45 free online classes you can take (and finish) by the end of this year

Author Kate Moon from Mashable

No matter where you’re at in your career, learning something new can only help you. Looking for a new job? A unique skill could easily set you apart from the hundreds of other applicants. Worked in the same position for a long time? Expertise in a new field could be the factor that gets you the promotion. And, even if you’re a senior-level manager who’s totally content, getting experience in an unfamiliar area shows your team how much you value growing your skill set.

Like most other things, though, learning a new skill is easier said than done. Unless, of course, all the resources are handed to you. Today, we’re doing exactly that. To make sure that you don’t spend hours searching for what to learn and where to learn it, we curated a list of 45 online classes from awesome resources across the web.

Whether you’re interested in programming, graphic design, speech writing, or conflict resolution, there’s bound to be a class for you.

P.S. All of these classes are free.

P.P.S. None of them take more than 10 weeks to complete, so be ready to add new skills to your resume before the end of the year!


1. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1), Coursera

Anyone with a knowledge of high school mathematics is welcome to take this class taught at Rice University. To make learning Python easy, instructors of this course built a new browser-based programming environment. You’ll learn to build simple, interactive games like Pong, Blackjack, and Asteroids.

Duration: 50 hours / 5 lessons

2. JavaScript, Codecademy

Join more than five million students in learning JavaScript — the programming language of the web. You’ll develop everything from a simple “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game to an address book and even a cash register.

Duration: 10 hours / 16 lessons

3. Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners, Udemy

Just like the courses title says, this class is designed for anyone with no prior programming knowledge. As long as you have a desire to learn to code, you’re fit to take the class. And don’t get intimidated by the large number of lessons. Although 75 lectures are taught, most of them are under 20 minutes long, and the time commitment is perfectly manageable if distributed well across a few weeks.

Duration: 17 hours / 75 lessons

4. Intro to Java Programming, Udacity

Java is the core language used in developing Android apps and is commonly used in back-end web development. If you’ve never programmed before but are interested in entering either of these fields, then this course is a perfect spot for you to start.

Duration: 24 hours / 9 lessons

5. Make a Website, Codecademy

Take this short, three-hour course to learn how to build a website from scratch using HTML and CSS. You’ll be asked to create a recent version of Airbnb’s home page and learn the fundamentals of web development in the process.

Duration: 3 hours / 5 lessons

6. Diploma in C Programming, ALISON

One of the most popular and widely used programming languages, C is commonly used to program operating systems such as Unix. Upon completing this course, you’ll learn everything from functions, methods, and routines to variables, arrays, and pointers.

Duration: 15 hours / 17 lessons

7. HTML, CSS, and Javascript, Coursera

Taught by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, this course teaches you the essential elements of web development. Although no previous experience in HTML, CSS, and Javascript is necessary, the instructors note that it would be helpful to have some type of prior programming knowledge. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to create a website using HTML elements, apply CSS to parts of a website, and program interactive Javascript in a website.

Duration: 12 hours / 3 lessons

8. HTML5 Part 1: HTML5 Coding Essentials and Best Practices, edX

Anyone with a basic knowledge of HTML and familiarity with CSS is encouraged to take this course taught by the World Wide Web Consortium (also known as W3C). You’ll learn to use the new simplified HTML5 tags, animate fun web graphics, and practice coding techniques through multiple interactive exercises.

Duration: 48 hours / 6 lessons


9. Beginner’s Guide to Image Editing in Photoshop, Digital Tutors

This series of step-by-step videos will teach you Photoshop terms and definitions and get you started with using basic tools and techniques. You’ll start off by resizing and resampling images, then move on to correcting the colors of an image and removing unwanted information. You’d be surprised by how much you can learn in 90 minutes!

Duration: 1.5 hours / 10 lessons

10. Getting Started With Photoshop CC, Udemy

Udemy’s introduction course covers the basics so you can get started using Photoshop CC as soon as possible. Want to learn to use the marquee tool in detail, feather a selection, or refine edge command? You’ve come to the right place.

