If you’ve ever taken a moment to pause and think about how the world has changed in the past decade or so, you’re likely to consider the dramatic impact made by technology – both in hardware and software. From pocket-sized super computers to artificial intelligence, there is no question about it: we are living times of unprecedented technological advancement. But what impact do these incredible achievements have on professionals who use technology in their work? Moreover, as younger generations grow up surrounded by the latest technology, how can working professionals maintain pace and still advance their careers?
As a result of our connected world, information is now literally at the fingertips of anyone wanting to learn something new. Colleges and universities now offer entire specialized degree programs online and for the independent learner, the web offers a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals for little or no cost at all. While technology cannot give us more time or energy, it does provide us the tools we need to become better professionals in an increasingly complex landscape. While in no way comprehensive, the list below describes a few of the popular online training and education services available.
In addition to these resources, learners should also explore industry specific online training. Take photography for example. While many of the services below have courses on this topic, industry leading professionals like Scott Kelby, Julia Kelleher, and Zach and Jodi Gray offer entire education platforms of their own. If the services described here don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, don’t give up before researching independent educators like these. You may be surprised by what you find!
Lynda.com is an online education service offering thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills. Now a part of the LinkedIn and Microsoft family, Lynda.com is a terrific resource for creative and technical professionals. While Lynda.com is not a free service, they do have partnerships with local libraries across the United States. For participating library users, simply linking your library account to Lynda.com unlocks the full library of courses and training materials.
Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, specializations, and degrees in a variety of subjects. Courses last approximately four to ten weeks and provide quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded assignments, and cost between $29 and $99.
Despite it’s reputation for filling the planet with mindless cat videos, YouTube also hosts a jaw-dropping amount of free videos for learning new skills. As with anything you find online, consider the source. Unlike the services mentioned previously, YouTube does not exercise editorial judgment in terms of educational content. That means just about anyone can create videos about just about anything. Still, for quick answers to specific questions, you just can’t beat YouTube’s vast library of content.