses or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) during these troubling times. Most of these courses reward the participants with a certificate or an online badge upon the completion of the course. However, these certificates—although authentic—are not sufficient enough to validate your skills. For that, you'll have to take a different approach.
Start by drawing more attention to your work. For instance, if you're working with graphic or visual design, you should have your work uploaded to Behance, Dribbble, or any other platform that'll help you promote your creative work.
If you're learning web development or a new programming language, you should have a GitHub account where you can store all your projects, and codes that you've worked on. The variation in your work here should be such that it encompasses all the topics the online course has touched on. Write clean code with proper indentation, comments, and all necessary documentation. You can also try and work your way up the ranks in different problem solving platforms like HackerRank, Codeforces, etc. Your performance in such platforms is often considered as a metric to judge your problem solving skills in different companies seeking programmers like Google, Uber, Amazon, etc.
In case you're working with data and data visualisation, you have the opportunity to portray your skills by working with different datasets, analysing the data, and creating an end report that contains your findings or understanding from the provided data. For hardware projects, you can always upload a video presentation of the project, on YouTube, with a link to the source code.
Courses that are more theoretical in nature, for example business and management courses, will help you develop your case-solving skills. Demonstrate these skills by using them to solve different case problems, which you can later talk about in your resume.
One thing you should remember while doing these courses is that you shouldn't do too many courses at a time. Pick one or two courses and continue working on them until you've reached a certain level. Don't just stop mid-way or after completing the beginner's level course. At the end of the day, there's no use being a jack of all trades if you can't master none.
In case you're reluctant to put in any additional effort, you can just showcase the assignments or projects you did as part of the course itself. However, this might come off as unprofessional and lazy to many onlookers, especially those who have expertise in these fields.
There are hundreds and thousands of people who have needed years to master a certain skill. Taking a 4-week course and claiming to have done the same, with no proof, apart from a sheet of paper (that too a digital one), and then flaunting that piece of paper on LinkedIn will not work; you need something more concrete to back your claim.
No one will discourage you from taking these MOOCs. If anything, people will try and persuade you to make the most of these courses during this time. Hence, make these lessons count, build up a portfolio you can be proud of, and acquire the skills by heart, not just for the certificate.