4 Awesome Websites for Online Professional Development

Round-up of different self-learning tools for professional development

This article was written by featured writer Ashlee Christian

When it comes to acquiring new skill sets or knowledge areas, many of us tend to think that traditional degree programs are the only way to go. However, since most of us are still in a crippling amount of debt from our initial degree(s), that route is becoming far less appealing. At the end of the day quenching your thirst for learning something new or sharpening existing tools can be easy, low-cost (or free!), and still give you all the benefits of traditional degree programs in more manageable bites. Not to mention that studies have shown lifelong learners to be happier, healthier, and richer!

Lynda.com

Lynda.com is one of the best known platforms for professional and personal development. It offers over 6,000 video-based courses in business, technology, and creative skills. There is such a variety of courses from design to web development, to project management that any kind of freelancer is sure to find something useful. They even have specific learning paths for very targeted roles including front end web developer, project coordinator, and digital marketer. The basic plan starts at $19.99/month and the premium plan starts at $29.99/month (there’s also a free 30 day trial for you to give it a try before committing).

Dash (General Assembly)

Dash is an online platform for learning the basics of web development. It offers instruction in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Dash is great if you are looking to pick up a few basic dev tricks that might come in handy when maintaining a personal portfolio site. Since it’s totally free it’s a super low-risk way to see if coding is something you might be into and help you decide if you want to invest more money in learning it. Coding bootcamps / courses can cost you a pretty penny, however, you gotta spend money to make money as the saying goes, and there is a lot of dollars to be made if if you have dev skills.

Coursera

Coursera offers over 2000 courses from some of the top universities in subjects like business, computer science, and data science. There is a 7 day free trial and then different monthly fees depending on the courses you choose. You can also earn specialized certifications in things like Business Analytics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, or Digital Marketing from the University of Illinois. Coursera is a great happy medium for folks who like the structure of a university learning environment without the mountains of debt that usually comes along with it.

Udemy

With 65,000 courses, Udemy definitely offers the biggest variety of topics to choose from. Courses are taught by industry experts who set their own rates and curriculum. Courses range in price from free to $100 (you can get your first course for $14.99). The great thing about Udemy is there are so many courses and so many instructors for each that you can really be picky with where you invest your money / time.

Freelancers, what are your favorite online resources for professional development?