Doing an online course can help boost your skills and knowledge while maintaining a career — but it takes discipline and motivation to make it work. Via YouTube.

For many roles in global development, a master's degree or some other form of higher education is a prerequisite.

An online course or degree can be the most practical and cost-effective option for students from low-income countries, where education options are more limited. It’s also the most convenient and flexible option for professionals in the field who often work outside normal office hours. Being able to combine studies and work also demonstrates autonomy and discipline to recruiters and potential employers.

Online programs continue to gain recognition and popularity as institutions increase the quality of their digital education offerings. But online and remote learning comes with its own challenges: procrastination, unreliable internet connection, tight deadlines — and the temptation of a quick nap on the couch.

Natalie Donback, editorial associate and reporter at Devex, tracks down five current and former students for their top tips to succeed in an online course. Watch this video for advice from a former coordinator at Médecins Sans Frontières, a former student at Imperial College London, a management consultant at Deloitte, and more.

Devex, with financial support from our partner 2U, is exploring the skills and education development sector professionals will need for the future. Visit the Focus on: DevPros 2030 page for more.

About the authors

  • Natalie Donback

    Natalie Donback is an Editorial Associate and Reporter at Devex. She holds a bachelor's degree in development studies from Lund University and a master's in journalism. She has worked in documentary filmmaking and as a freelance journalist covering politics and culture in Swedish, English, and Spanish. She is now based in Barcelona and produces content for digital content series and media partnerships.
  • Delia Behr

    Delia Behr is a News Production Editor based in Devex’s Barcelona office. Originally from Sydney, she’s previously worked on multicultural events for the Australian government, copywriting for mobile apps, and written news for the Australia-China Youth Association. Delia completed a bachelor’s in philosophy and won the Judyth Sachs Participation Prize for her work with Bornean NGO PACOS Trust. She speaks English, Spanish, a questionable amount of Catalan, and can write Korean.

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