Every year around this time, Class Central, a clearing-house site for online courses, releases its list of the year's top classes. I've covered these rankings for years now and, generally speaking, they're pretty similar. Classes on hot tech topics like machine learning are popular, as are courses promising to teach you to be happier or learn faster. Basic business skills like Excel also attract a lot of students for easy-to-understand reasons. 

But this year, when Class Central founder Dhawal Shah emailed me a heads-up that his company's latest list was out, I was shocked when I clicked over. This year's edition looks exclusively at newly launched classes, ranking them by the number of students who enrolled. And, as I scanned down the list, the same provider was taking up nearly all the slots. 

It wasn't a classic prestige school like Stanford or Yale. It was Google. What's up with that? 

As I've covered elsewhere previously, Google recently launched a series of certificate programs for in-demand careers like UX design and project management, promising to train newcomers to these fields to be ready for entry-level roles in as little as six months. It looks like tons of people are taking the company up on its offer. 

"One-fifth of all the courses in the most popular list came from Google. The most popular course has over half a million enrollments," reports Class Central. 

If you want to check out what all the fuss is about, have a look at the top 25 new free online classes below (I removed one English as a foreign language class and one highly technical course on biomedical research, which aren't relevant to Inc.com readers): 

  1. Foundations: Data, Data, Everywhere from Google via Coursera: This course introduces "the world of data analytics through hands-on curriculum developed by Google."

  2. Foundations of Project Management from Google via Coursera. The first of a series of six, this course is designed "to equip you with the skills you need to apply to introductory-level roles in project management."

  3. Foundations of User Experience (UX) Design from Google via Coursera. The first of a series of seven courses, it "will equip you with the skills needed to apply to entry-level jobs in user experience design."

  4. Ask Questions to Make Data-Driven Decisions from Google via Coursera. This one "will help you learn how to ask effective questions to make data-driven decisions." 

  5. Prepare Data for Exploration from Google via Coursera. In this class "you'll learn how to use tools like spreadsheets and SQL to extract and make use of the right data for your objectives and how to organize and protect your data."

  6. Project Initiation: Starting a Successful Project from Google via Coursera. "This course will show you how to set a project up for success in the first phase of the project life cycle: the project initiation phase."

  7. Process Data From Dirty to Clean from Google via Coursera. "In this course, you'll continue to build your understanding of data analytics and the concepts and tools that data analysts use in their work."

  8. Start the UX Design Process: Empathize, Define, and Ideate from Google via Coursera. "In this course, you'll complete the first phases of the design process for a project that you'll be able to include in your portfolio."

  9. Psychological First Aid: Supporting Children and Young People from Public Health England via FutureLearn. No extra credit for guessing why this one was popular in the time of Covid. It teaches adults "to support children and young people's mental health during emergencies and crisis situations."

  10. Analyze Data to Answer Questions from Google via Coursera. In this one you move along to "explore the 'analyze' phase of the data analysis process." 

  11. Excel for Everyone: Core Foundations from the University of British Columbia via edX. "Learn Excel fundamentals including data wrangling, spreadsheet management, and basic data analysis."

  12. Data Analysis With R Programming from Google via Coursera. "You'll discover how R lets you clean, organize, analyze, visualize, and report data in new and more powerful ways." 

  13. Introduction to Statistics from Stanford University via Coursera. This course is designed to help you "gain the foundational skills that prepare you to pursue more advanced topics in statistical thinking and machine learning."

  14. Share Data Through the Art of Visualization from Google via Coursera. "This course will show you how data visualizations, such as visual dashboards, can help bring your data to life. You'll also explore Tableau, a data visualization platform."

  15. Agile Project Management from Google via Coursera. "This course will explore the history, approach, and philosophy of Agile project management, including the Scrum framework."

  16. Project Planning: Putting It All Together from Google via Coursera. "This course will explore how to map out a project in the second phase of the project life cycle: the project planning phase."

  17. Google Data Analytics Capstone: Complete a Case Study from Google via Coursera. The eighth course in the Google Data Analytics Certificate. "You'll have the opportunity to complete an optional case study, which will help prepare you for the data analytics job hunt."

  18. Nature-based Solutions for Disaster and Climate Resilience from SDG Academy via edX. Another course on the list that speaks to the anxieties of our time. It aims to answer: "What are 'nature-based solutions,' or NbS? How can they help build resilience to disasters and climate-change impacts? Why is NbS relevant? How can I apply NbS in my work and everyday life?"

  19. Build Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes from Google via Coursera. "In this course, you'll continue to design a mobile app for your professional UX portfolio."

  20. AWS Cloud Technical Essentials from Amazon Web Services via Coursera. A course for those in a technical role who want to learn the fundamentals of AWS.  

  21. Project Execution: Running the Project from Google via Coursera. "This course will delve into the execution and closing phases of the project life cycle." 

  22. Python Project for Data Science from IBM via Coursera. "This mini-course is intended for you to demonstrate foundational Python skills for working with data. The completion of this course involves working on a hands-on project." 

  23. Conduct UX Research and Test Early Concepts from Google via Coursera. "In this course, you will learn how to plan and conduct a usability study to gather feedback about designs."

  24. AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials from Amazon Web Services via Coursera. This course provides an understanding of "fundamental AWS Cloud concepts to help you gain confidence to contribute to your organization's cloud initiatives."

  25. Introduction to Google Workspace Administration from Google Cloud via Coursera. In this course "you will be introduced to your Cloud Directory and will learn how to split your organization into organizational units to simplify user and service management."