Duration: 2 hours / 23 lessons

11. Adobe After Effects, ALISON

Adobe After Effects is a popular software program used to create motion effects and visual graphics for video. In this course, you’ll be introduced to the After Effects GUI and workspace and learn everything from importing and organizing files to understanding composition and video standards.

Duration: 3 hours / 1 Lesson

12. How to Get Started With Adobe Illustrator CS6 — 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How to Do, Adobe TV

In this 40-minute tutorial, Adobe Creative Suite Podcast’s Terry White will show you the basics that’ll help you get started using Adobe Illustrator CS6. Duration: 40 Minutes / 1 Lesson

13. Beginner’s Guide to Concept Sketching, Digital Tutors

Concept sketching takes a number of different forms — from logos and layouts to characters and environment design. In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of each of these forms using Adobe Photoshop. These step-by-step videos move at an easy-to-follow pace to make sure that you understand the basic tools and techniques.

Duration: 1.5 hours / 10 lessons

14. Adobe InDesign Made Easy, Udemy

We know that 105 lessons seem like a lot — but the majority of these lessons are under 10 minutes. Designed by Infinite Skills, this course is a resource for anyone wanting to learn the powerful, often-intimidating page layout and design program. By the end of the class, you’ll be well versed in creating print and digital-ready documents in InDesign.

Duration: 12 hours / 105 lessons

Online marketing

15. Online Advertising, OPEN2STUDY

Want to find out more about major digital platforms, social and mobile search, and how online ads are priced and delivered? If so, then OPEN2STUDY’s Online Advertising course is perfect for you. Be prepared to learn how to set realistic and measurable campaign objectives, identify the steps involved in digital campaign planning, and understand the process of selling an online ad program.

Duration: 16 hours / 33 lessons

16. Google Analytics, ALISON

One of the premier tools for analyzing web traffic, Google Analytics is useful whether you’re running a major international commercial website or managing a personal blog. At the end of this course, some of the skills you’ll have mastered include knowing how to see how well your paid keywords perform, determining the keywords that bring high value visits, and identifying problem areas in your campaigns.

Duration: 2 hours / 1 Lesson

17. Social Media 101, Social Media Quickstarter

Email marketing provider Constant Contact created this online tutorial to get you started on building your social media presence across all of the top social networks — from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

Duration: 1.5 hours / 1 Lesson

18. SEO for SEO Beginners, Udemy

Heard of SEO, but never got the chance to understand what it actually is? This is the course for you. Upon completing the class, you’ll become an expert on the three pillars of powerful SEO, resulting in you knowing how to get to the top of the search results.

Duration: 1 hour / 15 lessons

19. Diploma in E-Business, ALISON

This course will help all business owners increase their knowledge of what online marketing is and how to go about implementing a successful online marketing strategy. Concrete skills you’ll have by the end of the course include using AdSense and AdWords, analyzing revenue metrics and custom reporting, and navigating Google Analytics reports.

Duration: 10 hours / 15 lessons

20. Getting Started With Email Marketing, Skillshare

In this class, MailChimp’s Allyson Van Houten teaches you how to craft an email marketing strategy that will help you achieve your business goals. Whether you’re a small business owner, a freelancer, or a part of a startup team, you’ll be able to learn from the bite-sized lessons packed with core email marketing concepts, guiding questions, and practical resources.

Duration: 1.5 hours / 14 lessons

21. How to Get a Job Using Social Media, The Muse

The Muse partnered with digital powerhouse Mashable to create this class that will teach you how to integrate social media into your job search strategy. Apart from learning to establish your personal brand and network with people online, you’ll identify job opportunities via social media and turn leads into real-life job opportunities.

Duration: 5 lessons


22. Intercultural Communication and Conflict Resolution, Coursera

Originally taught at the University of California, Irvine, this course gives you the chance to strengthen your personal and professional relationships by addressing conflicts between individuals within organizations. More specifically, you’ll develop skills aimed at managing intercultural conflicts in today’s global society, and explore how factors like competing interests and power imbalances affect management strategies.

