There’s no doubt online learning is transforming the way we build our careers. It’s accessible, affordable and lets us choose content that suits our needs.

We’ll all agree that the prospect of devoting a few hours every week to boosting your career with an online course feels far better than sacrificing your life to a droning professor. Especially when online equals your sofa and snacks and an optional glass of wine.

Comprehensive programming, marketing or design courses enable us to hone and develop new skills. We feel empowered to make massive career shifts and earn more money. It seems there’s an overwhelming number of open career paths available to us. And this makes choosing what to study rather difficult.

But when it comes to making up your mind and deciding what to pursue, most of us become pragmatic. “Which online course is most likely to help me get a job after I’m finished?”

10 trustworthy websites for online courses

There’s plenty of great information out there on blogs, YouTube, and lesser-known tutorial programs. But when it comes to getting a job, not all resources are equally valuable in recruiters’ eyes.

Some HR managers are still skeptical of online training and consider a college degree as the golden standard for a good hire. This is changing but there’s still a high threshold for proving your worth through e-learning. So how do you persuade potential employers that you’ve done more than watched a few unvetted YouTube videos on how to code an app?

We’ve run through hundreds of sites offering online courses and compiled a list of those that are most likely to help you advance your career and broaden your skill set.

A single course from one of these 10 trustworthy websites is sure to look dynamite on your CV.

1. Coursera

An online learning platform that hosts more than 2,000 courses from universities such as Stanford and Yale. With more than 29 million registered users, it’s the largest and most eclectic catalogue for online higher education. You can enrol in either self-paced or timed classes ranging between 4 and 12 weeks.

2. Khan Academy

A nonprofit organisation whose mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. The courses contain practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalised learning dashboard. These features empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.

3. LinkedIn Learning

A learning platform offers over 4,000 courses in business, technology and creative skills taught by industry experts. Each course includes a number of short videos that make it easy to adopt new knowledge.

4. EdX

A nonprofit that offers free online courses from more than 100 institutions including Harvard and MIT. Their top 10 courses in 2017 related to computer science and programming, data analysis or AI.

5. Code Academy

An online academy that offers coding tutorials with easy-to-follow instructions, immediate feedback and a tested curriculum. Its community forum is the place for learning, helping, and sharing experiences with Code Academy and coding in general.

6. Future Learn 

A private company with over 40 years of experience in distance learning and online education. With more than 8 million users, the site offers a wide range of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world.

7. Udacity 

The outgrowth of free computer science classes offered in 2011 through Stanford University, now focusing on vocational courses for professionals. The place where 10 million lifelong learners come to learn the skills they need to land the jobs they want and build the lives they deserve.

8. Udemy 

A global marketplace for online learning and mastering new skills. You can choose from a massive and varied catalogue of over 40,000 self-paced courses taught by expert instructors.

9. Skillshare 

An online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, technology and more. It’s the place to learn cutting-edge skills, network with peers and discover new opportunities every day.

10. Hack Design

Home to the world’s top designers who offer lessons for learning the tools, techniques and terminology of good design. Courses are highly interactive with design puzzles and challenging games to test your skills.

11. Academic Earth

The world of open education based on the belief that everyone deserves access to a world-class education. The platform offers courses from prestigious universities such as Stanford and Princeton. Its catalogue presents a curated list of online courses that are hand selected by their staff.

Best online courses to take to get hired faster

Cool, so these sites are offering myriads of appealing courses. But how are you supposed to know which ones are better than others?

No worries, we’ve taken care of that and separated the wheat from the chaff.

The following hand-curated list contains the most valuable online courses that will boost your career and won’t cost you a dime. If you’ve already made up your mind and know what you want to study, head over to one of these 7 categories:

  1. Programming and computer science
  2. Web development
  3. AI and data science
  4. Design
  5. Digital marketing
  6. Communication
  7. Languages

1. Programming and computer science

We live in an age of technology. Computers, smartphones and electronic devices have filled our lives and made them much easier.

