Skill acquisition without schooling

I’ve written several times on this blog and elsewhere about how everyone with computer access, good learning skills, and determination can acquire in-demand skills for good-paying jobs.

I get push-back from folks who are still sure that academic degrees are the goal of schooling and that seat time is the only way to a good job.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve pulled posts and emails I’ve gotten about various opportunities for acquiring in-demand skills without sitting in a classroom. The four types of training listed below are in skills I require as a writer working in the 21st century.

Learn website design and coding

TreeHouse offers free training in website design and coding with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The training is self-paced.

TreeHouse invites those who are interested to experience their learning style with a short, sample course—which shows they understand not everyone learns the same way. The training includes  quizzes and interactive Code Challenges to reinforce learning.

Instead of grades, trainees can earn badges to document skills.

One other thing: TreeHouse uses the Oxford comma, for which it earns extra points.

(Disclosure: I didn’t use TreeHouse, and I don’t know HTML and CSS nearly as well as I need.)

Learn computer programming

JotForm developer Ekrem Kamberoglu has written a guide for people who want to become programmers but don’t have a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Kamberoglu says, “The most important thing you can have is motivation. If you have enough drive, you can do it on your own.”

Kamberoglu lists what programmers need to learn and the order in which to learn it. He doesn’t tell readers how or where to go to learn what they need: Anyone who’s going to be a developer needs to be smart enough to search out learning tools. Hint: The TreeHouse free training would satisfy Kamberoglu’s first steps.

Learn video production

Video is what customers want.  Vimeo, the video sharing site, has teamed with Story & Heart to to provide free video tutorials packed with secrets for videographers to use to add polish to their productions.

Learners receive new lessons by email each week by subscribing to Vimeo’s weekly blog email the way readers can get this blog content by email. To sign up for free lessons, click then scroll down to Video-Making Wisdom from Story & Heart. The signup is on the right. (Disclosure: I use Vimeo to share my videos.)

Learn social media marketing

HootSuite, the social media platform, has launched Podium, an online social media education and certification resource where people can learn critical skills in social media marketing—completely free.

HootSuite has been doing social media education for a price for some time. Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications  was ecstatic when it was able to have HootSuite train its students.

Students who successfully complete the HootSuite training and become certified in social media, can be listed in HootSuite’s Certified Professionals Directory. In web marketing circles, that’s a five-star rating on the resume. (Disclosure: I’m a Newhouse alum and HootSuite user.)

Free learning meets workplace needs

Each of these four skill sets are in high demand today. In fact, it’s because the demand is so great that companies are willing to provide training free.

Competency-based education may still be in its infancy in schools and colleges, but it’s fast becoming adult in the workplace.

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