5 skills you can learn for free while you're stuck at home

Thanks to COVID-19, your life is on hold. You may as well come out of quarantine with at least one new skill!

Whether you’ve still got some more studying to do or your final year has come to an abrupt end, this is a really good time to add some valuable skills to your CV.

Here are a few you can learn for free!

1. Digital marketing

Why? Digital marketing knowledge is essential for aspiring marketers that want to stay current.

How to get started: Read up on the basics. Neil Patel’s blog is one of the most popular SEO and digital marketing resources out there, as well as Moz’s collection of articles.

Where to learn it:

Digital marketing is about more than just search engine optimisation. If you want to start a digital marketing career with a prestigious agency or get an interesting role in-house, it’s important to get a good grasp of social media marketing, conversion rate optimisation, inbound marketing, and paid advertising. Digital marketing recruiters are always looking for Google certifications on your CV.

2. Coding

Why? Coding is the foundation of many careers in digital.

How to get started: Choose the coding language that will be most relevant to your career. For basic websites, pick up HTML and CSS. Javascript, PHP, SQL, and Python are for more complex, interactive websites. To understand app-building you’ll need Swift, C, Java, or Kotlin.

Where to learn it:

You might have missed the boat on studying coding at school - it was only added to the curriculum in 2013. It’s not too late though!

The basic principles are handy for lots of digital careers including digital marketing, user experience, analytics, and design. Employers like to see you have an awareness of how websites, apps, and softwares work.

3. Languages

Why? Language skills open up new job opportunities at home and all over the world.

How to get started: Decide whether you’re going to brush up existing language skills (your dormant French GCSE for example!) or learn something completely new.

Where to learn it:

You could use quarantine to develop your speaking, writing and listening skills, whether you’re a complete beginner or already have some conversational abilities. Many businesses and organisations have a global element so a language on your CV is a huge asset.

4. Data analysis

Why? Lots of careers involve reading and making sense of raw data.

How to get started: Choose a free course and get going!

Where to learn it:

Data analysis is one of the most up-to-date digital skills employers are looking for. Get familiar with analysis, visualisation, organisation, and how to apply it to specific industries and sectors. There are plenty of free courses out there.

5. Design

Why? Skilled designers are needed in nearly every sector.

How to get started: Pick up the basic principles by playing around with design tools and software.

Where to learn it:

Graphic design covers everything from constructing web pages to creating advertising collateral and designing typography. Adobe Creative Cloud is the industry standard and it’s currently free for students to access from home until the end of May. It’s usually quite expensive so download it now and start learning!

Quarantine has given us all a lot of time to fill. You could learn to crochet a huge jumper or live-stream your daily yoga practice, or you could learn some brand new skills that employers love to see.

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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