It’s easy to think that in order to be a student, you have to be in school. But, if we think about things from a broader perspective, being a student merely means you’re studying a particular subject. And, there’s no reason you can’t learn new skills in less than a year—while being out of school.
It doesn’t mean you can’t brush up on new skills that will help you rake in extra funds. It doesn’t mean you can’t develop your interest in photography so you can take on freelance gigs. And, it definitely doesn’t mean you can’t dive into the world of data analytics so you can kick ass in your current job. Nor does it mean you can’t explore new topics while figuring out what it is you want to do.
Think about it. If you work a regular daytime job, that means you have a few hours each evening to yourself. (And, let’s not forget about those weekend hours, either!) It’s during that flexible “free” time when you can learn new skills, without the pressure of an IRL classroom—because let’s be honest, we’re all exhausted.
Thankfully, with the wide variety of skills courses available online, you can usually do this all from the comfort of your home and computer.
So, to get you started, here are six online options where you can enroll in an online course, take a new class IRL, or create your own at-home program. Consider it your new school-year curriculum, without having to figure out where the damn cafeteria is.
Try it: To learn how to create on Adobe InDesign.
The gist:Udemy offers more than 80,000 courses online that let you learn at your own pace. It also, notably, has a back-to-school sale with courses starting at $9.99. Yes, really. The site’s offerings range from software engineering to personal development to test prep.
If you’ve been inkling to get the most out of your Adobe Suite programs, try a course in Adobe InDesign CC Essentials. You’ll learn the basics and more over the course of about five hours’ worth of instruction.
Try it: To learn how to vlog and create an at-home studio.
The gist: With all of the online courses available elsewhere, it’s easy to overlook YouTube’s offerings. Your favorite site for cat memes and music videos is also ripe with educational content. You name it, someone has probably uploaded a how-to video on it.
Sorting through the junk, though, can be a nuisance. That’s why we recommend seeking tutorials on vlogging, studio set-up and camera/film equipment from—who else?—the top vloggers on the platform.
One of our favorite vloggers, Shameless Maya, regularly shares her favorite “tech talk” tips that make vlogging easier. Tune in for short videos on how to edit vertical videos to her favorite camera equipment and you’ll be up-to-date on what the pros use.
Try it:To learn how to edit using Photoshop.
The gist:You might be familiar with Lynda’s course offerings if your school partnered with the site. Though, to get access today, you’ll have to go through LinkedIn, which acquired the massive digital course library in 2015.
Lynda offers hundreds of instructional videos on a wide selection of skills employers routinely seek in potential candidates. Think: software development, design, business, photography, and more. It’s a good place to take a starter course in Photoshop and then dive into more specific courses like how to color correct in Photoshop, layer multiple photos, etc. Expect the basics and then some.
Try it for:Learning how to be a pro at WordPress
The gist:The company provides unlimited access to more than 22,000 online courses that are readily available on your smartphone for streaming via its app. The site focuses on helping students master courses by “doing.” That is, expect to complete a hands-on project and then get feedback from others in the online community.
Courses on the site are broken down into four categories: creative, business, technology, and lifestyle. As a result, you can take a course in graphic design just as easily as you can in culinary arts.
Try it for:Learning front-end web development.
The gist:General Assembly has become the go-to educational partner for companies like Salesforce and Bloomberg. The company has 22 campuses where students can enroll in full-time or part-time classes. But don’t fret if you can’t make it to a face-to-face class. General Assembly also offers part-time, online courses focused on in-demand tech skills. Think: HTML, CSS, web design, data analytics, and user experience design. Courses range from five weeks to 10 weeks, meaning you can find adequately follow along at a steady, predictable learning pace.
Try it for:Learning a new language at your own pace.
The gist:Take Lessons focuses on pairing you with the perfect instructor, based on criteria you provide. The site then provides a list of potential instructors based on your criteria, age, and experience. Once you find a suitable instructor, you can schedule your lessons based on the availability of you and the instructor.
You then have the option of organizing meetings face-to-face (if your instructor is local) or via the internet. Take Lessons also gives an estimated cost for classes that makes it easier for you to gauge the market rate for instructors.