It’s no secret — future graduates need to be thoroughly prepared before entering the workplace. University degrees will always play a big part in helping students secure jobs, but e-learning platforms provide a convenient solution to those who wish to add more skills to their applications or CVs than just a degree.
Official certifications and mini-course completions will help students stand out as candidates that future employers see as skilled and highly valuable. Online courses will not usually contribute to your college credits, but there’s nothing admissions officers and employers love more than individuals who demonstrate an unquenchable thirst for learning and technical skill.
E-learning platforms such as edX and Coursera are known for their free courses offered by some of the highest-ranking universities in the world. However, there also are many programmes available that are being taught by major companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, Facebook and more.
These companies even collaborate with top universities, including world-best institutions like MIT and Harvard, to produce skill-building programmes for aspiring lifelong learners. These courses are even used to internally train their current employees.
The best part about e-learning? It gives students control over their scheduling and pace of training, and they also allow learners to tailor their programmes to focus on the skills they need the most. If you are looking to build on your existing skills or learn new ones in your spare time, listed below are some of the esteemed companies that are currently offering programmes that are (mostly) free or extremely affordable:
E-learning with Google
Google’s e-learning courses range from Coronavirus Powersearching to a Google IT professional certificate programme. Instructors include Google employees such as Daniel Russell, a senior research scientist in search quality and user happiness. You can also find Google courses taught in Portuguese and Spanish.
Once students complete in-depth programs like its Automation with Python Certificate programme, they can opt to share this information on their portfolio. Most of these courses are free to audit. However, students can also decide to pay a small fee for certification upon completion.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services has dozens of affordable courses and programmes teaching new and experienced users how to leverage AWS to power infrastructure, improve efficiency, and lower costs.
AWS offers courses built for beginners, like the introductory courses included in the AWS Fundamentals specialisation, but a decent amount of its courses are made for intermediate or advanced learners. Instructors include senior cloud technologists, technical architects, and some of the site’s most highly rated technical trainers.
Most AWS courses are free to audit such as Getting Started with AWS Machine Learning and Migrating to the AWS Cloud, both of which charge a small fee for a certificate of completion.
IBM offers dozens of e-learning courses and multi-course programmes in data analysis, cybersecurity, AI engineering, machine learning, cloud essentials, and more. Classes can also be facilitated in languages such as Spanish.
Course instructors include IBM data scientists and IBM software engineers with PhDs and decades of experience. Free courses include the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate, the IBM AI Engineering Professional Certificate, and IBM Cloud Essentials.
The Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation offers courses on Coursera and edX, most of which are free to audit such as the Open Source Software Development, Linux and Git Specialisation, Introduction to Hyperledger Blockchain Technologies, Introduction to Service Mesh with Linkerd, Secure Software Development: Implementation, and Introduction to Cloud Infrastructure Technologies.
Instructors range from The Linux Foundation’s Direct of Training, Jerry Cooperstein, to its Director of Open Source Supply Chain Security, David Wheeler, and related specialists and founders.
Facebook offers a five-course digital marketing programme through Coursera geared towards beginners. The courses in the programme cover topics such as advertising and the optimisation of marketing campaigns. Ideally, students will finish the programme with a personal portfolio they can use in job applications.
Altogether, the programme will take approximately five months to complete. After a seven-day trial, the course costs just US$49 for access and a certificate of completion.
Facebook’s Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate is also offered on Coursera, free of charge.