• Rishabh Bhardwaz

These 5 Best Free Online Certified Courses Will Make Your Degree Look Like A Joke

Free online certified courses that are better than your degree

I was really worried when I started writing this one because the title can easily be an overkill; how can a free resource be better than an expensive 3-year college degree? Turns out, I've been looking at it from the wrong perspective, and so have you.

Having a college degree is a guarantee that you have a skill, and you specialise in something, like your major. But what people don't realise is that this guarantee can be secured from other sources too. But somehow, that's not their fault. Everyone has a degree right? That's how it should be done; school - college - degree - job. That is how it has always been. And it is still a perfect way to build a career. But is it the only one? Hell no.

I'm sorry (and kinda glad) to break this to you; a degree is just one of the ways to obtain skills for a career in 2020 and beyond. This is because the avenues of careers have evolved drastically in the past decade. 10 years ago, we didn't know what an SEO Specialist was, and many of us haven't even heard about Data Science. FYI, Data Scientists are getting bigger checks this month than some of you make in a year.

Cutting to the chase, I compiled a list of (almost) free online courses that are also certified; the best way to top-up your resumé, right? Also, keep in mind that these are courses for the most in-demand skills today. If you're looking for a certified course in Economics, this is not for you. In contrast, this is for you if you wanna be able show-off your new Digital Marketing certificate from Google. So let's dive right in!

1. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing - Google

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If you are interested in Digital Marketing and thinking about starting a career in it, you've hit gold. This beginner course from Google contains 26 modules spanned over 40 hours of lessons coupled with a 40-minute exam at the end where you prove your mettle. It's a completely free IAB-certified course that guarantees a solid foundation of Digital Marketing and gets you a certificate with Google on it. As I said, gold.

But how is a basic course going to help you begin a profitable career? See it this way. This course covers everything you need to know if you're a beginner in the field and has enough material to help you start working on small projects immediately. Thanks to the certificate, acquiring clients is not going to be that hard; not everyone walks around with a certificate from Google these days. But enough fanboying about the tech giant. What you gain after this course is a solid understanding of Digital Marketing, which will open up many profitable avenues for you.

Once you get hang of the basics, you can start specialising in niches under the Digital Marketing banner. For example, if you love working on Social Media, you can choose Social Media Marketing as your niche and specialise in it. The demand for these skills is huge at the moment as 80% of all business promotions happens on social media these days.

So what are you waiting for? Go sign up now!

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2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) courses - SEMrush Academy

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When I first saw their courses, I thought it was a joke or a scam of some kind. The number of quality courses and the sheer volume of it looked too good to be true. Cut to a couple of months later, I am recommending them to anyone who would listen to me. If you need a one-stop resource to learning SEO, this is it; look no further.

Search Engine Optimisation, or more commonly it's abbreviated form - SEO, is a branch of Digital Marketing. The reason why you are seeing this as an entirely different topic is because this is a far too vast concept to be tucked under another umbrella. SEO is the concept of optimising webpages to appear on search results. This is vital because people turn to search engines like Google to find various kinds of information, and your job is to make sure a webpage appears on the topmost results.

The demand for SEO is on all-time high since businesses thrive on the internet to get customers, and more exposure means more people are going to see their product/service. The competition to appear on the topmost results on Google is fierce as the top three to five results get the most clicks, and more clicks mean more business.

As I mentioned, the concept of SEO is vast, but these courses cover literally cover everything under the banner. Compiled by industry experts, these courses will teach you beginner to advanced topics where every course is followed by free certified exams. This is definitely the best way to make your resumé stand out from the pack, at zero cost!

Get started Here.

3. Graphic Design Bootcamp - Udemy

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Now this one is not technically free, but I didn't have the heart to leave it out. I did find a lot of other graphic design courses that were good, but this one hits everything out of the park so hard, they can't even really see it at this point. The park is a dot to them!

This two-part course is taught by Derrick Mitchell who has worked for MTV, Nintendo and Netflix in the past, and is currently a full-time graphic design teacher with over 100,00 students. For Rs. 800 (approx $10), you're getting mind-boggling value. Derrick goes deep into Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom from basic to advanced concepts; so practically anything you need to make a career right from your home without an expensive diploma.

The second part of the course will further set you back with another Rs.700, with the total cost coming to Rs.1500. But you know what? It's worth it. The quality you're getting at such a dirt-cheap price is unbelievable; plus you literally don't have to use any further resources/courses to start your career. This one will make sure you're capable of handling projects right away, and maybe work on more advanced concepts as you gain experience and delve into more challenging stuff.

If you're interested in Graphic Designing, or if you're already into it but need to brush up your skills, this is the way to go. Plus you get a 30-Day money-back guarantee; where can you go wrong?

Go get it!

4. Animation Courses - SkillShare

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Animation is huge, both in demand and as a concept. As an animator, you possess skills to get into a wide range of careers into the movie industry, in advertising, and a slew of other avenues that keep your pockets and your creative drive happy.

The field of animation is vast and I don't think hooking you up with one single beginner course is going to cut it; you are going to need a well-rounded resource to acquire skills to the best of your abilities to propel yourself into a great career. This is why I recommend SkillShare. The website hosts a vast number of courses on animation from beginner to advanced skill sets. Everything is taught by industry experts, and cover a lot of topics to keep you busy enough. The best thing about the website is that it provides two months of complete access totally free. What's even better is that you can learn every course on the website once you sign-up; they don't charge you for each separate course.

While these courses cover almost everything under the sun, you might want to look into more such free resources that match your niche. For example, you can sign up for a course from Disney-Pixar totally free to get a glimpse of their techniques. Here is an article that has a long list of such resources that would benefit you greatly. This is also recommended if you are already an animator and looking to dip your hands into new techniques and niches.

Click here to browse through the courses.

5. Intro to Data Science - Udacity

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Data Science is touted to be the most in-demand career in the next few years. Period. For the uninitiated, Data Science is a blend of various tools, algorithms, and machine learning principles with the goal to discover hidden patterns from the raw data. But how is it different from what statisticians and analysts do? Well, Data Science is used to make decisions and predictions by making use of predictive causal analytics, prescriptive analytics and machine learning. I'm sure that is a whole lot of jargon to swallow, but bear with me.

Basically, all businesses need data and statistics to predict market trends and a whole lot of other instruments to keep functioning and aid growth. Your mission as a Data Scientist (if that name does not make you feel cool already, don't call yourself a geek), is to gather and process data in a way that it can be further interpreted by analysts.

This course is a gem in its own right. It's free and serves as a very good introduction to the world of Data Science with a huge amount of learning material developed by experts. The only drawback is you have to complete the whole paid course to get certified, which is kind of expensive, but totally recommended if you are serious about it. However, if you wanna play it safe, a Data Science course from Udemy is totally worth it. I would also like to point out that this is a very technically demanding career, and is not to be taken lightly. If you are serious about building a career in Data Science, be ready to devote big hours for the cause.

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Important note

This list is only a small portion of the huge amount of resources available online. I am in no way affiliated to any of the resources I am providing links to. That means I do not get a commission in any form if you chose to click or sign up on any of the courses. These recommendations are purely from my own personal experiences and research, and I genuinely believe that you would gain credible knowledge from these resources. Also, be sure to experiment with other courses/resources on the internet; I'm sure you will find things that will further enable you to sharpen your skills and help in growing your career.

That's it! I hope you find these resources helpful in your quest to build a great career. As always, I can be reached through my social media links on top of the page. Good luck!



A guy next door who won't attend your party but would love to hear about your shenanigans, the good and the bad. Feel free to drop me a message.

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