5 Skill-Building Sites To Advance Your Career

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With each step forward, technology changes the career landscape. There's outsourcing, automation, and ever-increasing competition for jobs that were once abundant. You have two choices -- get left behind or find a way to keep up.

Here are a few resources -- some free and some paid -- to help you take on the challenge of learning new skills that can you apply immediately in the expanding digital marketplace.


What it is: As its name implies (think code academy), Codecademy teaches you to code. You can learn everything from basic web development, like HTML & CSS, to more advanced scripting languages like PHP, jQuery, and more.

Who uses it: According to their numbers, Codecademy has helped over 24 million users since its inception. And this guy. (Only 3 months of coding experience!)

What it costs: Free

Why I love it: Codecademy provides great, in-depth training. Its design makes learning code easy to understand, provides a lot of small wins along the way, and allows you to stay focused (which is helpful when learning something which requires a lot of attention, like coding). Best of all it's free.

General Assembly / Dash

What General Assembly is: General Assembly teaches a range of skill sets (business fundamentals, product design and management, marketing, web development, and more) with the end-goal of "transforming thinkers into creators." They provide most courses in a more traditional on-campus and online environment, though some can be accessed digitally.

What Dash is: Dash is an offshoot project of General Assembly which teaches coding skills similar to Codecademy, though perhaps not as in-depth.

Who uses it: I assume a lot of people. General Assembly doesn't list any numbers or users specifically, but it's pretty well known and their number of locations is growing.

What it costs: Dash is free. General Assembly's pricing ranges from free to (as high as I've seen) $11,500. Don't be discouraged by that price. General Assembly's site is full of free and lower-cost resources (such as their Front Row program which includes a 14-day trial).

Why I love it: General Assembly makes learning a variety of new-business skills extremely accessible and affordable. While some courses may seem a bit pricey, they do offer payment plans for those who need them and provide resources to help you find funding, such as grants.

Hack Design

What it is: Hack Design is "an easy to follow design course for hackers who do amazing things". They provide free lessons on all sorts of design topics like typography, user experience, user interface, mobile design, and more. It goes pretty deep.

Who uses it: No specifics but they have some big-name partners like Behance and Dash.

What it costs: Free

Why I love it: Similar to Codecademy and Dash, Hack Design provides a ton of value which can be applied immediately in today's marketplace. Use Codecademy or Dash to learn coding and take your talents further with Hack Design. Or the other way around. Either way, you'll be in good shape.


What it is: Just like Codecademy and Dash, Treehouse teaches web development, coding, with the addition of business skills like General Assembly. Its lessons are also easy to follow, interactive, and made to be fun.

Who uses it: Both individuals and companies such as Twitter, Square, and AOL.

What it costs: Either $25 or $49/mo after a 14-day trial.

Why I love it: The Internet is the way of the future. There's no denying that. And if you are denying it, just give up now because you're doomed. You can see that I'm all about keeping up with the future. Why not use as many resources as possible? The more practice you have and the better you get, the better your chances are of surviving. Also, Treehouse will donate one Pro account to a public school student for every new Pro account someone creates. That's pretty cool.


What it is: If you aren't already familiar with Lynda.com, it's a massive library of courses with topics like web, video, 3D, audio, photography, and more. There is a ton of stuff on there.

Who uses it: According to their site, over 4 million people have used Lynda.com, including companies like Adobe, Patagonia, and USC.

What it costs: $25 or $37.50/mo; or $375/year

Why I love it: For $25/mo, you get unlimited access to almost 3,000 video courses. That's $0.008 per video course. Use it long-term to discover a variety of new skills, or use it for just a month or two to learn something specific. It's a pretty good deal if you ask me.

An honorable mention that belongs on the list is Skillshare. Check it out, too!

There are many other sites that leverage the Internet and digital economy, strengthening the digital economy, and encouraging job growth in the digital economy. Use them to your advantage or eat my dust!

Do you have a favorite site for learning new skill sets? Tell us below!
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