Level-up: Free online courses to narrow the tech-skills gap

SOURCE: Alex Edelman/AFP
Stuck at home? Use online courses to brush up your tech knowledge. Alex Edelman/AFP

By U2B Staff 

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Online courses are basking in the limelight as COVID-19 disrupts universities across the globe. The pandemic has left many companies folding, leaving thousands of workers retrenched in its wake. 

This means if you’re among the thousands of professionals who are currently on the lookout for a new job, you might need to be patient as not all companies are hiring – and those that are may or may not be in the industry of your profession. This makes it an opportune time to upskill or reskill with the various free online courses available.

In its report, Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy, the World Economic Forum notes that tech skills dominate many jobs of the future, adding that digital skills will become increasingly critical to the world of work. 

And with technology advancing at lightning speed, reskilling and upskilling will be a norm for professionals looking to future-proof themselves. This is especially pertinent for professionals in the tech sector as companies work to keep pace with the changes happening within the industry. 

So whether you’re a tech professional who is looking to enhance your skillset or a non-tech professional who wants to complement your current certifications with some tech-related knowledge in preparation for our tech-driven era, here are some free online courses that might interest you:


Get a grasp of the basics

Non-tech professionals who want to get a grasp of the basics in areas such as app development, Swift (Apple’s programming language for building iOS applications) and the Linux system and the command-line interface can try Udacity, which is currently offering these courses for free.

These represent some of the platorm’s highly rated courses and can take anywhere between a week to a month to complete.

There are also intermediate and advanced level courses in areas such as product design, JavaScript testing and web accessibility, depending on your area of expertise.

Cybersecurity training 

Fortinet – a cybersecurity company – is offering free training for cybersecurity professionals, IT professionals and teleworkers until the end of 2020.

Their self-paced curriculum of cybersecurity training covers a myriad of areas, including basic cybersecurity awareness training to advanced training on security-driven networking, dynamic cloud security, AI-driven security operations and zero-trust network access.

The company notes that labs for these courses will be pre-recorded and available for on-demand viewing while recorded lab demos will be supplemented with regularly scheduled live sessions with Fortinet Certified Trainers who will demo labs and conduct Q&A sessions.


Build a foundation in fintech

Fintech (or financial technology) is everywhere – we use it for crowdfunding platforms to receive money from individuals or businesses around the globe in one place to mobile payments that have become an indispensable part of daily life. 

It is already disrupting the way businesses operate along with our personal finances, making it an apt time to understand this burgeoning sector.

Coursera offers a fintech course that helps beginners develop the fundamental building blocks of financial technologies and real-world applications through case studies.

Upskill in python

Are you an engineer?

According to the WEF report, some of the emerging jobs in engineering and cloud computing include the role of Python Developer. 

Coursera offers an intermediate course in Python and Statistics for Financial Analysis which combines both python coding and statistical concepts and applies into analysing financial data, such as stock data.

The programming language is quickly becoming among the most important programming languages for data science. 

Without a doubt, technology will remain a stronghold in many aspects of working life for the foreseeable future, making it essential for professionals across industries to continuously upskill themselves to avoid becoming redundant. 

Online courses can help narrow the skills gap to ensure everyone has a fair shot at upskilling and staying competitive in the workforce.