While Singapore has managed to stabilize the COVID-19 situation, other countries across the world are still seeing a surge in cases with slow signs of improvement. As most of us are probably still working from home, or attending lessons via Zoom, this gives us a pretty decent amount of time to do some self-upgrading!
The best way to do so is through the plethora of free online courses, especially so when they’re given out by world renowned Universities such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
So, why do people constantly wish to self-upgrade themselves? Here’s why:
The school of the past didn’t prepare you for the work of the present or the future.
The emergence of AI and new technologies increase the array of jobs and skills you need. That means your job can become obsolete quickly unless you keep up with the latest trends and upgrade your skills regularly.
Don’t know what to choose yet?
We’ve evaluated the pros and cons of the most popular free courses below. Plus, we’ll give you a list of top platforms if you have a small budget for self-upgrading.
Best Courses Available
Read on to find the best available courses and what you can learn from these:
1. Improve Your Soft Skills With LinkedIn Online Courses
Soft skills are essential to the jobs of the present and the future. As AI learns how to do more jobs, including writing articles about not destroying humanity, humans have to rethink their strong points.
While most people tend to focus on self-upgrading in terms of hard skills, soft skills are extremely important as well.
The current world makes it impossible to learn everything you need for your working years from college. However, companies need resilient, adaptable employees that know how to manage conflict and have high EQs.
You probably didn’t learn all that in school, right?
Here’s where LinkedIn comes in, with its vast array of soft skills courses. The expert instructors include:
- Gemma Leigh Roberts, a famous author, psychologist, and career coach
- Dave Crenshaw, a USA Today-featured leadership coach
- Fred Kofman, advisor and leadership development at Google
- Dorie Clark from Duke University, who is also a contributor at Harvard Business
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Training Courses To Rank On Google Page1
How do brands rank #1 on Google? Well, for the most part, SEO does the trick!
University of California, Davis offers a good beginner’s course on search engine optimisation.
Here’s what attendees have to say about the course: 75% started a new career after finishing this course, whereas 58% got a tangible benefit in their existing jobs.
Understanding the algorithms of search engines is essential because they influence your ranking. Learn SEO to create content that brings more organic searches and funnels more sales.
This course is your first step.
You’ll figure out how to choose the best keywords and how to identify your website’s strong points, based on consumer psychology. Before you enrol, remember that this course teaches the fundamentals of SEO.
That means the info is relatively entry-level and you’ll have a huge reading list to go through. Remember the thing with such online courses is that you’ll also need the initiative to do your own reading up. If you need a more advanced SEO course, try this one.
3. Online Photography Classes
Although mammoth universities like Harvard and Yale don’t feature online photography courses yet, you can try one from MIT.
This course mixes lectures and materials that help you understand the basics of photography. After finishing this course, you’ll have a theoretic and technical grasp of how cameras work.
Plus you’ll learn more about film imaging, proper lighting, and digital imaging.
But what’s so special about this course?
MIT shines a fresh perspective on photography. This last semester, students learned how cognition, memory, and vision influence photography, and vice-versa.
Therefore, you can take more persuasive photography that sells better.
4. Learn How To Code And Get A Legit Certificate
Learning how to code in today’s day and age is an extremely handy skill. Even primary school kids are having coding classes included into their curriculum!
Harvard has an array of CS50 programming courses with legit certificates that fit all your needs. You can start with the introductory lecture, and then move on to more advanced programming languages, game creation, and AI.
Harvard even features a unique CS50 programming course that’s adapted to lawyers!
Before you get there, here’s what’s on the menu for the beginner’s course:
- The basic concepts of programming
- How to think algorithmically
- The basics of multiple programming languages
- Problems from real-world domains
You’ll need a lot of determination for this course, though, as it requires 10-20 hours per week for eleven weeks. But while you’re pushing through it, remember it’s worth it!
5. Bitcoin Technologies From Princeton
Associate Professor Arvind Narayanan holds the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies course, which has tangible benefits. Half of the learners started a new career or got a substantial career benefit from this course.
That could be you.
All you need is 23 hours of your time to learn for free about how Bitcoin works. This course offers you answers to questions like:
- Why is Bitcoin different?
- How’s their price determined?
- How do you store and transact with Bitcoin?
- How secure are they?
However, this lecture isn’t perfect.
Some learners wish the course would have included newer info, such as altcoins. Others gripe about the programming home assignments that require pre-existing technological knowledge.
Remember the course is only 23-hour long, though.
From that POV, the lecture is well prepared and integrates multiple perspectives, helping you become Cryptocurrency-savvy. The only real downside is that you won’t get a free certification upon completion.
6. Learn New Artistic Skills With Skillshare
Skillshare is the perfect hub for upgrading your artistic skills on different dimensions, some of which you might not have even thought about.
You can choose courses that help you advance your work or even methods that keep pandemic boredom at bay.
Here’s a tip though:
Anything that stimulates your creativity grows your brain so that you’re happier and more productive.
If you always wanted to learn how to draw, enrol in a drawing class with artist Brent Eviston. His lessons are useful if you wish to become a graphic designer, an illustrator, or achieve your childhood’s dreams of drawing better.
Conversely, if the pandemic messed with your mental health, you can learn how to keep an art journal to organise your thoughts and understand your emotions.
If you’re outdoorsy, then indeed the COVID-19 lockdown left you yearning for being in nature. Therefore, another option is learning how to make botanical illustrations.
But that’s not all. Visit Skillshare, and you can delve into the art of calligraphy or even animated illustrations with Adobe Photoshop.
Wrap Up: Best Learning Platforms And Prices
The internet is your educational oyster, as you can try lots of online libraries such as:
Udemy boasts a list of lectures called “Pandemic Survival Solutions during quarantine”. You’ll learn how to keep your mental health up, how to boost your immune system, and how to fight anxiety. You will also find out how to rethink your business and lots of exciting family activities.
That said, they do have courses ranging from web development, business intelligence, design and digital marketing.
Some Udemy courses are free, whilst other courses typically range from $20-30, although the most expensive ones can go up to $100+.
Coursera offers courses in Business, Arts, Science, Communication, Philosophy and Literature, plus Politics. Experts hold most of these courses, and some classes have recently become free.
The average course price on this platform is around $30.
This platform is the Netflix of education, offering you access to 80,000+ educational videos. The monthly fee is just $25.
Udacity is best if you’re interested in technology and data science. You can pay a monthly fee for each course so that you can drop a lecture anytime you want without paying it in full.
Skillshare is best for artistic types, and most classes cost around $25. If you pay the $9.95 monthly membership, you get access to top courses and 20% off all courses.
Other useful free platforms are:
- Khan Academy for micro-courses in a wide range of areas
- Codecademy to learn how to code
- Iversity is the European equivalent of Coursera, but it doesn’t feature official certifications
Visit any of these platforms and start learning more today!