But with the ever-growing tech industry, there aren’t enough coders to meet the demand. IT experts and coders are hot commodities nowadays and the pay is quite lucrative, to say the least.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, start coding with one of these courses before it’s as common as knowing how to type:

  1. Introduction to Computer Science (Harvard University via edX) is an entry-level course that teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. By the end of the course, you’ll become familiar with a number of languages including CSS, HTML, and PHP. The class is free, but you can add a HarvardX Verified Certificate for $90.
  2. Programming for Everybody — Getting Started with Python (University of Michigan via Coursera) is designed to be a first coding class and avoids all but the simplest mathematics. Anyone with moderate computer experience should be able to master the materials in this course. Or you can try Codeacademy’s No.2 course of the year Learn Python course. You’ll see for yourself which suits your needs better.
  3. Introduction to Java Programming (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid via edX) aims to help students develop high-quality, working software that solves real problems. Materials are designed for students with some programming experience. If you have none, though, but lack no motivation you will do fine.
  4. Introduction to C++ (Microsoft via edX) is a four-week course that provides a fast-paced introduction to C and C++ programming languages. You’ll learn the required background knowledge, including memory management, pointers, object-oriented programming. And you’ll also become skilled at finding bugs when you inevitably use any of those incorrectly.
  5. iOS App Development with Swift Specialisation (University of Toronto via Coursera) will teach you how to create an iOS app and submit your first fully functional product to the App Store before the end of the day.
  6. Android Basics (Google via Udacity) is a self-study course aimed at people with no prior experience of coding that will teach you how to create content for the Android platform.

2. Web development

These days, there are few people who can’t read basic code. Everyone from fashion bloggers to journalists and even eBay sellers fiddle with HTML to create and edit their content.

Give it a bash — we bet you won’t throw it in the trash!

  1. Introduction to HTML (Code Academy) is a free, easy-to-navigate course that will help you grasp the basics of the HTML syntax and structure of a web page.
  2. Intro to HTML and CSS (Udacity) is your first step towards a new career as a front-end web developer. Besides HTML basics, you’ll learn how to apply styling to a website through CSS.
  3. Dash (General Assembly) teaches HTML, CSS and JavaScript by giving you step-by-step instructions on creating fun websites. The big plus is that user workspace lets you see the output of your code in real time.
  4. Introduction to Javascript (Codecademy) lets you learn JavaScript fundamentals and intermediate content like functions, object-oriented programming and browser compatibility. With these skills, you can build interactive websites.
  5. Modern Web Design (Gymnasium) will prepare you to be a front-tend web developer by walking you through the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. You will also learn the basics of building a responsive website for mobile devices and tablets, as well as for the desktop.
  6. Mobile Web Development (Google via Udacity) is designed to teach web developers what they need to know to create great cross-device mobile web experiences. You’ll learn how to build mobile web apps which will work across most platforms including Android, iOS. And if you feel like it, you can take an exam to earn Google’s Mobile Web Specialist Certification to propel your career even further.

3. AI and Data science

Perhaps you’ve already noticed that. Today’s economy is leaning toward analytics.

Companies have been collecting data for many years. As a result, there’s a huge demand for people who can mine and interpret data. And what’s more, Glassdoor has once again (for 3 years running!) named Data Scientist the #1 best job in America.

So once you learn your tools, the jobs are waiting for you — now and in the future, too.

  1. Introduction to Big Data (University of San Diego via Coursera) will help you to understand problems with big data and its structure. You’ll get a glimpse of programming, too.
  2. SQL for Data Analysis (Udacity) will teach you how to write efficient SQL queries to successfully handle a variety of data analysis tasks. You’ll first learn to extract data, join tables together and perform aggregations. Then you’ll learn to use subqueries, temp tables and window functions. 
  3. Machine Learning (Stanford University via Coursera) provides a broad introduction to machine learning, data mining, and statistical pattern recognition. The course also draws from numerous case studies and applications.
  4. Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics (Columbia University via edX) will teach you how data scientists exercise statistical thinking in a variety of ways. You’ll learn more about designing data collection and deriving insights from visualising data. The course also talks about obtaining evidence for data-based decisions and constructing models for predicting future trends from data.
  5. Introduction to Data Analysis using Excel (Microsoft via edX) will teach you the basics of Excel, one of the most popular data analysis tools. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to visualise and gain insights from your data. Excel is the most desired software skill in today’s workplace, so no matter what’s your attitude towards charts and tables, it should be on your resume.

4. Design

Getting a job in graphic or product design is a dream for many creative individuals. Still, there are a couple of skills you will need to develop before you’ll be able to kick off your new career and become a new Andy Warhol.

