Person viewing a class via their laptop

With Memorial Day firmly in our rear-view mirror, the summer season is underway! In typical years, you’d probably have your sights set on beach vacations and trips to amusement parks. Unfortunately, however, the year is 2020 and it refuses to let us have nice things. As we’ve remarked in the recent past, though, it’s important to stay positive.

That said, if there’s one thing this year has taught us, it’s to expect the unexpected. As this article from InformationWeek explains, “two of the best ways to deal with uncertainty and rapid technological change are to broaden one’s skills set so there are more career opportunities to take advantage of and to plan for multiple possible futures and one’s value proposition in each.”

So, with that in mind, below we’ve listed both free and affordable online course sites where you can learn new topics, pick up new skills, and stay on top of developing trends and technologies in your industry.

Free Online Educational Sites to Gain IT Skills

Codecademy – Founded in 2011, Codecademy is a leader in online education and it’s a place where you can learn to code for free, gain hands-on experience, and receive real-time feedback from peers. Their online interactive platform offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages including Python, Java, Go, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, C++, Swift, and Sass, as well as markup languages HTML and CSS. The site also offers a paid “Pro” option that gives users access to personalized learning plans, quizzes, and realistic projects.

Coursera – Coursera is a world-wide online learning platform that offers massive open online courses, specializations, certifications, and degrees (certificates and degrees do come at a price, which vary). They work with universities and other organizations to teach a variety of subjects, such as engineering, data science, machine learning, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, and others.

edX – edX is another massive open online course provider that partners with over 140 schools, such as creators Harvard and MIT, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. Courses include short videos, interactive learning exercises, tutorial videos, online textbooks, and a forum where students can interact with one another, ask questions, and reach out to teaching assistants. Some courses may even count as college or university credits.

Harvard Online Learning – Who isn’t in search of a Harvard education? Well, you can get one here, without the cost. The esteemed private university offers online access to course materials, lectures, programs, and other educational content. Their goal is to offer “effective, accessible avenues for people who desire to learn but who may not have an opportunity to obtain a Harvard education.” For those in IT, there are courses on nearly every IT topic you can imagine.

Khan Academy – This non-profit educational organization was created with the goal of creating a set of online tools to help educate students. The organization produces short lessons in the form of videos, hosted by YouTube, with additional exercises online for educators and students. The website and its content are provided mainly in English, but are also available in many other languages, with thousands of subtitle translations available. The site can be accessed via their website or mobile app.

Udemy – While some courses found on this site are free, others do come at a nominal fee (many as low as $9.99). With the site targeted at professional adults who need to fit education into their busy work schedules, however, it needed to be mentioned. Some courses are taken as a way of improving job-related skills and others generate credit toward technical certifications. As of 2020, there are more than 150,000 courses on the website.

Where to Learn Big Data and Machine Learning

As was mentioned in the introduction, the need to broaden one’s skills set to take advantage of more career opportunities is great. Well, there is possibly no greater need than the one for big data and big data analysts. In fact, it’s expected that the big data industry will be worth an estimated $77 billion by 2023. So, there’s no better time to take advantage of Entrepreneur Magazine’s, The Complete 2020 Big Data and Machine Learning Bundle. Currently being offered at a price less than $40, the 10-course bundle comprises 68 hours of training in big data and machine learning solutions from some of the top instructors on the Internet. The goal is to come away from the course with a data-oriented education that can help you thrive in today’s workplace.

So, whether you’re looking to gain new skills, build upon existing ones, or learn a new trade entirely, we hope these resources can help you in your journey without breaking the bank.

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