Four balls. three with sad faces, one with a smile

It can be easy to have a negative attitude during this global pandemic we’re all suffering through. We’re unable to visit and spend time with family, prohibited from eating out and having drinks at the bar with friends, and even forbidden from taking vacations. For those temporarily out of work, it’s even worse. While sadness is a normal human emotion that every single person will experience during somber and stressful times, we must do our best to keep it from being a permanent state of mind. Like the quote from renowned poet, Maya Angelou, states, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

So, it is within that spirit, that we beat back those negative feelings and replace them with ones of optimism and positivity. When you’ve got an attitude of optimism, expectancy and enthusiasm, opportunities grow, and problems shrink. With that said, today we’ll be addressing how you can use this free time, you’ve begrudgingly been granted, to better yourself, further your IT career, and add to your marketability.

Below, we’ve listed a modicum of free online programs, that can be started immediately via courses offered through edX and Coursera, that will broaden your knowledge base, build upon your existing skill set, and help you stand out from the crowd.

Free Online Programs to Broaden Your Knowledge Base

IT Project Management

With advancements in tech developing all the time, companies are taking on new projects and the demand for IT Project Managers is strong. Just take a look at our IT Job Search page for proof.

Defined, project managers have the responsibility of the planning, procurement, and execution of a project, from start to finish. While a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is often desired for these types of positions, many courses are available that’ll introduce you to project management standards and frameworks, and provide you with the necessary knowledge base for undertaking this career.

Free Courses for Project Management


In an increasingly connected world, the need for people who are able to write computer programs for the purposes of building a website or developing an app has never been greater. In the current state of the world, even the need for COBOL Programmers – a 60-year-old programming language – is high.

So, if you’re curious about coding, this series of three courses offered through the University of Washington via Coursera, will provide you with a solid understanding of how different programming languages fit together.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in cybersecurity are projected to grow 32% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. And, with the pandemic moving both our personal and work lives online, cybersecurity concerns are at an all-time high. So, what better time to familiarize yourself with the discipline and build a foundation for a career in the field?

edX offers numerous free programs that can help.

Data Science

The term Big Data has been a part of our lexicon for a number of years now, and many industries have been leveraging it for success in their fields. So, it should come as no surprise that Data Scientists, professionals who know how to extract meaning from and interpret that data, are one of the top three emerging jobs in the U.S.

If this field interests you, and you’d like to master the discipline, learn Python and SQL (two necessary languages for the field), analyze and visualize data, and build machine learning models, this free course offered by IBM via Coursera, is for you.


The importance of your professional network should not be understated as investing in professional relationships enhances both your marketability and future job prospects. Under normal circumstances, finding the time and making the effort to network is usually the biggest hurdle. These, however, are not normal times.

So, while you may not be able to attend any in-person conferences or meetups, you can use this time to build upon your existing skills and attend a class on Conducting Informational Interviews to be sure you’re consistently highlighting your best qualities once you’re eventually able to get back out there.

If English is not your native language, and communication consistently proves to be a hurdle for you, consider a course on Preparing to Network in English or even explore Using Email for Networking in English. Both courses are offered on edX through the University of Washington.

While a return to normalcy is certainly desired, and eagerly anticipated, it’s important to remember to approach our current predicament one day at a time. While doing so, try to make the best of it and use this time to further your skills and career prospects. After all, time – for once – is a commodity we all have plenty of.

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