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20 Free Online Tools for Summer Self-Education

20 Free Online Tools for Summer Self-Education

Albert Einstein once said that education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. The things we learn today may be forgotten but there will always be something that we retain forever. That means that every now and then we all have to go learn some new things so that we can continue to educate ourselves. If you’ve got plans to do some learning this summer, here are some amazing tools to give yourself a self-education.

1. Udemy

self education

    Udemy is an online course-based website where you can buy and take individual courses. There are a veritable boatload of subjects from languages to computer science, design to cooking, and pretty much everything else you can think of. You buy the course once and it’s yours for keeps. It comes with video and text lectures to show you how everything works. There are even free courses available in most subjects!

    2. Khan Academy

    self-education

      Khan Academy is fairly well known and many people use it to brush up on basic math but it’s also good for learning way more advanced stuff. It has over 1200 instructional videos that cover everything from basic arithmetic to differential equations. It’s totally free to use as well and it has Facebook and Google+ support so signing up is easy.

      3. MIT OpenCourseWare

      self-education

        This is one of the most powerful, fun, and free resources available for learning. MIT has courses available in over a dozen courses from technology to business. You can enroll for free and access all the coursework for free. It’s a great way to learn from one of the best colleges in the United States.

        4. Codecademy

        self-education

          Codecademy is an online resource that teaches you various programming languages. Available is JavaScript, CSS/HTML, Python, PHP, Ruby, and others. It’s free to use and you can log in with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for easy access. You won’t become amazingly great at these languages but there is no better way to get the entry level and even intermediate levels of programming.

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          5. Harvard OpenCourseWare

          self-education

            Much like MIT, Harvard has a bunch of free coursework available free of charge to the general public. They come in a range of subjects from computer science to literature. Also like MIT, Harvard is one of the most respected college on the continent so whatever they have to teach is worth your time to learn.

            6. Yale Open Courses

            self-education

              Not to be left out in the dark, Yale also offers open courses. Much like the others the subjects are vast and include things like literature, music, finances, business, and others. Like the others, it’s a prestigious college with great professors. It’s also free and that’s good news.

              7. Johns Hopkins OpenCourseWare

              self-education

                Continuing with the OpenCourseWare from various colleges is Johns Hopkins. It’s a world renown medical school with a number of free courses available for those who are thinking of studying medicine or maybe for those who know medicine and need a quick brush up. It has courses on things like child development, nutrition, and even fundamentals on specialties like oncology.

                8. Duke Law Free Lectures

                self-education

                  If you’d rather listen than read then Duke Law’s free lectures are a fun tool to learn some stuff without the bothersome stuff. Just follow the link and pick a lecture to listen to. There are dozens of lectures for a number of years about a number of subjects. It’s great listening for the car on that morning commute or while taking a walk.

                  9. Free Computer Books

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                  self-education

                    The website looks like it was designed in the early 1990’s but rest assured this is an amazing website. Using it you can get hundreds of free books about computer programming, mathematics, data logic, design, and other books. It’s great for anyone looking to get more into computers and it even includes books on Java (Android development), C++ (Windows development), and C# (Apple development).

                    10. Oxford Mathematics OpenCourseWare

                    self-education

                      Most careers require at least a decent background in math. That means if there is any subject that everyone should brush up on, it’s math. Oxford Mathematics OpenCourseWare has a few dozen math courses available that will run you through subjects like algebra, math logic, and even computer math. Oxford is another one of those internationally recognized learning institutions and it’s a great place to learn.

                      11. Lifewrite

                      self-education

                        If it’s writing you need to brush up on, Lifewrite.com is a good place to go. It offers a free nine week course for free along with a number of free tips and exercises. Writing is one of the toughest things to do well and it takes a lot of work and practice to get it right. Why not start off the right way by learning from a professional?

                        12. Purdue Online Writing Lab

                        self-education

                          Purdue University has an online writing lab for those who may want something a little more structured. It includes classes on grammar, writing styles, and even professional writing. It’s a great free resource for any writer looking to brush up on the basics. There are even instructional videos to watch.

                          13. Duolingo

                          self-education

                            Duolingo is a free service that teaches you another language. You can learn from Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and more. There are Android and iOS apps available which are also free. It was a huge hit last year and the courses really do work if you stick with them. It teaches you in the form of a game so it remains interesting even during the hard portions.

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                            14. BBC Languages

                            self-education

                              There is a more professional language resource for those looking to learn a second language for free and that’s BBC Languages. It still has games for those who like them but there are also audio and video clips mixed in along with more classic lessons. The front page hasn’t been updated in a while but the website is still functional.

