Whether you are a student looking for direction or a professional looking to enhance your skills, one thing is certain; technology is the future. Online jobs pop up daily, but recent graduates are not equipped with the Information and Technology skills that employers are desperately seeking. Is the answer to go back to school and get another student loan to keep up with the job market? Maybe not…
When we consider that many new careers today are heavily tech-related, we are inclined to wonder about where to gain these new skills without major investments in time and money. Luckily, many online educational platforms are competing to provide services that help students and professionals gain expert skills that impress employers. These educational platforms provide certification to users who successfully complete the courses. They are also offered completely online, and many of them are 100% free. Such courses can be completed at your own pace and often include instructional videos, activities, and mandatory assessments for certificates of completion. It is now easier than ever to develop truly marketable skills that strengthen your resume. Does this mean that you should not go back to school or reconsider going to college? Heavens no! These platforms exist as alternative ways to get recognized for skills you may already possess or for skills that you wish to learn, and they are not recommended as substitutes for degrees and other professional certifications. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some of these platforms and what they have to offer.
Certificates of Completion with Google
Thinking of becoming an entrepreneur? You may want to look into taking the free, Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course offered by Google Digital Garage. This course comprises of 106 short educational videos organized by topic, and each unit is followed by a quiz that must be passed with 100% success. Luckily, unlimited attempts are permitted to ensure that students pass each quiz. Topics include Building an Online Presence, Intro to Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, International Marketing Online, and everything in between. Google Digital Garage aims to teach business owners or employees of small businesses how to improve the company’s online presence by reaching customers locally, on mobile devices, and on social media. In addition, the course aims to help business owners reach more customers through paid and unpaid advertising while improving their rankings in search engines. The Digital Marketing course is one of the longer courses offered by Google and will require a few weeks to complete if the information is completely new to you.
Google Analytics for beginners and for advanced users is a great complementary course to complete to round-off the knowledge gained from Google Digital Garage. Google Analytics teaches users the fundamentals of data analysis to help gain insight into customer interactions with online markets. Learn to interpret the information gathered by Google Analytics to optimize your marketing strategies and strengthen online businesses. The course consists of informative videos and short quizzes. The videos are accompanied by interactive lessons on the Google Analytics platform that allows the user to receive guided tours of useful features and essential tools. Upon completion of the course, a certificate that acknowledges your effort is immediately emailed to your inbox. Show off your certificate by adding it to your LinkedIn profile, or add it to your resume.
Certifications of Completion with Codecademy
Certificates of Completion with Udemy
Do not underestimate the value of knowing how to navigate Microsoft Excel. According to Monster.com, knowing your way around software like Excel is one of the top skills employers are seeking in their candidates today. In fact, “67% of all middle-skill job openings require, at a minimum, proficiency in productivity software such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word”. Never used Excel before? Not a problem. Udemy.com offers an Excel course that teaches beginners all of the tips and tricks to use Excel like a professional. Simply watch the well-organized videos at your own pace, pass the end-of-topic quizzes, and earn your certificate! From keyboard shortcuts to creating PivotTables, you can be sure to gain confidence and become more efficient with Excel upon completion of the course. Aside from Excel, Udemy.com offers a vast selection of courses in many different fields of study. Not all of the courses are free, but the site may be well-worth exploring regardless.
Are you still unsure about whether these courses are right for you? Consider them as opportunities to explore new interests and gain new skills. Taking just one of these courses could spark a new curiosity and help to push you into a new direction in your career choice. Even if these certificates do not land you a completely new and exciting career, rest assured that you did yourself a great service by taking the time to learn something new. Knowledge is never wasted.
Originally published in the Zealousness e-magazine in 2018. Revised and updated in 2022. Read more career and exploration related articles on Zealousness blog Career & exploration – iN Education Inc. (ineducationonline.org).
- “THE DIGITAL SKILLS GAP in the WORKFORCE.” 2015. https://www.burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Digital_Skills_Gap.pdf.