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5 In-Demand Skills That Can Be Mastered Online

5 In-Demand Skills That Can Be Mastered Online

Today’s workplace is not like that of our mothers and fathers. Our parents would pick a single career, like an accountant, lawyer, or teacher, and continue with that role and position for the rest of their life. However, in the last 10-15 years the landscape of employment has changed drastically. Trends in technology have eroded many of what used to be considered reliable and durable career paths, and two boom and bust economic cycles have made hundreds of thousands of people redundant and forced them to seek new careers.

However, that does not mean the jobs have disappeared — they have simply shifted to other sectors. The truth is there are millions of job vacancies that are available right now if you have the right skill sets. And with advances in modern technology, these skills are all accessible through online courses from the confines of your own home. So consider these following 5 options to add some more durability to your resume.

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learn-online

    Your future career may be on your desktop.

    Math, Statistics and Data Analysis

    Big data is now the next frontier for business innovation. With advances in technology the amount of data available is growing exponentially and it’s sweeping into most sectors and businesses. Thus, companies and individuals that are able to harness, organize, and analyze these mega-sets of data stand to benefit greatly. Consequently, a strong foundation in arithmetic, geometry, algebra, statistics, and calculus is extremely valuable. Those who feel like they missed this boat need not worry because websites like Khan Academy do a great job providing quality instruction for free.

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    Khan Academy

      Cloud Computing

      One of the major changes in technology is the move from local hosting to cloud-hosted services. Maybe you have heard some of the major buzzwords, virtualization, software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). Essentially what they all mean is that all those space-, labor-, and money-consuming local servers that contain tons of data — and which if broken could take down a company — are all moving to the cloud where storage is safer and cheaper.

      One of the most popular cloud based services is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. To help support this trend, there is a huge demand for people with cloud computing and SaaS knowledge. If this piques your interest, ALISON.com offers a free introductory course to cloud computing.

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      Cloud computing

        Logistics

        In a tough economy, logistics, also known as the science of supply chain management, is a crucial tool for product-based companies. It is the responsibility of the supply chain manager to minimize the cost of sourcing raw materials, production and distribution of consumer products. Essentially, the supply chain manager is a combination of a bargain hunter and cost cutter, looking to source materials from countries with lower manufacturing costs, and trying to find the cheapest way to get the raw materials to the factory and finished goods to the consumer. With the emergence of e-commerce players like Zappos and Amazon, logistics have never been more important, thus those with knowledge of logistics are in high demand. If that sounds interesting then you can you can enroll in free college-level logistics courses from MIT’s Engineering department via its OpenCourseWare platform.

        MIT’s Engineering department

          Digital Marketing

          Just about every major business area has undergone massive changes in the last ten years and marketing is no different. If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, print is dying and online marketing is the future. So, more than ever, businesses need people who understand the landscape of online marketing, which covers Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media.

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          In simple layman’s terms: SEO helps businesses get found online; content marketing is all about creating valuable content that people want to share; and social media is a platform to share valuable content and engage with consumers. It’s pretty tough to be a whiz in all of these areas, but if you pick one area and become a champ in it, you will definitely be a valuable asset. Hubspot Academy is a great place to start for an excellent primer in online marketing. At the completion of the course series, you are also eligible to receive a certification in Inbound Marketing, all for free!

          Hubspot

            Programming Languages

            This may be a no-brainer, but we would be remiss not to mention it. Computers are getting faster and smaller, and more and more applications are coming out that make our lives easier. People want more apps for their personal computers and smartphones, so it’s no surprise that demand for programmers is sky-high. It used to be that programming was for geeks and losers, but now programming is cool, and programmers are the new rock stars. There are a ton of languages to choose from — Objective C, Python, PHP, Ruby, HTML, Java — and specializing in just one is probably enough to get you in the door to an entry-level job. But wait, you have no experience? You can get started with free interactive tutorials at Codeacademy.

            Learn to code interactively, for free.

              The World Is Your Oyster

              Yes folks, the world of employment is changing, but that does not have to be a scary thing. Embrace those changes and move with the times. The sands of the employment landscape are moving quickly and you don’t want to get stuck under a mountain. Prepare yourself for the new workforce by learning skills that are in demand now. The truth is that these are just the tip of the iceberg, with a little research you can probably uncover some other in-demand skill sets that can help you land your next job. The best part is there are free resources available to help you master any skill. So what are you waiting for? Pick your passion, get skilled up, and get employed!

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              7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

              7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

              Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

              Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

              Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

              So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

              Joe’s Goals

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                Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                Daytum

                  Daytum

                  is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                  Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                  Excel or Numbers

                    If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                    What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                    Evernote

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                      I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                      Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                      Access or Bento

                        If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                        Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                        You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                        Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                        All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                        Conclusion

                        I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                        What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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