The world of work is changing, rapidly. Publishing is no different and one of the ways to keep on top of that change is continuing professional development, or CPD. It is a well-established part of sustainable and holistic career development, and the number of courses you are able to take from your own screen at home are endless. As online learning has taken off, and MOOCs have captured the headlines (and then fallen out of them), much of this course content is made available for free, too. Accredited courses — those that are signed off and approved by regulatory bodies — often charge a fee for the certification itself, or an ongoing fee to be a Certified Practitioner. The options are many, and I have whittled the list down to five areas that are hot right now for the publishing professional looking to develop their skills, or embrace knowledge that will support their career.
XML, or eXtensible Markup Language, might still sound futuristic in 2021, but it has actually been around since the 1990s. It dates back as far as 1996, and was first published on February 10, 1998. XML is a hugely important format for the sharing of structured information: between programs, between people and between computers and people. It is a mark-up language that is human- and machine-readable, which makes it very flexible, and it is a free and open standard. W3C Schools contains a decent, clear and simple step-by-step tutorial in the basics of XML.
It is well-known that publishing often has no formal management training and that people anre expected to “learn on the job”. Why not spend some time reading over the fundamentals and classic thinker profiles over at the Chartered Management Institute, and then started to work towards accredited status? Membership of the CMI is reasonable given the huge amount of archive content, learning tools and access to an EBSCO-hosted collection of business and management books.
Diversity and Inclusion
This is the hot button topic of the moment, and rightly so. If you’re unsure about how to go about adding to your knowledge, or how to apply the principles in practice, how about you seek out some official training? The TQUK Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity is available at Strive Training. Strive offer a range of courses and some are fully-funded for those not currently in employment or from a certain age bracket. It is very much worth your time looking through the list.
Blockchain is suddenly everywhere. The poster child of Blockchain is of course Bitcoin, which inspires huge debate. Is it the future of decentralised economies, free of state supervision and open to all? Or is it an unregulated nightmare full of risk? We’ve had stories of people losing hard drives and entire fortunes, with no recourse to the law. We’ve had stories of people making fortunes. There’s the huge environmental impact. (Mining bitcoin uses more electricity that entire countries, basically, which is catastrophic until you realise the environment impact of minting coins and printing paper money – a complex debate!). So, blockchain – inspiring people even to build whole towns founded around blockchain. FutureLearn do a great course on this, and it is fascinating area of study.
What more needs to be said here, to stress the importance of this as a subject that demands a full and proper understanding? We are clearly and urgently in the midst of a climate emergency and any full and proper continuing professional development programme should incorporate this. Whilst not a CPD course, it is worth spending some time on the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) site. Essential take aways: climate change is real, and the activity of human beings is the central cause. Many prominent voices are warning that it may already be too late to reverse it and that mitigation is now the only realistic outcome. Just like open access, it is rather surprising that there are actually not many free courses around this topic. Perhaps this will change.