Learning the Skills You Need Online

The Internet is simultaneously the best and worst thing to have happened to contemporary society. Anybody who has been verbally abused during a game of Halo can attest to that. Heck, anybody identifying as female can tell you dozens of horror stories (we all remember Gamer Gate, right?). Even so, we’ve never lived in a time where it was easier to find information and learn new skills–and that is thanks to the Internet.

This is especially helpful for those who may not have access to good libraries or classes in which those skills are taught. Here are just some of the things you can teach yourself using the good ol’ World Wide Web:

Finance

You know the basics of spending and saving, but haven’t you always wanted to learn more? Today, anybody can go online and start reading financial articles and get tips and lessons on how to budget, how to manage their money and even how to invest.For example, Simpler Trading offers an online community setting where people who are new to investing and trading can learn from experienced investors and traders in real time, as well as through traditional lessons and webinars.Language

The days of relying upon tapes or CDs checked out of the library…well, they’re still around if that’s your style. If you’re more interested in conversational language instead of formal instructions, however, you’ll want to turn to the Internet. If you are an independent learner you can find courses in a bunch of different languages at OpenCulture.com. If you learn better by ear and in person, Verbal Planet matches students with tutors who teach their lessons over Skype.

There are also literally dozens of different translation apps that you can use for one-off trips out of the country.

Programming

It is really hard to find a field that isn’t governed and controlled at least partially by computers. We’re quickly moving away from an agrarian and manufacturing society and turning into a cyber society instead. Knowing how to code is definitely a skill that will help you deal with those changes. Learning code also opens up a plethora of employment opportunities that pay very well. You can take classes at Code Academy or Khan Academy for free (there are other sites too, but those are the best). If you want to focus on website development, you can learn at w3schools.com. If you don’t mind paying a small monthly fee, Treehouse is a fantastic resource for people who want to learn to code.

Music

Gone are the days of having to pay for lessons and track down a qualified teacher. Today if you want to learn to play the piano, guitar, ocarina, or whatever, there are dozens of portals for you to do so online. The simplest to use, of course, is YouTube. If you prefer something more structured, the Berklee college of music offers lessons online for free. If you want to focus on piano, there’s Hoffman Academy or Piano Nanny. There are tons of great and free resources online for the self directed music student.

Everything Else

Are you bummed that you zoned out for most of your history lectures in undergrad, or that you snored through Philosophy 101? Have you always wanted to learn to knit or sew but didn’t have the courage to ask someone to teach you? Do you dream of becoming the next Master Chef but don’t have the funds for a proper cooking class? All of these subjects can be found online. For the more formal educational topics, there are resources like UDemy, Coursera, and Edx. Many universities put some of their courses up on the web for free. For more practical skills, like crafting and cooking, there are so many different YouTube channels and websites out there that to list them here would take all day!

Take some time to explore. If there’s a subject you’re interested in, a simple “[SUBJECT] free online classes” Google search should turn up plenty of results you can explore!

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