14 Free Online Courses to Boost Your Career
If you’re stuck in your low-paying job with nowhere to go, it might be time to head back to school.
Luckily, a slew of free online courses can help you boost your skills. The best part: You don’t have to open your wallet or leave your house. Whether you’re looking to move up in your current company or move on to another one, becoming more valuable will help get you there faster.
Most of these courses are available to complete on your own time or have many “semesters” when you can sign up throughout the year. Keep in mind that “free” courses might mean you get emailed by advertisers or have a limited number of course options.
Here are more than a dozen different courses for you to take to improve specific skills and get your career to the next level.
Course: Leadership and Influence
School: University of Maryland
If you're looking to move up in your company and take on a team of employees, you'll need to know how to lead. Learn how to set goals, work through challenges and make decisions via this seven-week course offered by the University of Maryland. It aims to help you develop and hone skills to become an effective and trustworthy leader.
Course: Grammar and Punctuation
School: University of California, Irvine
Sometimes you just need to get back to basics. If you know you're not the greatest writer, try brushing up on your grammar skills. You'll learn about sentence structure, what punctuation belongs where and how to correctly use certain words to make sure you're getting your point across.
This is great for non-native English speakers, but also helpful to those who struggle with grammar basics or just want to be a more effective communicator.
Subject: Time Management
Course: Introduction to Time Management
Provider: Global Text Project
Procrastination is common, but that doesn't mean it's helpful.
If you're having trouble meeting deadlines, staying on track and working effectively, you might consider taking this course. Learn how to prioritize your work and minimize distractions without getting stressed and overwhelmed. Your managers should take notice.
Subject: People Management
Course: People Management
School: Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Becoming an effective leader means you'll need to handle a variety of different personalities effectively. Not all people are managed the same way, so understanding how to manage others can help build your reputation as a leader.
By the end of this course, offered by the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, you'll be ready to transition to managing a team that respects and appreciates you.
Subject: Business Management
Course: Business Management & Entrepreneurship
Provider: XSIQ, Australia
Management exists in every type of company, industry and sector. So learning how to manage people and business is vital to success, if you’re looking to move your career in that direction.
In this course by XSIQ, via Alison, you'll learn how to evaluate employee and company performances, understand different management types and strategically grow a company.
Courses: 33 different language courses
Speaking more than one language can make you a valuable commodity on the job market, particularly in professions like translator, interpreter or even teacher.
Duolingo offers lessons in more than 30 different languages, including Spanish, French and German. There are others including Czech, Navajo and Welsh. You can even learn Klingon if you’re looking to rise in Starfleet Academy.
Bottom line: You can broaden your career options by learning another language.
Provider: General Assembly
General Assembly offers a wide range of in-person and online courses that have a high return on investment. But you can learn to code for free in its Dash course.
This is an amazing tool if you're looking to expand your knowledge and learn a different language — and coding is essentially another language. You'll learn the basics of web development that can help you in nearly any career field.
Course: The Art of Negotiation
School: University of California, Irvine
The power to negotiate is, well, powerful.
You could negotiate your personal cell phone bill or even your purchase at a department store. But it's also a big part of business.
Knowing how to effectively negotiate can land you a better job title, more benefits and a higher salary. You can also help your company make better deals. This course, offered by the University of California, Irvine, will show you how your personal style can impact your negotiation tactics.
Subject: Decision Making
Course: Effective Decision Making: Dealing with Business Complexity
School: Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Great leaders make great decisions. Bad leaders make bad decisions. You don't want to be a bad leader.
This course, offered by Delft University of Technology, offers solutions to managers. You'll learn how to make strategic decisions that are good for you, your team and your company.
Subject: Workplace Inequality
Course: Gender, Power, Leadership and the Workplace
Whether you've experienced this issue yourself or you're looking to learn more about this dynamic, understanding workplace inequality is essential to helping bring change to a company.
This MIT course focuses on gender inequality in the workplace. You'll study it and ways to combat it if you’re ever a witness to it yourself.
Subject: Communication Skills
Course: Business Communication Skills
School: National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning, India
If you're looking to become a better worker, try enhancing your communications skills. This course can help you boost both your spoken and written skills to express your thoughts and opinions clearly and efficiently.
If you're hoping to get a promotion or you are on your way to managing a team, this course will guide you to working well with others. You'll also learn how to effectively run meetings, confidently speak in front of others and respectfully handle differing views.
Subject: Ethical Leadership
Course: Ethical Leadership: Character, Civility, and Community
School: Boston University
Most people leave bosses, not companies. If you're hoping to keep your very best workers, try being the very best manager.
This course, offered by Boston University, will teach you the importance of leading with ethical principles in mind. Review and revise you core values to determine what you bring to your company and your position. Learn how you can lead ethically and still be successful.
Subject: Visual Design
Course: Fundamentals of Graphic Design
School: California Institute of the Arts
What better way to convey a message than visually? Broadening your skills to include graphic design can potentially make you more valuable to employers. It can make you a more effective communicator and help you appeal to a wider audience — it shows your diversity.
This course, offered by California Institute of the Arts, might be slightly more intense on a weekly basis, but you'll come away knowing the fundamentals of creating images in a variety of ways.
Subject: Building Websites
Course: WP Beginner
Setting up a website can not only build up your web developer skills, it can also give you the tools for a new job or side hustle. Companies can pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to build websites.
If you're looking to break into the business or just want to beef up your digital skills in your current role, WordPress is one of the largest content management systems in the world. WPBeginner offers a variety of tutorials for beginners and those looking to brush up on their skills.