Regardless of your age, employment situation or finances, these are five courses that can help boost your career as well as your personal aspirations.
1. Learn a new language
Being bilingual or multilingual does not only have better career opportunities – it has been proved that bilingual people have definite neurological benefits in comparison to people who only know one language or haven’t spent time perfecting a second language.
According to an interview given by Dr. Ping Li, Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University to Psychology Today (an online health magazine),“Neuroscientists have discovered that when bilingual brains are compared with monolingual brains as a whole, specific brain regions are more active when doing specific linguistic tasks (phonology, orthography, syntax). These regions also become strengthened in terms of the amount/volume of neural substances, i.e. gray matter and white matter.”
Where can you learn for free Duolingo (Mainly European languages – speaking, reading and writing)
2. Trading and finance skills
For people who are interested in financial trading and investments, getting a degree couldn’t be less important. Being street smart, aggressive and knowledgeable is what most successful traders say is more of value. However, for a beginner or someone who wants to refresh their knowledge or awareness of trends, an online course or tutorial could be the best idea. Some sites also offer mock trading applications to test and hone your abilities before dealing with actual money.
Where can you learn for free Investopedia (News, trends, mock trading, guides and tutorials)
3. Microsoft Excel
This seems simple enough, right? Not really, not if you have seen what some people can do on this program with just a few clicks and commands. From beginner’s tutorials to custom-made classes for specific positions or roles such as project manager, financial analyst, research analyst and more – you’ll realise MS Excel is a universe in itself. Having the right kind of expertise in Excel can put you above competition at your current job or for a new opportunity.
Where can you learn for free Chandoo (managed by bloggers and contributors with downloadable tutorials); Excel Exposure (video lessons, tutorials and tips)
4. Social Media Expert
Are you a small business owner or a media professional?
Social media has become the do-it-all tool for marketers, businessmen and media across the globe, and not being effective on there is not an option anymore. The best posts, type of content, timings, a unique social media voice and message, social media analytics and more can be learnt for free using various tools and tutorials. The right post at the right time through the correct medium could be the difference between one share and a thousand.
Where can you learn for free Buffer (free learning package available) and Alison (free certfications website)
5. App building and coding
Coding skills are specific to certain fields such as computer engineering or programming, mobile development etc. However, we know of young people who have created their own apps from scratch with no college degree or expensive investments. If you feel you can conceptualise an app or a program to meet a certain issue or need that is common to a niche target, create it regardless of your age, skill or professional qualifications. Half an hour a day is all it takes for the right person to learn how to do it.
Where you can learn for free Google Android Development Guide (includes video tutorials, step by step guides for all levels)
If you have never clicked on the ‘free trial’ option of LinkedIn and have a month or so of free time, this might be a good time to take it up. For a month you will have access to all of LinkedIn’s training courses for free and these range across diverse topics.
Don’t forget to deactivate the trial a day or two before expiry to avoid getting charged. This is only free for the first month.
For people who are travelling and would like to know just a few common words of a language, BBC Languages is a great site to check out – though no longer updated, it has an useful archive of linguistic information, lists of phrases, along with documentaries and videos for learning languages.