10 Places to Gain Skills and Become More Employable - dummies

10 Places to Gain Skills and Become More Employable

By Roberto Angulo

Never stop learning. The more skills you have, the higher your chances of getting the job you want. Luckily, you have dozens of resources at your disposal to learn new skills. Some of these tools are free, and others are not. But the great thing about all of them is that you can access most of them easily online. You can also get certified on what you learned in a matter of weeks.

Here you get a glimpse of ten of these resources.

Keep track of courses you take and skills you acquire by adding them to your résumé or profile.


Coursera is one of the largest providers of online courses. It boasts over 2,000 courses, offered by top instructors at some of the best colleges and universities.

You can take courses on subjects such as business analytics and search engine optimization (SEO). The courses run for four to six weeks and cost $29 to $99 each. You earn a certificate after you complete the course.

You can also do a specialization, which takes you deeper into a specific topic through projects and assignments. Specializations typically consist of four to ten courses and run for four to six months. You can specialize in popular topics such as game design and development, software programming, and data science.

You can even get a master’s degree on Coursera, which takes anywhere from one to three years. Coursera gives you the flexibility to earn your degree online, from top universities. The cost can be up to $25,000. If you’re considering getting an online degree, weigh the benefits of the online degree to your career before making this type of commitment. The specialization may be a good start.


Udemy is similar to Coursera in that it offers online courses. In fact, it has more than 55,000 courses, making it one of the largest services. The two main differences are that Udemy courses are not necessarily backed by universities, and they do not lead to a degree or certification.

Udemy is more of an open platform, where any expert can create a course and offer it either for free or for a fee.

It’s great for brushing up on things like using Microsoft Excel or any other skill that will help you do your job better.

Are you an expert in a certain area? Consider putting together a Udemy course to share your knowledge. It looks good on your résumé and will impress potential employers.


Lynda.com is another service that allows you to learn new skills. It offers almost 6,000 courses. You get the usual selection of tutorials on how to program and how to use tools such as Excel and PowerPoint. But Lynda also has more business-oriented tutorials on how to be a better worker and colleague. For example, it offers a course on how to be assertive.

The site offers a free 30-day trial. After the trial, you can pay $19.99 a month to get full access to all Lynda courses. For $29.99 a month, you can view courses offline and download course materials.

Before you pay for any of these learning resources, check with your school, your local library, or your new employer to see if they have a subscription you can use.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers courses in core subject areas such as history, economics, geometry, electrical engineering, geometry, chemistry, and physics. The site is free and relies on donations to run its operations.

The site is geared more toward students from kindergarten through high school than adults. Still, the site is useful because it allows you to get a refresher on basic concepts that can relate to your everyday work.

Khan Academy also offers free test-prep courses, including one for the NCLEX-RN, which graduating nurses need to take before they can start working.


Codecademy focuses specifically on teaching people how to program. The site offers interactive courses on how to code in 12 different programming languages, including popular ones like Python, PHP, JavaScript, and SQL.

If you’re looking to go into a more technical discipline that involves coding, this service is worth a look to give you an idea if programming is right for you.


Udacity offers free stand-alone courses and also has study programs, for a fee, which it calls “nanodegrees.” One of the good things about Udacity is that it focuses its programs on fields that are in high demand by employers. Nanodegrees have specific start dates and the cost starts at a few hundred dollars.

The service focuses on creating pathways to well-paying careers. It collaborates with companies such as Amazon, AT&T, BMW, Facebook, and Google to create its content.

Udacity seems to have found a niche in helping recent college graduates to obtain additional skills to make them more employable. For example, it offers a nanodegree program in digital marketing. This specific program runs for three months and costs $799. If you’re cost conscious, you’ll be glad to know that the program is offered on a self-directed basis for about half the price.

General Assembly

General Assembly offers short courses, some for free, and full 10- to 12-week courses that you can take on a part-time basis. The company also offers one-week full-time intense versions of these programs. It even has physical campuses throughout the world so you can go in and take some of these courses in a real classroom setting if you prefer.

Like Udacity, General Assembly collaborates with companies on some content, and offers courses on what it calls “today’s most in-demand skills.” Areas of study include digital marketing, iOS and Android development, data science, data analytics, and product management.

A number of programs offer both online and on-campus versions. The iOS Development Immersive program, for example, is a 12-week full-time program offered in San Francisco. You build iOS apps and become an iOS developer when you’re done with the program. The course costs $13,500.

The product management course, on the other hand, runs for ten weeks and is part-time and online. You can also take a full-time accelerated version of this course on campus. The cost is $3,950.


Galvanize describes itself as the learning community for technology and operates eight campuses in cities throughout the United States. It offers a full-time course in data science that lasts 12 weeks and costs $16,000. It also offers a full-time program in web development that goes for 24 weeks, at a cost of $21,000.

Galvanize also offers a 12-month master’s of science degree in data science.

Although not cheap, Galvanize touts a 91 percent placement rate on its site. It helps that the courses offered are in technical areas that are in high demand.


Skillshare is a learning community focused more on business and the creative arts. The site features more than 17,000 classes, which you can access through a subscription starting at $15 per month or $99 per year. Courses are taught by practitioners in the field, and you can see how users rate them. Most of the classes focus on completing a project.

This resource is great if you want to brush up on your business skills. For example, you can learn about social media marketing and find out how to create email marketing campaigns.

Community College

Last but not least, your local community college is a valuable learning resource that is often overlooked. Most for-profit learning companies offer courses in technical fields and other high-demand and high-paying areas where they can justify charging tuition.

Because community colleges are government funded, they fill an important void by offering classes in fields that may be in demand but may not pay as much. Examples of these areas include child development and paralegal studies.

If you’re looking to supplement your studies with something specific that will help you get a job, or if you know of a course that will help you work more efficiently, be sure to look at your local community college. Tuition tends to be low if not free in some cases. Don’t let the price mislead you. Community colleges often have seasoned instructors who come from industry and have relevant expertise.

The American Association of Community Colleges offers an interactive tool where you can locate your nearest community college.