Duration: 12 hours / 4 lessons

23. Professional Communication Essentials, Udemy

Email etiquette, letter-writing, web and URL searching: These are communication skills no professional can live without. In this hour-long online course, you’ll be equipped to communicate effectively and improve your thinking, writing, and information literacy in different electronic environments.

Duration: 1 hour / 10 lessons

24. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, OPEN2STUDY

Does the idea of networking or resolving conflict make you cringe? If so, this course by Dr. Andrew Heys of Macquarie University could bring you renewed confidence. You’ll learn concrete skills like labeling different phases of negotiation and learning what to do in each phase, using a general framework for analyzing and resolving conflict, and bridging the gap between “knowing” and “doing” so that you can put the skills you learn into practice.

Duration: 4.5 hours / 40 lessons

25. Stuttering Treatment: The ABC’s of Smoother Speech, Udemy

Taught by Michael Williams, international expert speech coach and the founder of The Start Speaking Training Center, this course aims to help you create a brand new way of speaking that is smooth, fluent, and confident. Williams’ students have gone from struggling with stuttering and stammering to winning Toastmasters competitions.

Duration: 3 hours / 20 lessons

26. Business Communication — Developing Effective Business Presentation Skills, ALISON

No matter where you are in your career, we’re guessing that you’ve become familiar with poorly made presentations. But not all presentations have to be that way — and that’s where this course comes in. Upon completing the class, you’ll know how to effectively engage and persuade an audience, develop an effective presentation by mapping its flow and creating presentation aids, and assess the expectations of your audience.

Duration: 3 hours / 3 lessons

27. Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator, Coursera

This Yale University course will help you become a better negotiator. You’ll leave the course better able to predict, interpret, and shape the behavior of people you face in competitive situations. Apart from that, you’ll learn to make ultimatums, avoid regret, and deal with someone who has a very different perspective on the world. Advanced topics in this course include negotiating when you have no power, negotiating over email, and the role of gender differences in negotiation.

Duration: 11 hours / 9 lessons


28. Business Communication — Fundamentals of Business Writing, ALISON

Being able to express your thoughts and ideas through writing in a clear, concise, and efficient manner is crucial in the business world. Whether you’re sending an inquiry to a company or submitting a cover letter for a job application, how the letter is written and formatted can make the difference between having it taken seriously or not. That’s why this course aims to give you the skills — and the confidence — needed to write professionally in any situation.

Duration: 3 hours / 3 lessons

29. How to Write an Essay, edX

Instructed by Professor Maggie Sokolik at University of California, Berkeley, this course focuses on essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing. You’ll learn strategies for writing longer texts and thesis statements and master the skill of writing effective introductions and conclusions.

Duration: 30 hours / 5 lessons

30. Introduction to Journalism, Class Central

Calling everyone interested in journalism: This course taught by the University of Strathclyde Glasgow could be the perfect class for you. Run by a team of internationally renowned scholars and journalism practitioners, the class gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the professional world of reporters and editors. The six topics are: what makes a good story, writing news, writing features, opinion writing, politics and journalism, and investigative journalism.

Duration: 24 hours / 6 lessons

31. Start Writing Fiction, FutureLearn

Intended for anyone with an interest in fiction writing (with no prior experience necessary), this course teaches you how to develop your ideas and reflect on the writing and editing process. You’ll hear other writers talk about their approaches to research and consider different plot strategies.

Duration: 24 hours / 8 lessons

32. Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens, Coursera

Over eight weeks, this course, designed by instructors from the University of Melbourne, will teach you the basics of news writing, how to interview people to gain crucial information, how to develop your sources, and how to use your legal rights to access public information. You’ll explore the ethics behind journalism practice and conduct a mock investigation into local government.

Duration: 56 hours / 8 lessons

33. Create Income Opportunities by Learning Power Writing, Udemy

Does the idea of increasing your corporate wealth, opening new career doors, or creating additional income opportunities sound exciting to you? If so, then consider taking Udemy’s course that will help you become an engaging and polished business writer — and teach you how to create income-generating opportunities through writing.

