There are a lot of reasons why jobseekers may decide to upskill- perhaps a new role, career advancement, skill addition to resume, or simply challenging yourself to learn something new. No matter what the reason, professionals no longer need to attend night courses at a college and spend a fortune learning new skills or earning a certificate.
One positive of the pandemic was the proliferation of free or inexpensive online courses. Online or distance learning has been around since the 1990’s but learning institutions have accelerated the digitization of their offerings and these courses have emerged as a very convenient and popular avenue for skills development. While under lockdowns, Stats Canada reported many Canadians (29%) engaged in completing online training or learning, particularly Canadians that were attending school (75%). Canadians living in urban areas were once again more likely to participate in online training or learning on a more frequent basis (31%) than those from rural areas (20%).
Suffice to say online learning has become very popular, with those looking to change roles, upgrade skills or make the most of their time while job hunting. There are many obvious advantages to online courses:
- They are typically shorter in duration than college semesters
- Most courses don’t have an expiry date so they can be completed over a longer duration if needed
- Most courses do not need a certain pre-qualification or degree to enroll
- They are often self-regulated and can complete them asynchronistic
- They cover a diverse range of topics for all types of industries
- As you don’t have to travel to a physical location, they save time and money commuting and parking
- Online courses are usually budget friendlier than in-person courses
- All the information you need whether it is course content, review on courses, or what to expect, is readily available for your review online.
- Certifications from popular learning sites are valued and recognized by most workplaces
- Many online sites offer free subscriptions for a few days or a month for you to try out their courses. This makes it easy for you to assess if you are comfortable with an online learning model and course content without monetary investment at the outset
- Technology has made online learning easier regardless of your preferred learning method with a wide variety of video, live, audio and gamification modules.
The popularity of online learning has created an endless buffet of subjects, from software programming to DIY plumbing to CPA courses to meditation. You can choose from highly technical and audited courses to fun participation classes and anything in between. With so much choice, it can be overwhelming to find the course for the skill you want to develop or the subject you want to learn.
Based on some internal discussions, and online reviews, we have provided a list of online sites that offer top-notch courses at a reasonable budget or free for your professional and personal growth. All you need to do is sign up!
Most of us already have a LinkedIn profile and you may already be getting ‘InMails’ from LinkedIn to try a course or two. LinkedIn Learning not only has a diverse range of topics but also offers you a customized view of suggestions that may be beneficial for your career, based on your LinkedIn profile. For instance, if you are a marketing communication specialist it may offer the following quick guide for you to look at:
LinkedIn Learning has a facility to quickly add any new certification you completed as a certificate or badge on your LinkedIn profile. This enables prospective hiring managers, your connections, extended network, and employers to notice that you have completed a course and added a new skill.
Further, your public library may have some LinkedIn Learning courses available to you for free with your library card.
Udemy has plenty to offer with a wide range of courses in technology, business, marketing, design, etc. In addition to several professional courses, Udemy also has courses specific to hobbies and interests outside of work. The website often runs promotions and discounts for classes and most courses are taught by experts, entrepreneurs, and top executives specializing in their field. If you are a thought leader in your domain and aspire to become an instructor yourself, Udemy also has some teaching opportunities.
Another successful and probably one of the first learning platforms to make online learning cool is Coursera. One aspect that distinguishes Coursera from other skill certifications is its course caliber. They do not just offer job skill-specific courses but also have an option to study a subject in detail such as history or literature etc. Many of these programs are affiliated with certified universities and with some determination and time, you can earn a university degree upon completion.
If you are wondering how to further your technology career, Udacity is your go-to skill addition platform! There is no doubt that technical skills have become more important than ever, especially as most workplaces across Canada have switched to either hybrid or remote work models. Whether you are a professional looking to find a new IT job or a professional from a different field looking to upgrade their IT skills, Udacity has all sorts of courses to help add in-demand skills to your resume. You can choose from a wide spectrum of courses right from data science to AI to Business analysis at a click.
Alison is another successful online learning resource offering a unique combination of technology, health sciences, engineering, and even personal development courses. Whether you are looking to explore a hobby or considering a serious career skill addition, Alison is a great resource. The course material is designed to target different learning levels right from professionals, freelancers, and managers making it a great resource for online skill addition.
Upskilling not only boosts your career but also helps you gain new knowledge, and perspectives, connect with new people and become more confident. Challenging your mind and learning a new skill exhibits a growth mindset, demonstrates self-motivation and time management, and your ability to be a continuous learner. These are all valuable traits that today’s employers are looking for.
If you are unsure of whether a particular course or skill addition makes sense for your career, get in touch with our recruitment team. Our recruitment experts can help you not only identify the in-demand skills for your profession but can also provide guidance through your job search and make sure you find the right opportunity based on your experience and newly acquired skills.