                              15. iTunes U

                              self-education

                                iTunes U is a unique case. It’s only available for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad so if you don’t have one of those then you’re out of luck. It’s a good resource to learn because a lot of colleges have dumped free stuff into there. You can find subjects on practically anything. There are free and paid courses available.

                                16. Wikiversity

                                self-education

                                  Wikipedia isn’t the most trusted source out there but it is getting a better reputation all the time. Most of the stuff that’s on there is at least mostly accurate and that makes it a pretty decent platform for learning. It uses Wiki’s classic interface to link you to resources, courses, and labs to help you learn a bunch of stuff in a bunch of subjects. It’s a great free resource.

                                  17. Textbook Revolution

                                  self-education

                                    Textbook Revolution is much like Free Computer Books above except that it has far more subjects. This is a resource that is run by students and includes free e-books on a number of subjects. It’s simple to use. You just search for subjects, download the books, and read them on your computer. With the sheer number of subjects

                                    18. E-Books Directory

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                                    self-education

                                      If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Textbook Revolution, you can always try E-Books Directory. It doesn’t have the best design but you can find over 20,000 e-books there in a wide range of subjects. It doesn’t matter what you’re studying you should be able to find something here for you.

                                      19. University of Pennsylvania Book Page

                                      self-education

                                        The last free book resource on the list is the University of Pennsylvania Book Page. Using this site you can gain access to an untold number of free books used by the students of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s a very minimal site so you’ll have to go back to getting used to white web pages with blue links everywhere but it’s still a great resource for free information, essays, books, and other educational texts.

                                        20. History Channel

                                        self-education

                                          Last and certainly not least is the History Channel. The TV channel may have gone downhill a bit over the years but the website is actually extremely informative. I’ve actually used it for resources on essays before. There are lists, random webpages, and other history things. History buffs could spend all day there. Even non-history buffs probably could if they found a fun line of stuff to read about.

                                           

                                          Learning is wildly important because it’s something none of us are ever done doing. The more you learn, the more you know and the more you know, the more you can do. Use these resources to learn how to do a number of things that you can use in real life!

                                          Featured photo credit: AMC Networks via images.amcnetworks.com

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                                          Published on November 9, 2018

                                          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                          Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                                          Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                                          So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                                          6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                                          When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                                          1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                                          Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                                          To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                                          In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                                          • Microsoft Excel
                                          • Microsoft Access
                                          • Statistics
                                          • Data Analytics
                                          • Adobe Campaign
                                          • Quickbooks
                                          • XML Database management system
                                          • Filemaker Pro
                                          • MATLAB
                                          • Hive
                                          • FORTRAN
                                          • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                                          • SAS

                                          2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                                          Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                                          Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                                          • Content Management System (CMS)
                                          • Google Analytics
                                          • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                                          • Email Marketing
                                          • Web Page Design
                                          • WordPress
                                          • Digital Media
                                          • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                                          • Campaign Management Software

                                          3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                                          A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                                          • Adobe Photoshop
                                          • Adobe InDesign
                                          • Adobe Illustrator
                                          • AutoCAD
                                          • CorelDRAW
                                          • Microsoft Visual Studio
                                          • Maya
                                          • Microsoft Word
                                          • Microsoft Publisher
                                          • Operating Digital Cameras

                                          4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                                          The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                                          To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                                          • HTML
                                          • C/C++
                                          • Java
                                          • Python
                                          • XML
                                          • UI/UX
                                          • LINUX
                                          • CISC and RISC architecture
                                          • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                                          • Memory Management
                                          • PCB Layout
                                          • SQL

                                          5. IT Troubleshooting

                                          Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                                          So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                                          • Backup management
                                          • Diagnostics
                                          • End User support
                                          • Client-Server management
                                          • Installation and configuration
                                          • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                                          • System administration
                                          • Tech support

                                          6. Enterprise Systems

                                          Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                                          Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                                          The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                                          Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                                          Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                                          Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                                          1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                                          a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                                          Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                                          Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                                          b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                                          This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                                          c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                                          Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                                          Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                                          2. Rule the Social Media World

                                          a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                                          Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                                          From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                                          b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                                          This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                                          c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                                          Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                                          Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                                          3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                                          a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                                          From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                                          b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                                          Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                                          The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                                          c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                                          The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                                          4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                                          a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                                          It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                                          From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                                          b. Canva Design School

                                          From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                                          c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                                          62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                                          d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                                          The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                                          Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                                          5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                                          a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                                          IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                                          It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                                          b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                                          The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                                          Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                                          The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                                          • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                                          • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                                          • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                                          • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                                          • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                                          • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                                          • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                                          Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                                          Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                                          1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                                          It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                                          Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                                          2. Work on Your Efficiency

                                          Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                                          For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                                          3. Look for Shortcuts

                                          Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                                          4. Apply for an Internship

                                          Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                                          By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

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                                          The Bottom Line

                                          Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                                          So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                                          Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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