Just pick one of the following courses that will have you thinking about your first artwork before you’ll even open your Photoshop:

  1. Fundamentals of Graphic Design (California Institute of the Arts via Coursera) will teach you the fundamental principles of graphic design. These include image making, typography, composition, working with colors and shapes. 
  2. Adobe Photoshop CS6 Essential Tools (ALISON) will guide you through the Photoshop user interface and help you acquire the basic techniques for editing and enhancing your photographs.
  3. Learn Adobe Illustrator: Fundamentals for Beginners (Anne Brecker via SkillShare) will walk you through everything you need to know to get started with Adobe Illustrator. You’ll dive into its three core elements — shapes, paths and type.
  4. Graphic Design (University of Colorado via Coursera) will give you the tools to create professional looking Powerpoints, reports, resumes, and presentations.
  5. Basic 3D Animation using Blender (IIT Bombay) will teach you the core concepts of animation and filmmaking. By the end of the course, you’ll know how to create lifelike animations using Blender.
  6. Hackdesign is an easy-to-follow design course. It offers useful curated blogs, books, games, videos, and tutorials. These are always organised into a digestible lesson plan.

5. Digital Marketing

If you want to start a career in one of the fastest developing fields on today’s job market, you’ve come to the right place.

Job demand for SEOs & content marketers is soaring and there’s no better place to learn their skills than online.

  1. Introduction to Marketing (University of British Columbia via edX) will help you understand the psychology of consumer decision making. You’ll also learn to develop pricing strategies that maximise profitability and understand how marketing metrics can benefit a given company.
  2. Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses (Alison) will show you the key concepts relevant to social media. You’ll also learn how to boost customer engagement using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube along with their secret features.
  3. Google Analytics Academy will help you learn about Google’s measurement tools so that you can grow your business through intelligent data collection and analysis.
  4. Google Digital Garage will let you upgrade your resume with an impressive digital certification. But only after the completion of one of the free online courses. These will guide you through everything from search engines to social media and beyond.
  5. Online Marketing Challenge is a unique chance for students to get real-world experience creating and executing an online marketing campaign for a real nonprofit. This is possible through Google’s generous provision of a $10,000 USD monthly budget of Google Ads credit.

6. Communication

Speaking and writing may seem like skills that we’ve mastered at the kindergarten. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

In employer surveys, communication skills consistently rank at the top of the list of soft skills. Everyone wants their employees to be able to listen and talk like a professional.

So if you want to advance your career, it’s high time to work a little on your communication skills:

  1. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (University of Michigan via Coursera) will teach you everything about a successful negotiation. It covers planning your negotiation strategy, using key tactics for success, creating a contract and evaluating your performance.
  2. Business Communications (The University of British Columbia via edX) will sharpen your writing, presentation and interpersonal communication skills.  The course offers a wide range of successful practices and guidelines.
  3. Successful Presentation (University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera) is a series of pragmatic videos and exercises. These focus on mastering fear, developing a creative formula and using verbal and body language — the most important skills for any job interview.
  4. Customer service (Vision2Learn) will help you improve communication with future colleagues as well as customers. It also comes with a bundle of many great transferable skills.
  5. How to Write a Professional Resume (Martin Poduska via Kickresume) is a brief video that will take you through every step of writing an awesome resume, section by section, in less than 5 minutes.

7. Languages

The world is more interconnected than ever before and the ability to speak more than just one foreign language is often taken for granted.

Most of us used to think English is enough. Well, it’s not anymore. Companies are growing and expanding their international presence. The global economy is simply shifting away from the English-speaking world.

So if you dream of landing a job in virtually any competitive field, having appropriate language skills is a must. Don’t hesitate any further and get ahead of the competition with one of the following courses:

  1. Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started (UPValencia via edX) will have you speaking Spanish (and experience its cultural diversity) through a quality drama-filled story. In addition, you’ll listen to an audio program integrated with the text and workbook.
  2. Basic French Language Skills for Everyday Life (ALISON) is a series of engaging video lessons that introduces beginners to various aspects of the French language. After taking this course, you’ll be able to use a range of French vocabulary and have a casual conversation in French. As for the grammar, you’ll get to grips with past, present and future verb tenses.
  3. Talk German – An introduction to German (BBC) is a lively introduction to the language in ten short parts. Watch and listen to the clips and have a look at the transcript if needed.
  4. Talk Italian – An introduction to Italian (BBC) includes nine short sections on everyday topics. These include ordering a meal, asking for directions, saying where you’re from and checking in at a hotel. 

Good luck getting your dream job! 

There are countless opportunities how you can advance your career. But one of the most viable ones (and comfortable, indeed!) is to take an enriching online course.

This will speed up your preparation for a new job and boost your confidence real quick. However, you’ll need to be smart and pick only those courses that best correspond to what you really want to achieve in your career.

The decision will ensure you’ll be constantly moving in one specific direction and won’t be battling on too many fronts. 

So if you’ll manage to do just that — you’ve won already.