From coding to web design – 10 awesome, affordable ways to learn new tech skills2013-06-21 8
Want to learn how to code, build a website or develop an app but don’t know where to start? Have a new tech-related career in mind but don’t have time (or money) to educate yourself through a university?
With the internet-driven economy now outpacing traditional sectors and wave of companies reinventing higher education, NOW is a good time to pursue these goals. Here are our picks for quality and cost-effective ways to learn or update your tech skills…
Why it’s worth checking out: Headed by 22-year-old Zach Sims, the company has built an online learning community with a hands-on approach to coding. To date, Codecademy has raised $12.5m in funding from the likes of Union Square Ventures, SV Angel and Kleiner Perkins.
If you want to learn: Computer science, IT, design (eg startup engineering, social networks, algorithms)
What: This education company partners with leading universities to offer free online courses for anyone to take.
Why it’s worth checking out: Coursera was founded by two Stanford University computer science professors and has reportedly over 3.2 million students worldwide. The courses, run by partner universities such as Princeton and Brown University, are now available in six languages.
If you want to learn: Tech (eg web design, programming, iOS/Android development, user experience)
What: For $25-$45 per month, Treehouse offers access to a programme library, exercises and project feedback.
Why it’s worth checking out: Compared to traditional means of tech education, Treehouse provides affordable curriculums for people looking to develop skills to become a web designer or mobile developer, among other things. In April, the company secured a $7m Series B round.
If you want to learn: Computer science (eg SaaS, computer graphics, programming)
What: Founded by Harvard and MIT, this non-profit online learning platform offers free courses for everyone.
Why it’s worth checking out: With a combined sum of $60m from these two renowned education institutions to support the project, the edX platform provides interactive online course material and instant feedback from leading universities so you can learn at your own pace.
If you want to learn: Tech, design, business (eg digital marketing, product design, mobile development)
What: This global education network offers paid in-person courses and workshops as well as free on-demand online videos.
Why it’s worth checking out: General Assembly takes a “learning-by-doing” model and is taught by industry experts. With about $14.3m in financing, courses are currently available in London, New York, Berlin, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, Boston and Los Angeles.
If you want to learn: Computer science (eg algorithms, web development, software testing)
What: This education startup offers free massive open online courses (MOOCs) to make higher education more accessible to everyone.
Why it’s worth checking out: Taught by university professors and industry experts (from Google and Reddit among others), Udacity offers interactive course material, an online learning community as well as certificates of completion. To date, the company has received $20m in funding.
If you want to learn: HTML, CSS, how to launch your own website
What: “Led by women, for women.” This New York-based startup aims to make tech education more accessible with comprehensive paid courses.
Why it’s worth checking out: If you’ve been itching to start your own website/portfolio but don’t know where to begin, Skillcrush 101 is an affordable way to get started. The three-week online class includes interactive learning material, one-on-one office hours and personal feedback.
If you want to learn: Tech (eg Google Analytics, MySQL database, Photoshop, Android development, Python)
What: Launched in 2010, this learning marketplace offers both free and paid online video-based courses.
Why it’s worth checking out: Udemy, which is backed by $16m in financing, offers a wide variety of tech courses for learners and an iOS app for learning on-the-go. Educators who teach on the platform get to keep 70 per cent of revenue from the paid courses.
If you want to learn: Software, design, business (eg game design, CMS, cloud computing, programming)
What: With a monthly fee of $25 or $37.50, members of this online learning platform obtain unlimited access to a library of almost 2000 courses.
Why it’s worth checking out: Founded in 1995, Lynda.com is a veteran in the online education space with over two million users and offers its expert-taught courses on the web, a mobile browser site, iPhone and iPad. In January, the company raised its first funding round of $103m.
10) Khan Academy
If you want to learn: Computer science (eg animation, programming, user interaction)
What: This non-profit education website lets anyone utilise its learning materials and resources for free.
Why it’s worth checking out: Khan Academy features bite-sized learning videos and integrated game mechanics that help you learn at your own pace. Founded by Salman Khan – a graduate from MIT and Harvard Business School, and voted by TIME as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2012 – the platform has raised $7.2m in grant funding.
featured image – © vladgrin – Fotolia.com
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