Go Back to School With These Online Courses for Continuous Learning

Go Back to School With These Online Courses for Continuous Learning
continuous learning 2017

Is it just me, or does September make you crave crisp new clothes, unsullied notebooks, and freshly sharpened pencils? Even if you’ve been done with school for decades (or rely only on laptops and haven’t used a pencil in years), the beginning of September still sparks a flood of nostalgia for years of learning gone by.

Just because you’ve long since graduated/dropped out/never even thought about getting a degree doesn’t mean you can’t head back to school. Continuous learning is essential for high-achieving individuals, and the reality is that the world we live in moves so fast that you need to constantly work hard to keep up to speed.

That’s why we’re sharing 20 suggested courses across five different online learning platforms to help level up your skills as a digital professional. For each platform, we’ll recommend a course for freelancers, agencies, app developers, and affiliate marketers.

Not all courses are created equally. It’s important to take note of social proof indicators to make sure you’re selecting a quality learning experience. Keep an eye out for things like:

  • Ratings: What’s the average rating the course has received from enrollees?
  • Reviews: How many overall reviews have been left behind, and what percentage of them are positive?
  • Enrollees: How many people overall have taken the course?
  • Previews: Many online sites give you access to the curriculum, or part of a lesson so you can take a peek and see if it looks right for you.
  • Launch date: Content can get stale fast, so make sure the content was published or updated relatively recently.

Okay, now sit down, grab an apple, and get ready to learn.


Udemy

continuous learning udemy

Udemy offers more than 55,000 online courses, and allows you lifetime access to them once you’ve enrolled, which means you can take as long as you like or need to complete them. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you’ll get notifications of courses relevant to your interests that are on sale. Many of them are around the $10 mark, which is very easy to justify when it comes to continuous learning.

Course: Account Management for Beginners

If you’re new to the freelance world and need to learn how to effectively and professionally manage relationships (and expectations) with your clients, this is a great place to start. Learn how to build trust and tackle difficult conversations with your clients, with practical examples and case studies to illustrate lessons.

Perfect for: Freelancers
Price:
 $15 CAD
Rating: 4.4 / 5 (74 ratings)

Course: Best Marketing to Promote an Agency or Consulting Business

Gain insights into how to get more traffic and clients for your agency, with a focus on topics like your portfolio, SEO, business networking, branding, and social media. Topics range from how to increase your sales conversion rate, to using Facebook ads to you business’s advantage.

Perfect for: Agencies
Price:
$15 CAD
Rating: 5.0 / 5 (17 ratings)

Course: The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0

This absolute behemoth of a course will give you access to 304 lectures, totalling more than 30 hours of footage. You’ll learn web development by building 25 websites and mobile apps using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, MySQL, and more.

Perfect for: App Developers
Price:
$15 CAD
Rating: 4.7 / 5 (27,151 reviews)

Course: Learn How to Build High Quality Affiliate Websites

Course instructor Andrew Williams has been building affiliate websites for more than a decade. Over the years, he’s learned how to maximize his affiliate marketing efforts, and make sure that Google favors you instead of penalizing you. He covers topics like deciding on a niche and how to set up a blog, and introduces you to multiple tools to help you become a successful affiliate.

Perfect for: Affiliate Marketers
Price:
$15 CAD
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (399 reviews)


Skillshare

continuous learning skillshare

With more than 17,000 available courses and a community of more than two million students, Skillshare is a trusted platform favored by many continuous learners. Every Skillshare course includes a project for the student to complete, allowing them to exchange feedback with other people taking the course, and share their progress. There’s no homepage search bar, however, and you need to create an account before they allow you to customize your course preferences and access their search functionality. Unlike other platforms where you pay per course, Skillshare offers a subscription service that allows you to access all of their courses for a fee of $15 per month, or $8.25 per month if you commit to an annual subscription.

Course: How to Price Your Design Jobs and Get Paid on Time

Specifically for artists, designers, illustrators, and hand letterers (but generally applicable to businesspeople of all types), this course outlines the worksheet that the instructor uses to determine the price of the projects she takes on. The course helps you identify your level of experience, teaches you to write a proper quote for clients, and shows you how to invoice like a pro.

