Business is changing at a rapid-fire pace every day. Twenty years ago, the internet was barely alive. Google hadn't even registered their domain name yet, and MySpace and your top eight friends on MySpace didn't exist yet. Ten years ago, we found out practically everyone liked sunsets, kitten videos, and long walks on the beach.
Now, we live in a world of 140 character Tweets and marketing campaigns targeted to last a few seconds, because that's all the attention we can spare when we're online.
Today, taking a day off from the digital world means falling behind and missing out. And opting out of the digital lifestyle altogether means exiling yourself from career opportunities and letting the competition outpace you. Fortunately, there are ways to stay up to date and gain an edge over tomorrow's competition. If you are looking to move up in your career, check out these 12 learning sites to help you level up and get ahead in the work force.
1. Code Academy
As the name implies, Code Academy teaches you to fluently write code. Everything from simple HTML to more advanced languages including PHP and jQuery are covered. Code Academy has helped more than 24 million people learn the ropes of coding. The best part? It's free.
2. General Assembly/Dash
The goal of General Assembly (and Dash) is to "transform thinkers into creators." It's a dream come true for an entrepreneur hungry to learn and even hungrier to get ahead. The site covers subjects like Web development, marketing, product design and management, and business fundamentals.
Treehouse is another innovative site teaching the basics of coding, and they offer some business classes as well. Some big name companies, such as AOL and Twitter, are also using Treehouse. But what sets it apart? For every sign-up to a premium upgrade Pro account, Treehouse will donate another account to a public school student for free.
If you're not one of the 4 million people already using Lynda, you should be. For only $25, members get access to over 3,000 courses. That's less than $0.08 cents per course. Not a bad investment, when you consider the potential payoff to learning coding and other skills. You can sign up for a long-term subscription or even just a single month to learn a new skill.
Skillshare is another easy option for boosting your skills through online learning. The company's unique power is found in the types of classes it offers. From learning visual storytelling to how to chug beer faster, there is no shortage to the types of classes available. Students only pay $10 a month for unlimited access, and instructors teaching a class with more than 25 sign-ups receive a paycheck.
Udemy offers self-paced courses based on micro-lectures, webinars, and slide presentations. Some of the courses are free, with other advanced topics and longer courses carrying a fee. One of the upsides to Udemy is you pay by the course instead of per month.
7. MIT OpenCourseWare
MIT OpenCourseWare offers Web-based publication of all course content at MIT, and it's 100 percent free. Not only do you get access to the same Introduction to Finance course that freshman students at MIT take, but you can follow it up with a graduate course in Analytical Economics as well.
Another major skill-building website, Coursera offers both timed and self-paced courses from leading universities around the country. Each course ranges between four and 12 weeks and can be audited for free. But tuition is required if you want to receive a certification of completion.
Udacity offers niche online courses like the others on this list, but with a twist. Because it partners with different universities, you can earn an accredited nanodegree recognized by large employers like Salesforce and AT&T.
10. Class Central
Class Central isn't exactly a learning site, but is designed to help you navigate choices. The site functions as an overview and review site for many options discussed on this list, including Coursera and Udemy, making it a great way to figure out which site best fits your needs as an entrepreneur-student.
Best described as the Craigslist of learning, Dabble allows anyone to host and teach small classes. The array of topics is simply unfathomable, from grant writing to coffee painting. Though most classes are based in Chicago right now, the website plans to offer digital courses soon as well.
While offering classes on topics such as wedding planning, MentorMob also has a plethora of options in entrepreneurship as well. From managing financial resources to pirate metrics, there's something for you.
What class are you taking right now to better yourself and advance your career? Share in the comments below.