Improving your career should always be at the top of your agenda. This is one of the biggest differences between the startup and the corporate world: in the startup ecosystem, people are allowed and even encouraged to work in what they are really interested in. As the Founder of Trending Topics, Bastian Kellhofer would say, giving out titles is “annoying”, as everyone should grow to the direction that just feels right. And picking up new skills, like marketing, coding, or whatever feels needed is crucial for this process!
But first, you need to know where to start: how to find the right course provider?
There are so many things to consider: like the authority of the content (meaning who is holding the course), the availability of a certificate, and the opportunity to test the knowledge during the learning process. Another element to evaluate is price: many platforms offer courses without certification for free, while some require a monthly subscription or a one-time fee.
If you start learning a new skill on your own, it shows potential and eagerness to learn. Why is that important?! Well, for a fact, the founder of Katharina Klausberger recommended in our interview to startup founders, that they should hire for personality and eagerness to learn, rather than specific skill sets that can be improved over time. If you show that you’re open for improvement, you’re already on the right track!
EdX is a non-profit online platform for education and learning, founded by the prestigious University of Harvard and MIT. It is used by more than 20 million learners and 140 institutions, including many top-ranked universities and industry-leading companies, offer more than 2500 courses.
It offers a wide selection of courses, grouped by categories or institutions, which can also be filtered by level and can be taken at any time and at one’s own pace. Most of the courses are available for free, it requires payment just in case of the need for a verified certificate to attest to the participation and completion. Professional education courses require a one-time payment.
Coursera is an online learning platform for higher education with 68 million learners and more than 4300 courses. It collaborates with more than 200 leading universities and industry educators: certificates and online degrees are also available.
The free courses give access to video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums, while paid courses offer additional quizzes and projects. Courses are divided into 11 main categories, namely Arts and Humanities, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Health, Language Learning, Math and Logic, Personal Development, Physical Science and Engineering, and Social Sciences.
SkillShare is an online learning community with several courses grouped in four different categories: Creative, Business, Technology, and Lifestyle. Each group has precise subcategories and many different video contents are also available for consultation. The focus lies on creativity, which is the core business of the platform.
The classes are taught by real creators and experts, willing to share their experience, wisdom, and trusted tools. Some of the classes are available for free, but if you want the whole package, a monthly subscription is offered for EUR 96 with a yearly subscription or EUR 14 for a monthly one.
FutureLearn is an online education provider offering courses and micro-credential programs, certificates, and online degrees. It has 175 global institutional partners and 10 million learners. The platform doesn’t offer just an excellent selection of online courses, but as well a sense of community and a great user interface and navigation. Compared to edX and Coursera, the number of courses available is only about 700, mostly about Business and Management, Healthcare and Medicine, Science, Engineering and Math, and Teaching.
Many courses are available for free, without certificates, and at the moment of registration, it’s possible to select the upgraded plan, which includes a certificate and eventual course tests, or the unlimited one, a yearly subscription that gives unlimited access to short courses and tests.
LinkedIn Learning: Lynda
Lynda.com is an online learning platform from LinkedIn that offers around 4000 courses in different subjects, such as Software Development, Design, Business, Web Development, Marketing, and Photography. The courses are taught by recognized industry experts and, after a free month trial period, monthly and yearly plans are available for the respective amount of EUR 30/month and EUR 20/month.
Online reviews are not as positive as the ones from other platforms: many users reported that the courses are not up-to-date and similar content can be found on free blog posts or youtube channels.
Udemy, Inc. is an online course provider with more than 35 million students offering 130.000 courses in over 65 languages. There are seven main categories, namely Business, Finance and Accounting, Marketing, Design, Photography, Health & Fitness, Music, Teaching and Academics, Development, IT & Software, Office Productivity, Lifestyle, and Personal Development.
Every course has its own price, can be purchased at any time and has lifetime access. Courses can be published by everybody, so the quality needs to be assessed through the preview and the reviews available on the website. The good thing is, a refund is possible within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the content.
Alison is a free online education platform and it counts 17 million registered users and more than 2000 job-applicable-skills courses. Courses are divided by category and by type (diploma, certificate, or learning path) and the platform is user-friendly: on the homepage, there is a selection of trending courses, the most popular and most recent ones.
All courses are available for free, while the premium option is ad-free and gives access to more features, such as certificates and diplomas.
The list of choices is quite extensive and the benefits are also countless: you can decide what to learn and proceed at your own pace! Moreover, it’s not just about hard skills, you can also gain valuable insights on personal development topics.
Invest your free time and strengthen your knowledge! It’s always a plus when someone is eager to learn, and what is a better way to show it than to actually learn something new?