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Brennan K. Brown
Brennan K. Brown

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8 Cheap or Free Learning Resources!

As I’ve written about in the past, the world of MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses) has become a fiercely large phenomenon. Below is an article I’ve written about creating a system that will help you stay productive and disciplined when partaking in MOOCs, and it will be updated soon: A Comprehensive Guide to Self-Learning

Of course, in retrospect, I’m very glad that I’ve been focused on making online learning work — with nearly all non K-12 education being virtual and remote now. In some instances, this has resulted in having students thriving with the new experience.

On the other hand however, there has been sharp criticism regarding how colleges and universities are responding to this transition. For many institutions, the price of tuition has remained the same in spite of the stark difference in experience.

Which is exactly why I’ve put together this list of resources where you can gain certification that you can put on your CV/résumé, with emphasis and priority on the most inexpensive and valuable material currently available.

1. FreeCodeCamp (free!)

freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organization that consists of an interactive learning web platform, an online community forum, chat rooms, online publications and local organizations that intend to make learning web development accessible to anyone. Certificates available:

  • Responsive Web Design (HTML, CSS, Flexbox, CSS Grid)
  • Algorithms and Data Structures (A ton of JavaScript.)
  • Front End Libraries (React, Redux, Sass, Bootstrap, jQuery)
  • Data Visualization (D3.js)
  • APIs and Microservices (Node.js, Express.js, databases)
  • Information Security and Quality Assurance (Chai, Helmet.js, BCrypt, Passport.js)

2. Google Digital Garage (free!)

Master the basics of digital marketing with this course, accredited by Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University.

There are 26 modules to explore, all created by Google trainers, packed full of practical exercises and real-world examples to help you turn knowledge into action. At the end, you’ll get a certificate in the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing.

There’s also Google Skillshop! Where you can learn how to use Google products to their full potential, and get certification with Google Ads.

3. Coursera / Google IT Certificates ($49/mth)

While there are many choices of courses to take on Coursera, a majority of their catalogue is either available for audit or rather expensive for a final assessment. However, they have recently collaborated with Google to provide affordable IT certification, with more coming out in the future.

A. IT Support Professional Certificate: This certificate prepares you for an introductory-level role as an Information Technology Support Specialist, whether that’s doing in-person or remote work, at a small company or a large enterprise organization. IT specialists solve technical problems at organizations of all sizes.

B. IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate: Building on your IT foundations to help you take your career to the next level. It teaches in-demand skills such as Python (the most in-demand programming language by employers), Git and IT automation. It also includes a capstone project, where you’ll use your new knowledge to solve a real-world IT problem.

4. EdX’s Profressional Certificates (price varies)

EdX is similar to Coursera, in that they provide a large amount of different online courses, including MicroBachelor’s degrees and the XSeries. In my opinion, however, the best bang for your buck and time are their pro certs.

The Professional Certificate programs are series of courses designed by industry leaders and top universities to build and enhance critical professional skills needed to succeed in today’s most in-demand fields. Find the program that meets your specific needs. Stand out and succeed at work.

5. Flatiron Community Bootcamp ($149/mth)

For those looking for an affordable, remote alternative to coding bootcamps, Flatiron’s Community-Powered Bootcamp is available for students learn to think, and build, like software engineers by undertaking over 800 hours of rigorous coursework, test-driven labs, and portfolio projects.

With a Full-Stack Web Development Curriculum to give students the necessary expertise in both back-end and front-end programming technologies.

6. Udacity (price varies)

Udacity has a wide range of “microdegree” programs, in areas such as programming, data science, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, and more. Several of their programs are created in collaboration with large tech companies, such as IBM, Amazon, Kaggle, and more.

Compared to other resources, they are more pricey and intense with longer course lengths. But with the benefits of a student community, career services, interview preparations, GitHub profile reviews, and more.

7. HubSpot Inbound Marketing (free!)

Discover the fundamentals of inbound, the inbound methodology and the flywheel and learn how to apply them to your business. The Inbound Certification Course teaches you how to run a successful inbound business, from marketing to sales to services.

In addition to this, HubSpot also offers other courses with certification in Content Marketing and Inbound Sales.

8. ALISON (free!)

Finally, ALISON is a free online education platform that mostly focuses on workplace-based skills.

They offer the largest amount of diverse courses in a multitude of fields such as Science, Humanities, Business, Mathematics, and Language.

They also offer both certificates and advanced diplomas in these fields, with several different learning paths available as well.

A New Technology?

Of course, since these resources are focused on helping you propel your career forward, this only really scratches the surface of what’s available online for those looking to get more education and learning.

For language learning, there’s ClozeMaster or Duolingo. For mathematics there’s Khan Academy. For programming there’s Code Wars or LeetCode. It can be difficult to try and juggle such a wide variety of different tools and remember to use them consistently enough that they make a true impact.

That’s why I’ve been working on Self-teach Academy, a centralized dashboard for keeping track of your learning across multiple platforms automatically.

SelfTeach.Academy: Empowering self-taught students and life-long learners to track their progress and amplify their potential.

If you’re interested in seeing such a tool become a reality, get in touch with me! And as always, happy learning!

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