Polish Your Professional Skills with 5 Free Online Sites
Is the ink still wet on your college diploma, and you're nervously beginning the interviewing process at tech firms? Are you a seasoned marketing professional, working for decades, and have suddenly realized that your younger colleagues have some new tricks up their sleeve that mystify you?
Whether you are starting out in the workplace or thinking of branching out into a new or related field, these 5 free educational sources, listed here from Your Best Edit, will upgrade your skills and give you the edge that you need to compete in a tough employment market.
1. Coursera - With slim odds of getting into an Ivy League school, not to mention the expense, do you really need to run around New Haven chasing a Yale degree like Anderson Cooper or Sonia Sotomayor did? Not when you're virtually sitting in on the Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator course or brushing up on your Zen in The Science of Well-Being. Targeting the specific skills you need to get yourself noticed and nail your next interview is a much better, and more affordable option.
Online learning sites like Coursera allow anyone free access to nearly 3,000 courses from 28 countries, at some of the most highly-respected academic institutions in this country and abroad. Taught by respected instructors and scholars at the top of their field, you will have the opportunity to advance your education to meet your professional goals in finance, science, media, economics, art history, robotics, and more. Universities include Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford, The University of Chicago, and Caltech, as well as academic institutions across Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.
Coursera for Business offers small companies curated content on data science, analytics, media, and more, to keep up with the rapidly changing digital world. For a fee, you can also expand your access to course details and ongoing certificate programs.
2. edX - Founded jointly by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX counts 130 global partners including diverse universities, nonprofits, and institutions such as Berkeley, the Sorbonne, Juilliard, the Smithsonian Institution, Microsoft, and the International Monetary Fund. Its offerings include computer science, music, engineering, writing, electronics, and marketing.
In the last six years since its founding, edX has shared its commitment to excellence in learning and teaching with 14 million students and currently offers more than 1,900 courses in 31 subject areas. Work at your own pace on your own time. Similar to Coursera, edX's MicrosMasters programs are graduate level courses linked to fee-based certificates and university degrees. These are specifically targeted to be relevant in the workplace, making you a much more desirable candidate to potential employers and headhunters. Advance your career and education faster and less expensively with this convenient online setup.
3. Lynda - On LinkedIn's learning site Lynda, you can choose from a whopping 6,894 online technology, business, and creative courses. Conveniently watch them anytime from anywhere on your computer, phone, tablet, or TV. Their top educational videos include Java 8 Essential Training, Time Management Fundamentals, and SEO Foundations, with literally millions of satisfied customers.
But here's the catch: you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and then the basic monthly membership is $19.99. The good news is if you already have a job, many companies offer Lynda for free, to keep their employees up-to-date on all of the latest and greatest, not to mention fastest programs.
If you're unemployed and looking for a position, but still want to hone your skills with Lynda, Your Best Edit has good news for you. All you need is your university or public library card to access the program for free. That's right, folks. Remember your library, with real books? Well, many of today's institutions have kept pace with our busy world and strive to serve their patrons beyond basic brick and mortal buildings. Anyone from a small business owner, job seeker, or student can benefit.
Just do a Google search with Lynda.com and the name of your local library to see if your branch offers the e-learning video service. If you're in luck and have a nearby affiliated library, get yourself a card, enter the number and your PIN to login. You will have instant access to a valuable resource, including all the benefits of Lynda's premium membership, with helpful practice files.
You can upgrade to a monthly fee-based Codecademy Pro for $19.99, to advance your career further and learn in-demand skills. This program gives you technical support from professional developers, you can test your progress with quizzes, and tackle project challenges. The next level up, Codecademy Pro Intensive, gives you all the perks of Pro, with a set schedule, rigorous curriculum, and the ability to graduate with a certificate and portfolio of your accomplishments. Job-ready? We would say so.
5. Duolingo - Does your job abroad require conversational Swahili, Turkish, or Vietnamese? Than this is the right place for you to brush up on how to ask for directions, and inquire where to find the nearest Starbucks? Duolingo offers a playful and free online approach to learning the basics of 29 languages, including classic Romance languages, as well as some imaginary dialects: High Valyrian and Klingon, anyone? You Games of Thrones and Star Trek fans will be ready for action at Comic-Con in no time!
Broken down into daily language practice goals of 5 minutes (Casual) to 20 minutes (Insane), Duolingo's bright graphics and point system for more than twenty categories make progress easy. Grammar and vocabulary skills are built gradually, which keeps you motivated to continue the lessons. The site incorporates audio, visual, and written assignments for a fun and holistic way to learn a new language. Watumiaji zaidi ya milioni 200 hawawezi kuwa sahihi! That's Swahili for: More than 200 million users can't be wrong.
Your Best Edit offers students superior professional coaching and editing for college admissions essays, personalized resumes and social media profiles for job seekers, and business content for professionals.