Free online tech courses to boost your skills as you quarantine

Looking to brush up on your tech skills while in quarantine? These 10 free online tech education outlets can help you advance your IT skills during the COVID-19 crisis.

Free online tech courses to boost your skills as you quarantine
JGalione / Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the employment landscape, sending most non-essential tech workers to work from home and leaving many workers across all industries unemployed. But current quarantines across the globe provide a great opportunity to train up on the latest tech skills.

If you’re looking for ways to fill the down time at home or you’re eager to get your resume ready for post-pandemic hiring, you don’t have to open your wallet to expand your technical skills and knowledge. There are plenty of websites and universities that offer free online certifications, courses and training to help you brush up on highly marketable tech skills.

Here are 10 online education and training resources that are currently offering free tech courses you can complete for free as you quarantine.

Codecademy

Codeacademy offers free basic accounts that give you access to basic courses and limited mobile access. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned tech pro, there are courses for every skill level on topics such as web development, programming, data science, design, and game development, as well as specific languages such as Python, JavaScript, SQL, C#, and Swift. It’s the perfect way to learn to code or brush up on a programming language for your resume. You can also choose from courses that focus on specific skills such as analyzing data or building chat bots with Python, creating video games with Phaser, visualizing data, and building websites.

Coursera

Coursera isn’t completely free but it offers more than 1,400 free courses on its site, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coursera will add an additional 100 free courses to that list. Topics and tools covered in Coursera courses include Python, machine learning, data science, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, programming, web development and many more. Courses consist of on-demand streaming video lectures, self-paced quizzes and hands-on projects. You also get access to the Coursera user community to get feedback and ask questions. While not everything on Coursera is free, some programs offer a free seven-day trial, including the Google IT Support Professional Certificate course and AWS Fundamentals: Going Cloud Native. After that, accounts start at $49 per month to access programs that aren’t offered in the free subscription level.

EdX

EdX is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider offering university-level courses developed by nonprofit organizations, schools and corporations. All programs offered through EdX are free and you’ll find courses from universities such as MIT and Harvard. Courses consist of interactive learning exercises, video tutorials, online forums for students to connect and ask questions, and online textbooks. When you complete a course, you’ll receive a certificate; some courses can even count toward college or university credits, depending on the school.

Harvard Online Learning

Harvard Online Learning offers free online courses in technology, including game development, artificial intelligence, web programming, Python, JavaScript, mobile app development and computer science fundamentals. Courses are self-paced and require around six to nine hours of commitment per week; most take anywhere from five to 13 weeks to complete. Programs are taught by Harvard University faculty and staff and you will earn a verified certificate upon completion. It’s a great option for self-motivated learners who want to learn new skills and expand IT knowledge areas.

 

Linkedin Learning

Formerly Lynda.com, Linkedin Learning is an online learning platform that offers courses on popular tech topics. You can choose from a number of skills, software or learning paths to explore with courses on topics such as programming fundamentals, CSS training, web development, networking basics, data science foundations and more. You can also find courses that will help you master popular software such as Tableau, WordPress and Excel. It’s not always free, but LinkedIn offers a free month trial, which will give you enough time to squeeze in some free coursework while you’re still in quarantine.

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn is a free online training program that offers training and certifications on specific Microsoft products. Courses are offered only for Microsoft products, such as Azure, Core Cloud Services, Microsoft 365, Power BI Desktop, Microsoft Teams and more. Each self-paced learning module includes an introduction to the topic, a lesson with all relevant information about the topic, and then a knowledge check for you to complete. Microsoft Learn also offers certifications that you can earn for different Microsoft tools and software — and it’s all free.

MIT OpenCourseWare

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers all its course material for free online. You can find course material for any undergraduate or graduate course offered through the university, so you don’t even have to apply to get an MIT education. The university offer courses in computer science covering topics such as programming, software design, data mining, networking, artificial intelligence and more. You’ll get instant access to lecture notes, projects and examples, assignments, instructor insights and it’s all free.

Pluralsight

Pluralsight offers on-demand training courses in popular tech skills and they’re offering new users a free month in April. You’ll find courses on topics such as software development, information and cyber security, big data, machine learning and AI, IT operations, cloud computing, manufacturing and design and more. Classes cover specific programming languages, software tools, hardware, and you can even take courses that will help you get certified through several vendors like Microsoft, VMware, CompTIA and Cisco. If you want to continue your membership after the free month, you can opt for a monthly subscription for $29, an annual subscription for $299 or a premium membership for $449 per year.

Udacity

Udacity courses aren’t always free, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is offering a free month of its nanodegree programs in response to people losing employment due to the virus. Whether you’re working from home and have some spare time to advance your skills or you are out of work and want to be prepared to hit the job market as things turn around, Udacity offers several tech programs that can help you get trained on critical skills. Courses cover topics including machine learning, artificial intelligence, software development, digital marketing and product management. The regular cost for a monthly subscription is $399 and you can also opt to apply the value of your free month towards a multi-month nanodegree bundle along with a 15 percent discount.

Udemy

Udemy is an online learning website that offers more than 10,000 tech training courses, more than 1,000 of which are free. Courses cover topics such as AWS, database and SQL querying, and intro to cloud computing. You can find specific skills and tools to learn about, including Hadoop, HTML5, CSS3, Salesforce, Tableau, RPA, DevOps, Linux and more. Nearly any tech topic you want to learn about can be found on the site, and with plenty of free courses to choose from, you can keep your continuing education budget-friendly.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 secrets of successful remote IT teams