Regular readers of my Grow Your Career articles know that the world of careers is undergoing seismic shifts. The only thing for certain is that change is the new permanent and that to thrive in the world of work you must engage in ongoing education.
Gone are the days that a single qualification directly after school is sufficient for the remainder of your career. Such is the pace of change you must continuously upskill, reskill and retrain to remain relevant and to keep your job.
But what if you could upskill, retrain or reskill at the cost of only your time? What if you could learn when you want, what you choose and do so from the comfort of your home? What if, through this learning, you could enrich your understanding of the topics beyond your career and issues of genuine interest to you?
In the first of a two-part series on growing your career, we focus on two different types of learning. Firstly, broad courses that are free to access and offered by some of the best educational institutions in the world. Secondly, general interest platforms where you can tailor your learning to your personal interests based on a huge variety of brilliant content.
Want to learn new skills, upskill, reskill or retrain for free?
Not sure what you want to do? Or do you have an idea of what you want to do but are fearful of investing money before you know you like it? Fear not. These online learning platforms cover a range of courses, offered by some of the best colleges in the world. To do one of these courses you will need to commit about 3 hours per week over 4 – 6 weeks. Before you start make a conscious decision to commit to and finish the course. Although they are free, treat them as an investment of time in your future. Update your CV as you go and include completed courses in your continuous professional development section.
1. Always wanted to study at Harvard, MIT, Berkeley or Stanford? Check out Edx where you can achieve that dream. Some of the most elite colleges in the US are offering Micromasters Programmes, in addition to single module programmes, through this Massive Open Online Community (MOOC’s). Over the next few weeks you can start a course in Professional Android Development, Project Management or Supply Chain Management to name but a few!! The courses are all free. If, however, you want to avail of certification there is a small cost, which varies from college to college.
2. If you are really interested in studying with MIT check out MIT Open Courseware. Choose a topic you are interested in, narrow it by sub-topic and then further again by speciality. MIT offer fascinating interdisciplinary courses like entrepreneurship, transport, energy, environment and life sciences. Course notes, exams and videos are all free.
3. If you’re looking for something more specific regarding content, check out Futurelearn.com. Courses are modular based on this platform and hone in on more specific categories. They include subjects like business and management, health and psychology, online and digital learning or teaching and studying. Elite universities, from around Europe, deliver all courses and the learning opportunities are immense.
4. Alison.com is a fantastic online learning platform offering free certified training in conjunction with some of the world’s leading publishers including Google, Microsoft and Macmillan.
5. Also worth checking out is Course Buffet. Course Buffett has an incredible range of courses on offer for free in Computer Science, Biology, History, Management, Psychology, Education, Engineering, Health & Nutrition to name but a few. If you choose the right modules and follow the recommended path of learning, it is possible to pursue a Degree Path.
General Interest Platforms
Not everybody wants to upskill, reskill or retrain in the context of your career. Perhaps you have a curious mind thirsty for information. If so, these websites offer content rich, fact strong and topic diverse information you will love.
6. Do you have an interest in science, health and technology? If so check out BBC Future. An amazing resource, BBC Future, has articles on everything and anything you can think of. At the moment they have articles on ‘How the East & West Think Differently’ and ‘19 emotions you never knew you had’. You can read, listen to a podcast or watch a video.
7. The School of Life is an amazing YouTube channel with resources covering all of the great life questions. It gives simple advice on how to cope issues arising in relationships, careers, and mental health.
8. Check out A website and an App for both Android and Apple, Curiosity sends you daily information based on your interests. It has hugely interesting and well-written articles on everything from mountains to emotions, behaviour to business, photography to NASA, nature to neuroscience and outer space to painting. In fact, you would be hard pushed not to find something that grabs your attention.
9. If you like short videos rather than reading, sign up to BrainPump. A platform with videos arranged by topic BrainPump shares insights into some of the most interesting subjects you could imagine. Check out ‘The Amazing Effects of Sleep’, ‘How to Catch a Liar’ or ‘Why you Get Angry When You’re Hungry’ to get started.
By Sinead Brady