Perfect for: Freelancers
Rating:
153 positive reviews (out of 157)
Students: 1,502

Course: Shopify Essentials for Web Developers: From Store Setups to Custom Themes

Taught by our very own Shopify Plus Partner Kurt Elster from Ethercycle, this course outlines how to set up, design, build, and customize a Shopify ecommerce store. The class project for this course allows you to launch your first Shopify development store with a basic customizable theme, and shows you how to tweak it based on the most common requests Kurt gets from his clients.

Perfect for: Agencies
Rating: 147 positive reviews (out of 149)
Students: 3,737

Course: How to Make Apps With No Programming Experience

This course claims to provide “the fastest way to learn how to code and start marking industry standard apps.” Created by the London App Brewery, the content is geared towards beginners with no coding experience, and one of their projects will teach you to make a shakeable dice app for iOS.

Perfect for: App Developers
Rating:
52 positive reviews (out of 53)
Students: 4,382

Course: Affiliate Marketing Without the Competition

If you’re looking to establish yourself as an affiliate marketer and set yourself apart from the competition, this course claims to help you do just that. You’ll learn how to choose the right affiliate product or service to back, how to promote it effectively, and how to start bringing in sales. This course has no completed projects posted by students, but looks like an excellent starting point for anyone interested in affiliate marketing.

Perfect for: Affiliate Marketers
Rating:
6 positive reviews (out of 6)
Students: 478

You might also like: 8 Easy Ways to Master Continual Learning in the Web Design and Development Industry.


Lynda.com

continuous learning lynda

Lynda focuses on helping “anyone learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.” In addition to focusing on individuals, Lynda offers organizational memberships so that entire teams and companies can take advantage of their portfolio of online courses. Lynda also offers a subscription-based plans, from $19.99 to $29.99 per month, with a free trial to test it out first. Unfortunately, Lynda doesn’t have a very good course rating system, so with the exception of “views,” it’s difficult to rank the quality of each individual course.

Course: Freelancing Foundations

If you’re thinking of transitioning to freelancing, or have just recently done so, you might want to check this course out. The instructor highlights how to maximize your resources, refine your portfolio for client pitches, and estimate costs so you don’t get caught off-guard. There’s even a bonus chapter that highlights answers to Freelancer 101 questions, like how to find work and how to increase your rate.

Perfect for: Freelancers
Views:
639,944

Course: Workflow Tools for Web Developers

Get introduced to various browser tools that will make your development workload more efficient. That includes tools to help you analyze and test your code, text editors, and shortcuts to automate repetitive tasks. You’ll learn about inspecting HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and use front end frameworks and preprocessors, among other things.

Perfect for: Agencies
Views:
55,630

Course: Become an Android Mobile App Developer

A specially-promoted Lynda product, this course offers you 24 hours of video tutorials from three senior app developers. You’ll learn the skills needed to build Android apps, and the recommended tools you can use to build them, including Android Studio. From how to develop a basic app to distributing it when it’s ready, these 10 mini-courses are all wrapped into one meaty, educational package.

Perfect for: App Developers
Views:
Not listed

Course: Affiliate Marketing Foundations

Gain insights on basic affiliate marketing techniques, or brush up on your existing skills. This course covers topics like payment models, typical affiliate agreements, winning tactics and techniques, as well as the day-to-day practices you should employ for maximum success as an affiliate marketer.

Perfect for: Affiliate Marketers
Views:
249,765


Coursera

continuous learning coursera

Coursera was founded by two Stanford Computer Science professors who wanted to expand the reach of the programs they were teaching. They teamed up with top instructors from the world’s most respected universities and post-secondary institutions to offer online courses. Each completed course earns you an electronic certificate, and costs between $29 to $99. You can also earn real, university-recognized degrees in fields like business, computer science, and data science over one to three years of study, for between $15,000 to $25,000. Boasting more than 25 million learners, 149 university partners, and more than 2,000 courses, Coursera is a legitimate bet for improving your skills. The downside? Many of these courses are taught during a specified schedule, so you can’t just enroll anytime — you have to wait until the next course begins. Also, not all courses have a public ranking system to determine which courses have been more well-received than others.

