Free Professional Development Resources

Computer Programming

With technology and the economy changing all the time, keeping your professional skills up to date is pivotal for your career’s success. However, the costs of continued education can be prohibitive, preventing many people from learning new skills at all. Due to tight budgets, many companies have decreased the amount of money allocated for employee development, hurting their business’ culture. According to a 2014 study, 66 percent of workers said the opportunities for professional growth were very limited, and they were stuck in their current role. Without learning new skills and progressing up the corporate ladder, companies can expect poor retention rates and reduced employee satisfaction.

With so many companies not offering reimbursement for training, often learning new skills means paying for it yourself. Thankfully, there are plenty of free resources available that can help you learn how to use new software, speak a different language, develop a website and more. Whether you want to try out programming or just become a better public speaker, these professional development resources are free:

  • GCFLearnFree: GCFLearn Free offers free classes in three core areas: Microsoft, Work and Career and Everyday Life. For employees, the Microsoft courses can teach you advanced formulas in Excel or complex animations in PowerPoint. The Career section has great classes on writing an attention-grabbing resume and how to manage QuickBooks. For Everyday Life, you can get tips on filling out job applications or a timesheet. 
  • KhanAcademy: Whether you are getting ready to take your GMAT or MCAT tests or simply want to brush up on macroeconomics, Khan Academy is a fantastic resource for robust classes. Classes are completely free and sponsored by major companies to develop new talent, so you get a genuinely educational and hands-on experience.
  • EDX: Founded by Harvard University and MIT, EDX is an entirely free platform with hundreds of classes, from architecture to philosophy. You can also earn certificates to show proof of your new skills to your employer, potentially helping you land a promotion.
  • Udemy: Udemy is an excellent resource to learn specific skills, such as how to write and publish an eBook or the basics of a new language. Qualified experts offer classes. While there are classes that charge a fee, they have thousands of options that are completely free as well.
  • Alison: Unlike a lot of online learning sites, Alison offers certifications in different lines of studies, giving you the proof you need to land a new job or impress an interviewer. Alison has language courses in English, German, Spanish, French, Irish, Arabic, Swedish and Chinese, helping you participate in the new worldwide economy. They also offer comprehensive classes in other areas, including business accounting and finance management.

Continued learning is pivotal for improving your job outlook and to keep things new and exciting for you. Learning new skills can make you feel more engaged and satisfied with your work while empowering you with the tools you need to succeed. If your company will not pay for professional development and going back to school does not fit your schedule or your budget, these online learning resources can be a great way to improve your knowledge base.

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