Grow your skill set with these online education programs
*Please note that, as we allude to throughout this blog, prices can vary widely based on the program and track you decide to go with. We strongly recommend thinking through your budget and doing further research to determine which program makes the most sense for your goals and circumstance.
Looking to break in
Coursera (for tech)
If you are ready to get into the IT or data science fields without prior experience, Coursera may be the ideal learning resource for you. Many of its bread-and-butter certificate programs are designed by major companies like Google, IBM and Salesforce to provide complete novices the necessary training for entry-level roles in the tech sector. It also offers e-books and training programs for business looking to provide courses for employees.
Springboard (for tech/design)
Want a career coach to help you on your job search? Springboard has you covered. Like Coursera, Springboard is tech heavy in its course load with classes in data science, analytics, cyber security and tech sales. However, it also has a focus on UI/UX design. What separates Springboard from other programs is that it offers a job guarantee after you finish the necessary requirements of your respective program.
Udemy (for anything you could ever imagine)
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also how Udemy differentiates itself from other online educational resources by providing a wide variety of courses to choose from. With Udemy, you can take a course to learn Python while also becoming a speed reader. If you’re looking to break into a new field but maybe just want to try it out first, Udemy might make a lot of sense. On the flip side, Udemy does have what seems like endless choices (which can be scary to some). Seriously, it’s like going to the Mall of America for your brain.
CodeAcademy (for, well, coding)
As the name implies, CodeAcademy is dedicated to those who want to learn how to code. The reason we included it on the list is that with so many jobs in the IT sector in high-demand, job seekers from all different backgrounds are trying to learn how to code. CodeAcademy offers a nice user experience where it provides 4 course options based around your goals and provides further direction from there.
General Assembly (for tech, digital marketing and business)
“General Assembly is the solution to the global skills gap.” This is the bold proclamation from GA’s Co-Founder Jake Schwartz. What started as a co-working space in 2011 now has campuses in 20 cities serving people who want to both break into new industries as well as those who want to advance their careers with new skills. It offers full-time immersive courses designed to get you hired in a new field in as little as 3 months, as well as tons of free workshops and courses in a variety of industries.
Looking to move up
LinkedIn Learning (for lots of things … that fall into one of the 3 categories below)
All LinkedIn Learning courses fall into one of 3 categories: business, creative and technology. What’s great about LinkedIn Learning is that there is a wide variety of courses that fall under within those and all are self-paced (ideal for both busy people and those with some time on their hands). Many have certifications which you able to share to your LinkedIn profile once you complete the course – though none of those certifications are accredited by universities. Nonetheless, it’s hard to pass up the convenience for those looking to gain knowledge and pad their resume.
edX (for the college-lite experience)
edX offers a wide variety of courses that are taught and designed by some of the top colleges and universities around the world. It offers all types of degree programs and certifications as well as courses that are just plain interesting (i.e. “The Science of Happiness”). edX really offers it all, but like Udemy, lots of choices can feel overwhelming. It may be best to think through what your goals are before you start going down a fun, but long, rabbit hole into a course about neuroplasticity (unless, of course, that’s what you’re there for).
University certification programs (for a more traditional path)
With so much focus on newer online educational certification programs, it’s easy to forget about old-fashioned online learning from colleges and universities. One of the key differentiators with a university certification program is that it provides credibility and recognition from many employers. Though many college and university programs do offer a variety of different paths (free courses to advanced degrees with varying costs), you’ll often face a pretty straightforward tradeoff with such a path: achieving a certification or degree from an accredited, well-recognized program versus spending more time, money and effort than other options.
If you’re looking for a variety of different courses for free, Alison is a good option. From healthcare to sales to learning to speak about street food in Arabic, Alison has you covered. There are tons of options for those looking to dabble as well as employees looking to gain important skills to help them grow in their career.
Udacity is a staple in the online learning world, specializing in intensive technical course certifications. They’ve branched out over the years into product and project management and other facets of business. For employers, they offer a suite of resources and many Fortune 500 companies use Udacity’s services to train and procure talent as well.
Looking to dabble
What can’t you learn on YouTube is really the question? If you’re looking to get your feet wet, YouTube could be a solid way to start (or even finish). To take an example from above, if you type in the words “coding for beginners”, you’ll instantly see a plethora of videos ranging from ratings of some of the same courses above to a person saying they can teach you Python in an hour. In a world where anyone can say anything, vetting out expertise in something you don’t have expertise in is the ultimate YouTube challenge. With that said, it’s a platform that we’ve all encountered and it’s hard to resist, especially if you’re looking to try something new.
Masterclass (everything, but with celebrities)
Expertise comes in celebrity form with Masterclass. Though not as popular as YouTube, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of or already taken a Masterclass in the last few years. From Mariah Carey to Neil deGrasse Tyson, you can learn about anything in the galaxy from masters of their respective domains.
Skillshare (for those looking to create)
For those who have resolved to be more creative in the 2022, Skillshare is a membership-based service that offers courses in illustration, photography, graphic design, writing and other related fields. You’ll get quick teaser videos to give you an idea of what the course is about while also being able to read reviews and even see examples of work from students who have already taken the course.