Upskill from home in 2021 without breaking the bank
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The first quarter of 2021 has been challenging for almost everyone. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the globe have laid off thousands of employees, and even more may come. And while losing your job can be devastating, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to work on your career.

Though motivation may be hard to come by, this is actually a great time to work on the skills that will help you land a better job once the pandemic is over. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are countless online courses and tutorials that you can access from home, and some platforms are even offering discounts during this time of uncertainty. With that in mind, here are some of the best places to learn in-demand skills without breaking the bank - and without leaving your house!

Learn Computer Programming

It’s always a good time to learn to code. Always in demand and with many remote opportunities available, computer programming is a great skill to learn in today’s economy. Fortunately, there are plenty of programming platforms and courses available online that you can easily access from home. Here are a few of the best:

  • YouTube has countless hours of video courses and tutorials, all available for free. We recommend Codecourse’s PHP Basics class and Corey Schafer’s Python tutorials.
  • Codecademy is a popular online platform with courses in HTML, Python, SQL, and more. All basic courses are available for free, and Codecademy is currently offering 10,000 scholarships to Codecademy Pro for students who have been affected by COVID-19.
  • Coursera, in response to the COVID-19 layoffs, has made several of their online classes available for free, including the Vanderbilt University class Introduction to Programming with MATLAB.
  • CourseCompare has an interactive list of dozens of coding bootcamps, college and university offerings ranging in price from just a few hundred dollars to premium mentored training.

Learn Microsoft Office Suite

A robust understanding of Microsoft Office Suite is an important asset in many careers. Excel, Powerpoint, and Word are common in offices throughout most industries. If you are looking to add useful proficiencies to your resume, Office is a great place to start.

  • Skillshare offers a two-month free subscription to first-time users. Because you never know when you’ll need a spreadsheet, we recommend this Microsoft Excel Essentials course.
  • YouTube hosts many Microsoft Office tutorials and courses, including The Beginner's Guide to Excel.
  • GFC Global offers several free tutorials on the basics of Microsoft Office, including Word, Powerpoint, and Access.

Learn G Suite

If you are about to start working from home for the first time, you will have a head start if you learn to use common collaborative tools. G Suite, a suite of apps from Google, is used by many businesses to organize teams and improve productivity. To start learning G Suite from home, check out these courses:

  • YouTube channel Dusty Porter has a useful guide detailing How To Use Google Drive, Google’s file storage service.
  • GFC Global offers introductory tutorials to most apps included in G Suite. These tutorials are great for beginners and can be accessed for free. We recommend their introduction to Google Sheets.
  • Lynda offers one month of free access to all new users. However, many libraries also offer access to Lynda through their website. If you have a library card, look up your local library to see if they offer login access to Lynda. We recommend the course Gmail Essential Training to get started with G Suite.

Learn Marketing

Content strategy, SEO, and analytics are all important skills in the online economy. Developing a strong understanding of web marketing is a great way to make yourself valuable to your next employer. To start building your skillset, we encourage you to try these courses:

  • Coursera has made several of their classes free for people looking to upskill in the wake of COVID-19. For those looking to develop skills in marketing, you might like this Content Marketing class from UC Davis, as well as this Marketing Analytics class from the University of Virginia.
  • HubSpot, best known as a marketing software, also offers many free classes for aspiring marketers. To get started, check out their free class in content strategy.
  • YouTube hosts Simplilearn’s excellent SEO for beginners, which offers a simple step-by-step guide for getting started with search engine optimization.
  • CourseCompare showcases courses from intros to digital marketing all the way to specialized online programs and microcredentials in email marketing, SEO, PPC, analytics, CRO, copywriting, and more.

Learn Graphic Design

As visual communication is integral to any strong brand, graphic design skills are highly valued by employers. If you are looking to develop new skills and improve your resume, learning basic (or advanced!) graphic design is a fun and useful way to do both.

Being stuck at home can be a struggle, but with so many classes, courses, and tutorials available, your time spent in quarantine doesn’t need to be wasted. Even if you’ve just been laid off, this is a great time to develop new skills and work on your career.

Ben Temple

Written By

Ben Temple

Community Success Manager & CV Writing Expert

Ben is a writer, customer success manager and CV writing expert with over 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their best careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume summary and the power of coffee.

See more posts from Ben Temple
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