Duration: 1 hour / 11 lessons

34. Journalism for Social Change, edX

Taught by University of California, Berkeley’s professor Daniel Heimpel, this course aims to teach students how to use journalism and media as an implement of social change. You’ll learn to report so that your work can drive political will toward positive policy solutions and gain strategies for becoming an effective change agent yourself.

Duration: 24 hours / 6 lessons


35. Entrepreneurship 101: Who Is Your Customer?, edX

Although this course was originally taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, don’t expect to watch a series of lectures. Instead, every session in the syllabus is an in-depth and focused case study of MIT entrepreneurs from areas as diverse as mobile applications and 3D printing to power electronics and international development. From these case studies, you’ll learn how to go from having an idea to gaining an understanding of who will buy your product. The course is free, but you can add a MITx Certificate for $100.

Duration: 24 hours / 6 lessons

36. How to Make Money Online: The Passive Income Business Plan, Udemy

Instructed by online entrepreneur Mike Omar, this course aims to help you make money while you sleep (no, we’re not joking). The course materials were designed to make you $5,000 per month in passive income earnings. What’s more, the skills you learn in this course will allow you to build all kinds of online businesses in the future.

Duration: 12 hours / 24 lessons

37. Growth Strategies for Business, ALISON

This course is created for anyone who is interested in starting his or her own company or wants to learn more about the factors involved in growing a business. You’ll gain knowledge of the changes, transformations, strategies, and mistakes that need to be considered when growing a business internationally.

Duration: 3 hours / 5 lessons

38. Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution, Coursera

This Northwestern University course will teach you how to make strategic decisions that are grounded in operational reality. You’ll learn how to build and evaluate the “operating system” of a firm to maximize value. At the end of the course, you’ll be able to create an effective, actionable plan that will scale your department or organization.

Duration: 20 hours / 5 lessons

39. Entrepreneurship and Family Business, OPEN2STUDY

Interested in learning about entrepreneurial characteristics and psychology, intrapreneurship, or family businesses? If any of these topics sound exciting to you, then enroll in this OPEN2STUDY course. You’ll study everything from the role of power and politics in businesses to managing the family while managing the business.

Duration: 16 hours / 40 lessons

40. Build. Measure. Learn. Lean Startup SXSW 2012, Udemy

Recorded at SXSW Interactive 2012, this course provides all the presentations from the Lean Startup event. You’ll learn lean startup methodology from some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and startup experts like Steve Blank, Scott Cook, and Todd Park.

Duration: 6 hours / 18 lessons


41. Law and the Entrepreneur, Coursera

If you’re a passionate (or aspiring) entrepreneur who feels intimidated by the legal aspects of your business, this is the course for you. Designed by Northwestern University, this course covers topics such as American law on choice of entity, protecting intellectual property of the business with patent, and trademark and copyright law.

Duration: 42 hours / 6 lessons

42. Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation, FutureLearn

Using videos of real witnesses, this course explores the psychology of eyewitness testimony. You’ll get to see whether your investigative skills are as proficient as those of police officers and try to solve different crimes using evidence from cameras that go behind the scenes of police investigations. (While not applicable to most professions, it sounds like a lot of fun.)

Duration: 24 hours / 8 lessons

43. Fundamentals of Business Law, ALISON

Take this course if you’d like to learn about the important principles in business law. You’ll study everything from legal requirements and legal recommendations to financial status and taxation.

Duration: 2 hours / 2 lessons

44. Copyright Made Easy, Udemy

Designed by a licensed attorney, this class gives you a comprehensive introduction to copyright law. At the end of two hours, you’ll understand the benefits that intellectual property brings and learn how to apply copyright law to your content.

Duration: 2 hours / 8 lessons

45. Cyberwar, Surveillance, and Security, edX

This course taught by the University of Adelaide will help you understand the competing tensions of laws related to privacy and national security. You’ll learn the nature and consequences of cyber-activism and cyberwar, as well as the purpose and impacts of global networked surveillance technologies.

Duration: 18 hours / 6 lessons

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