Course: Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business Specialization

This four-course series is taught by the University of Maryland, and focuses on helping you craft a business model that will allow you to successfully launch a new business. The final assignment for this course includes creating a comprehensive business model, including a business plan and pitch — they focus on investor pitches for companies seeking out financing, but the art of the pitch is valuable for anyone looking to win business. This course begins on September 18 2017, so there’s still time to enroll!

Perfect for: Freelancers
Rating:
Not available

Course: Leadership Development for Engineers

For professional engineers who are interested in pursuing leadership or management roles, this three-course specialization degree offered by RICE University in Texas begins on September 11. The course will cover topics like goal-setting and planning methods, coaching and mentorship techniques, conflict resolution skills, and setting up a creative environment for your team.

Perfect for: Agencies
Rating:
Not available

Course: iOS App Development With Swift

The University of Toronto offers this four-course specialization program for anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of iOS application development in the Swift programming language. Learn how to use development tools like XCode, and integrate camera and location information into your app. Your final course project will allow you to build a functioning photo editing app to test out your skills. The course begins on September 4, but gives you the opportunity to enroll even when the course has already begun.

Perfect for: App Developers
Rating:
Not available

Course: Digital Marketing

Not much for you on Coursera, unfortunately, but this general Digital Marketing specialization might still hold some value for you. The included courses cover topics including digital marketing analytics, SEO, social media marketing, and even 3D printing (new side hustle, perhaps?). In 2016, this course was one of the top 10 specializations offered on Coursera. This particular course starts on September 20.

Perfect for: Affiliate Marketers
Rating:
Not available

You might also like: 5 Free (and Fun) Online Learning Resources for Designers and Developers.


Youtube

continuous learning youtube

The first thing that pops into your head when you think of Youtube may be cat videos, but we all know that Youtube offers so much more than that. This video-sharing platform is the way that many of our successful Shopify Partners got started, like Mohammadu Mifras in Sri Lanka. Best of all, most courses are free, there are literally millions to choose from, and you can easily evaluate the course based on views and likes. Although there is no formal certification, and all courses are definitely NOT created equal, Youtube is a great place to turn if you’re looking for more informal learning and don’t want to invest a lot of time or money into an official online learning platform.

Course: Brad Hussey on Becoming a Successful Freelance Developer

With just over half an hour of footage, this obviously isn’t a deep dive into the topic, but it’s a good place to start. The host (Simple Programmer) interviews Brad Hussey, a freelance web developer and programmer, who has hosted courses on Udemy and Youtube in the past. Simple Programmer also offers you the option to subscribe to their newsletter and blog for additional updates on the topic.

Perfect for: Freelancers
Views:
10,622
Rating: 201 thumbs up, 7 thumbs down

Course: How to Design an Agency Landing Page

A Product Designer turned Youtuber named Mackenzie Child created this 12-part series to show you how to design a beautiful landing page for your agency (side note: it doesn’t look like he’s completed all 12 parts yet). In week one, he shares the UI design he created for an agency he invented for teaching purposes, called SuperMegaAwesome.

Perfect for: Agencies
Views:
58,023
Rating: 870 thumbs up, 9 thumbs down

Course: How to Build Your First Shopify App

Shopify’s very own Josh Brown teaches a one-hour course on how to build an app on the Shopify platform, and discusses how Shopify apps can become a significant source of passive income for your business. You’ll learn how to conduct market research for feedback on your app concept, use Shopify’s Embedded App SDK, and get your app published in the Shopify App Store.

Perfect for: App Developers
Views:
13,540
Rating: 53 thumbs up, 8 thumbs down

Course: 10 Examples of Million Dollar Affiliate Marketing Websites

This nearly three-hour Youtube video goes over 10 different case study examples of websites that are making millions via affiliate marketing, including the creator’s own site, Project Life Mastery.

Perfect for: Affiliate Marketers
Views:
41,469
Rating: 627 thumbs up, 15 thumbs down

Are you currently enrolled in an online course, or had great experiences with one in the past? Post your suggestions for continuous learning in the comments below.

About the Author

Courtney is a former journalist, self-published author, and the head of content for Shopify's Partner Program. She lives in a log cabin big enough to fit all of her books.

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