10 Affordable Online Courses You Should Take to Boost Your Career

So you’re eager to learn and want to soak up all of the new information you can possibly get your hands on. The only problem? Well, you graduated—and are beginning to feel like all of kinds of learning officially stops. Now, you just grind away at the day job you’ve essentially already mastered but, just maybe, are still itching to pick up some new skills, expand your knowledge, and diversify your expertise.

But where can you go to do that? It’s easy to feel like you don’t have that many helpful resources available to you, and signing up for classes at your local community college can be shockingly pricey. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, you actually have tons of different tools and educational opportunities right at your fingertips, all in the form of online courses.

If you haven’t tried an online course before, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. They can be a cheap (sometimes even free!) way to grow your skillset from the convenience of home or your favorite coffee shop. Many of them allow you to move at your own pace—meaning you can work it into your schedule, and not the other way around.

Online courses are a cheap way to grow your skillset right from home.

Plus, the variety of courses available is virtually limitless. From programming or design to branding or writing—if you can name it, there’s likely an online course for it. Even better? They’re a surefire way to pick up some impressive new skills and boost your professional reputation in the process.

Are you convinced and ready to jump right in? Here are 10 great online courses that are sure to help you step up your game.

Social Media Marketing

The course: Social Media Superhero, The Nectar Collective
The cost: $37
Whether you work full-time managing the social profiles for your employer, or you’re aiming to take your own personal or business brand to the next level on social, this course is what you’ve been looking for. You’ll cover all of the big outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Periscope, and learn helpful and impactful strategies for each. Forget those painful seminars that offer detailed descriptions of how to login to your Facebook page—you’re sure to walk away from this course with information that’s actually useful.

Design

The course: Beginners Adobe Photoshop, Adobe KnowHow
The cost: Free
If you’re like me, Photoshop is one of those things you’ve been meaning to learn more about, but you never quite get around to it. This course is incredibly comprehensive, and will cover everything from cropping and working with text to brush tools and layers. Needless to say, this is a course I’ll be taking in the not-so-distant future.

Branding

The course: How to Design a Brand, CreatorUp
The cost: $40
So you don’t have a background in marketing? Well then, even the word “branding” is likely enough to send a shiver up your spine. But if you’re thinking of launching your own business or side gig, it’s an important element you need to have a solid handle on. In this online course, you’ll learn how to build a brand strategy, leverage your brand effectively, and even come up with a great logo. Consider it a crash course.

If you’re thinking of launching your own business or side gig, branding is an important element you need to have a solid handle on.

Entrepreneurship

The course: How to Build a Startup, Udacity
The cost: Free
Starting a business feels a lot like standing at the very bottom of Mt. Everest and looking upwards. It seems insurmountable at times, but then there are those moments when it’s absolutely thrilling. Nobody knows that feeling better than Steve Blank—a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and the person who teaches this course. From him, you’ll learn how to set your startup up for success by gathering research and validating your ideas early on in the process.

Programming

The course: Introduction to Web Development: HTML, Udemy
The cost: $9
Programming is undoubtedly one of those skills I wished I had bothered learning much earlier on—it has so many practical applications and uses today! But, luckily, it’s never too late to get started. This course is designed for the absolute beginner, so you don’t have to worry about getting started and already feeling lost. While you won’t walk away and immediately know how to design a flawless website, but these lessons will definitely arm you with the knowledge and basics you need to take the next step.

Project Management

The course: Project Management: The Basics for Success, Coursera
The cost: Free
Whether you’re working a standard 9 to 5 or running your own business, knowing how to successfully manage projects is crucial. This course will help you learn how to effectively handle all of those moving parts involved with a project, as well as how to lead and manage a team. Make sure to choose “Audit Only” to access only the course materials, free of charge.

Photography

The course: The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners, CreativeLive
The cost: $39
It may be hard to believe that you can learn something as creative as photography online. But, it turns out, you can! In this beginner’s course, you’ll get familiar with your camera, as well learn all of the basics of photography (including lighting and composition). It’s the perfect starting point before moving on to more advanced lessons.

Communication

The course: Introduction to Public Speaking, edX
The cost: Free
Even the best of us get sweaty-palmed and shaky-kneed at the thought of getting up to talk in front of a group. This course will teach you how to develop and deliver clear and informative arguments and presentations. The best part? There’s interactive practice involved. As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect!”

Writing

The course: Secret Sauce of Great Writing, Udemy
The cost: Free
Writing isn’t as easy as some people like to think it is. In fact, I’m willing to bet all of us have had moments when we’ve sat down to type something—only to stare at a blinking text cursor for a half hour. Throughout these lessons, you’ll learn all of the essentials of solid and clear writing including simplicity, clarity, and elegance.

Whether you’re currently running your own business or are climbing the ladder at your 9 to 5, additional skills and expertise are never bad things.

Finance

The course: Introduction to Financial Accounting, Coursera
The cost: Free
Whether you’re trying to master the financial side of your own business or you feel overwhelmed in staff meetings when people start talking about cash flow and balance sheets, this course will provide everything you need to know to feel a little less confused. Note: Just the course materials themselves are free so if you want access to the graded materials and receive a certificate, you’ll need to pay.

There you have it! 10 online courses that are sure to make you better, more well-rounded, and impressive. Whether you’re currently running your own business or are climbing the ladder at your 9 to 5, additional skills and expertise are never bad things. So, go ahead and give one or two of these courses a try!

Have you taken any online courses that you’ve loved? We’re always looking for more recommendations!