Free Online Courses to Help Improve Your Skills
Free Online Courses to Help Improve Your Skills

At home with free time on your hands and wondering how you’re going to fill the hours? Why not use the time to diversify your knowledge and skills? The University of Washington offers a wide range of free online courses based on UW certificate and degree programs that you can start instantly on edX or Coursera (for Coursera's classes, you'll need select the "audit" option to sign up for a free course).

The best part? Since these classes are 100% free, they are an excellent way to explore at your own pace without impacting your wallet. If you want to broaden your knowledge base, build upon your existing skill set or want to change up your career, consider adding at least one of these 7 valuable skills to your resume to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Programming

In an era of new digital technologies and on-demand everything, having a fundamental knowledge of programming and common programming languages is a huge asset. Whether you’re building a website or launching an app, the ability to create the underlining systems that power our platforms and networks can take you far.

If you’re curious about coding, this series of three courses will provide you with a solid understanding of how different programming languages fit together so you can design elegant programs.

2. Cybersecurity

As the number and level of sophistication of data breaches increase, cybersecurity analysts are in hot demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in cybersecurity are expected to grow by 32% between 2018 and 2028.

If you’re curious about the world of cybersecurity or want to build a foundation for a career in the field, edX offers numerous free programs that can help.

3. Internationalization and Localization

The world is becoming an increasingly global market. Forbes states emerging markets are growing 3-4 times faster than those in developed countries, making them a prime choice for new business opportunities. If you have the skills to adapt your product linguistically, physically and culturally to multiple international markets, you’ll be an invaluable asset to any marketing team.

Ready to take the next step forward in making product relevant world-wide? These localization and internationalization programs will be valuable additions to your toolkit:

4. IT Project Management

Want to bring ideas to life and lead teams to success? With advancements in tech developing all the time, companies are taking on new projects and the demand for IT project managers is strong.

A course in Strategic Applications of IT Project and Program Management will teach you to manage the many moving parts of a project and provide frameworks that deliver tangible business benefits.

For a more in-depth education on managing project portfolios and leadership in IT, you should explore Portfolio Management, Governance and the PMO as well as Leadership and Management for PM Practitioners in IT.

5. Business Skills for Non-Native English Speakers

New to the American business world and want to advance your skills and your career? Learning how to introduce yourself with poise, write polished emails and connect with your colleagues and business partners will give an advantage over some native English speakers. Luckily, numerous programs can help at no cost to you at all!

6. Networking  

When it comes to landing a new gig, robust networking skills can give you a leg up. Investing in professional relationships enhances your marketability and future job prospects.

If you aren’t naturally proficient in the art of the schmooze, improve your ability to make connections with a course on Attending a Networking Event. Or build upon your existing skills and attend a class on Conducting Informational Interviews to be sure you’re consistently highlighting your best qualities.

7. Networking for Non-Native English Speakers

Trying to secure a new job or career is challenging enough in your native language, let alone in a different one. Broaden your horizons with a course on Preparing to Network in English, which will teach you the basics of networking while growing your English language skills.

If the majority of your communications will in writing, explore Using Email for Networking in English to increase your confidence as you send messages and search for jobs.

Being at home doesn’t mean you can’t further education. With an abundance of free online courses available, you can pick up valuable skills and grow your career without having to hand over your hard-earned cash. All from the comfort of your couch!

For more career tips and industry trends, visit the News & Features section of our website, and subscribe to our email list. To learn more about UW Professional & Continuing Education certificates, specializations, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

Author Brenna Ciummo

Brenna Ciummo

Brenna Ciummo is a senior editor and writer at the University of Washington Continuum College and has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience. She's developed a wide range of copy, from in-depth feature stories to bite-size blurbs across various industries, including education, travel and food. She enjoys covering student success stories and the latest trends in the career and education space.

Ciummo has a B.A. in communication and writing certificate from Arizona State University. A firm believer in lifelong learning, she is also an alumnus of the UW Certificate in Storytelling & Content Strategy and a UW copy editing and design course. 

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