New year, new you. Or at least, an improved you. As 2018 kicks off, you might be thinking about boosting your job performance or beefing up your resume. But maybe you don’t have a ton of free time or money, or the thought of going back to school freaks you out. Well, the internet is here to help.
If you’re just looking to expand your digital marketing skillset without breaking the bank or committing time to a full degree, then give one of these online certification courses a try. Read on to see what each website offers.
1. Google Digital Garage
No matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, Google Digital Garage offers a solid foundation course on digital marketing. Composed of short videos and small quizzes, the program divides the online marketing and advertising world into seven easy-to-digest lessons. Topics include search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, and display advertising.
Signing up for the Digital Garage course is free. After setting up your profile, you can take a diagnostic survey to develop a personalized lesson plan. Taking the survey isn’t required, but it can show you which topics should get your full attention.
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When you complete each lesson, you earn a badge, with 23 badges in total. Once you receive your last badge, you’re eligible to take the final certification exam. The free exam is made of multiple choice and true-or-false questions and covers a range of content presented in the lessons.
If you pass, Google will send you a printable certificate of completion, proving that you understand the basics of online marketing.
2. The Web Developer Bootcamp
Compared to the other courses in this article, the Web Developer Bootcamp will take you a long time to complete. In some ways, it’s like a college course. There’s around 43 hours of video lectures, mini-coding assignments, downloadable readings, and major coding projects, including a final, fully functional application. If you get stuck on a topic, you can email the teaching assistant or go to the forums and ask other students for help.
Unfortunately, this course is also expensive, with a price tag of $200, but for the quality of the instruction, it’s worth it. If you want to take this class but don’t currently have the funds, wait it out; Udemy has many sales throughout the year.
3. Cybrary Open Source Learning
2017 was the year of the cyber attack. From the WannaCry ransomware attack to the Equifax breach fiasco, companies got a taste of what could happen if someone breached their security measures.
If you work in the digital space, having a grasp on cybersecurity is more important than ever, but taking the time and energy to navigate an ever-evolving topic can be intimidating. That’s where Cybrary comes in.
This online platform has user-friendly certification courses and interactive labs on cutting-edge topics like cloud computing, network security, malware, and data protection. While Cybrary offers courses for all experience levels, you’ll get the most out of its programs if you have basic IT knowledge.
Accessing course material is free, but taking certification exams will cost you. Cybrary uses a credit system called Cybytes to “pay” for test fees. You can earn Cybytes by logging in daily, interacting with other members, and filling out your profile. If you’re feeling charitable, you can also donate to Cybrary and receive some Cybytes as a thank-you gift.
4. HubSpot Academy
As one of the top authorities on inbound marketing, it’s no surprise HubSpot developed a comprehensive library of lessons about the topic.
The HubSpot Academy website lists a number of certification courses that tackle inbound marketing, inbound sales, content marketing, and email marketing, to name a few. Most of the courses are free to take, but some are only available for HubSpot customers and partners.
Like Google Digital Garage, videos are the main teaching tool in HubSpot certification courses. Some topics, like Content Marketing, have downloadable workbooks you can fill out, although completing the workbooks isn’t necessary to pass. You can work through each course at your own pace, meaning you don’t have to sit down and watch four hours of video all at once.
When you pass a final exam, HubSpot rewards you with a downloadable certification that you can share on LinkedIn and Twitter.
5. Cognitive Class
In the quest to teach the world about big data, IBM developed a free training website: Cognitive Class. You might have known it by its previous name, Big Data University. IBM believes data analytics education should be accessible to people from all backgrounds and skill levels, simply because this field is growing more crucial day by day.
If you ever wanted to learn more about in-depth data science, artificial intelligence, or machine learning, then consider taking a free Cognitive Class course. You don’t need to be a programmer to understand most content, especially in classes aimed at beginners.
I took the Build Your Own Chatbot course, which required you to tap into the IBM Bluemix catalog and work directly with Watson Conversation, a software program. For the record, I have absolutely no background in programming, but I was still able to follow along with the videos and tutorials. In the end, I built a functioning chatbot for my blog.
Upon completing a basic course, you’ll get a certificate of completion and an IBM Open Digital Badge that you can share on social media.