Summer School 2021: Online Courses to Advance Your Tech Career

Even if your summer is overstuffed with vacation and travel, finding the time to add some in-demand skills to your toolbox could be the ticket to a new, high paying job in the fall. Many e-learning sites have added or revamped courses to address skill shortages exacerbated by the pandemic and changing work environment. In most cases, you can audit the course for free—or pay a fee to access graded assignments and earn a certificate.

While your studies should align with your career goals and interests, completing any of the following courses will help you stay on the cutting edge. 

Data Analysis and Decision Making

In response to the growing demand for data scientists, Codecademy recently added an intensive 28-week data analyst career path to its lineup, according to Koma Gandy, VP and head of Curriculum. Just adding a few complementary data skills can strengthen your résumé no matter which field or role you pursue, she noted. In fact, the number of jobs posted by tech companies requesting analysis skills surpassed traditional tech skills like engineering in 2020, according to an analysis of Burning Glass data by Deloitte.

Other data-centric courses to consider:

  • Learn SQL (Codecademy)
    A good introductory course for anyone interested in learning a tool to improve how they look at data.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) was the seventh highest-paying skill in the Dice 2021 Tech Salary Report, with an average salary of $131,907, while machine learning (ML) came in twenty-third (with an average salary of $125,197). With the global A.I. market expected to grow 40.2 percent from 2021 to 2028, taking any one of these classes can fatten your paycheck:

  • Google’s AI and ML (Google Education)
    Google offers a variety of free learning content, such as tutorials, labs, courses and videos, for everyone from beginners to seasoned practitioners.

Web Development

How can you take your web development career to the next level? Learn a new tech stack or sharpen your existing skillset. Need more motivation? The role of web developer saw an average salary increase from $77,753 to $81,550 year-over-year (again, according to the Dice 2021 Tech Salary Report).

This course offers intermediate content for web developers eager to brush up or looking to create dynamic websites and visual effects.

Intermediate content for web developers who want to move beyond basic JavaScript and master server-side web development

Cloud

How big is the cloud? In 2020, the market was worth $371.4 billion and it’s projected to reach $832.1 billion by 2025. According to Dice’s analysis of Burning Glass data, occupations that leverage the cloud are projected to increase 14.7 percent over the next decade.

  • Introduction to Cloud Computing by IBM (Coursera)
    If you’re just getting started, Betty Vandenbosch, chief content officer for Coursera, recommends this course for learning core concepts, various service and deployment models and other foundational knowledge. Another option is to take a free introductory or advanced course from IBM, Microsoft or one of top universities through edX.

Once you master the basics, get to know one or more of the major cloud platforms:

Soft Skills (Including Communication)

The demand for courses that teach coaching skills to managers, scrum masters and other pros has surged, according to Cara Brennan Allamano, SVP of People, Places and Learning for Udemy and the firm’s most recent Workplace Learning Skills Index

A big part of “soft skills” is communicating effectively, often via remote tools and online platforms. To that end, pay attention to:

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity analysts enjoyed the largest growth in salary of any occupation (16.3 percent), with average pay rising from $88,663 in 2019 to $103,106 in 2020. As with data analytics, acquiring security skills can strengthen your résumé no matter which field or role you ultimately pursue. 

Cybrary also offers a number of massive open online courses (MOOCs) complete with certificates:

If you didn’t see a course that aligns with your specific learning needs or interests, Class Central lists some 4,900 online computer science courses and over 2,000 are free.