The best online courses to take in 2020

In today’s competitive world we need to constantly upgrade our skills just to remain relevant. Technology has become pervasive. The demands of industry are always evolving. Here are some skill acquisition ideas that can greatly improve employability and earning potential.

Software development

Coders and developers are a breed apart. According to DataUSA more than 1.4 million professionals in the US are employed as software developers. The job can involve creating, building, and maintaining applications and frameworks for just about everything. There are many types of developers. Some build websites, some create mobile apps, and others design the many software applications that we use on our computers. Software development opportunities intersect with domains such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and blockchains. To be a developer one must know one or more programming languages such as JS, Python, PHP, C#, and others. There are many ways to learn these languages online. For example Microsoft offers online courses in Java and C++. Some of these courses are free. Course durations average about 4 weeks, with investments of 5-10 hours per week. Technical skills and computer basics are prerequisites, although one needs no formal qualifications to enroll. Depending on skill and prior experience the annual starting salary for an entry level software developer in the US can be $73,000.

Graphics design

Images and illustrations are integral parts of everyday life. Graphics Designers are creative people who harness the power of computing to unravel boundless imagination and produce art. They are highly sought after in almost every industry. Graphics Designers are particularly valued in marketing, advertising, manufacturing, and all branches of media. An online course in graphics design can teach you how to make logos, images, animation, and a range of promotional content. The California Institute of Art offers online graphics design courses through Coursera. The course duration is 6 months (3 hours per week). There are no prerequisite qualifications to enroll. One can easily send money online to pay for the course, and start right away. Starting salaries for graphics designers in the US are about $45,000 per year. There is also a range of freelance work always available for these professionals on platforms such as Upwork. The average hourly wage is $25.

Data analysis

Data analysis entails making sense of sets of data to improve real-life decisions. Various tools are used to collect, organize, homogenize, and process data. Analytics-based decisions are often more reliable than heuristics-based ones. Data science is one of the fastest growing domains today. It has applications in all sciences, business, governance, and education. Exceptional logical aptitude and curiosity are the defining qualities of good Data Scientists. Data Analysts specialize in tools such as Python, SQL, and data visualization applications. There are many online courses to learn these skills. The course duration is usually 6-8 weeks, with an investment of 3-5 hours per week. Data Analysts’ starting salaries in the US average $60,000 per year.

IT support

Many organizations like to outsource their IT infrastructure and maintenance. IT support professionals often work remotely. They may assist entities that range in size from small startups to global giants like Wal-Mart. IT support courses include topics such as remote assistance and system data recovery. IT support professionals are focused, flexible, and have very good technical skills. Microsoft offers a free course on IT Support Cloud and troubleshooting, which can be completed in 4 weeks (2-4 hours per week). The course is open to everyone. The annual starting salary for IT support professionals is about $50,000.

Digital marketing

Marketing brings businesses closer to their customers via well-made and strategically placed online ads. These advertisements may be displayed on websites and social media. Interestingly online courses on digital marketing require no prior knowledge of marketing. A good Digital Marketer possesses great communication skills and analytical thinking. Google offers free digital marketing courses with certification. Learners can complete these courses at their own pace. The average salary for digital marketing managers in the US is $65,000 per year. Many professionals go on to create their own digital marketing agencies.

About the author:

Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.

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