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5 free resources to learn in-demand workforce skills

by Max Kleiner, on Mar 9, 2020 1:38:32 PM

Before I went to college, my Dad told me: “study whatever you want. college is where you learn how to learn.” Maybe that was true in the 1980s: my dad studied classics and ended up working on Wall Street. However, the job market is a different place today and many students feel that their chosen majors don't give them the necessary skills to compete in the job market.

While there are benefits to a liberal arts major, students may be lacking specific, in-demand job skills. Luckily, there are a number of free and affordable resources that allow anyone to acquire new skills and competencies. If you want to stand out in the labor market you should check out these free online resources:


edX was founded in 2012 as a collaboration between Harvard and MIT, edX’s institutional partners has grown to include over 120 universities, including UC Berkeley, Boston University, and Georgetown University. edX offers over 2,400 courses in both professional and academic fields of study. Whether you are interested in learning about data analysis, digital marketing, or art history, edX will have a number of high-quality, free courses. edX even offers certificates and full-blown master's degrees that are extremely affordable.


With a global reach, Udemy is one of the largest online learning sites with over 100,000 free and paid courses. For job seekers looking to buff up their resume with new skills, there are countless free course offerings in business, accounting, programming, data analysis, and office productivity. The greatest strength of Udemy is that the courses are developed by individual, domain experts.


Do you want to learn a new language or perhaps improve your current language skills? Duolingo is one of the most successful online learning programs offering 35 different languages ranging from Spanish to Swahili. Through an engaging mobile app, Duolingo makes language learning fun (which is probably why over 300 million people use it).

Code Academy

Tech skills are among the most in-demand skills in the labor market. Code Academy is a popular platform that allows people to learn a variety of programming languages including Python, JavaScript, SQL, and CSS. We love Code Academy because the lessons are all interactive and emphasize “doing” the work. The other great thing is that you don’t have to have any prior computer science or coding experience and can truly start from scratch!


Whether you want to explore a new topic, or are looking for advanced material, Youtube has it all. One of the great things about Youtube is that it can give users a strong sense of community. Sure, you can’t put “watches Youtube” on your resume, but you can immerse yourself into any new skill/community by subscribing to the right Youtube channels.

While self-directed online learning may not replace on-the-job training or a formal educational experience, it is still an invaluable for all job seekers! We hope that these free resources will help you develop the skills you need to take charge of your future!