You’re too busy to go back to school. At least that’s the excuse you give for not pursuing additional training in your field.
Well guess what? That excuse isn’t any good any more. In fact, it hasn’t been good for some time. And it’s a good thing too, because you need stay current in your field if you want to stay competitive.
You can get additional training on web design, web development, and many other topics from the comfort of your own home. You no longer have to go somewhere to take a class.
Many traditional colleges offer online courses. In addition to coursework available online through the colleges, a large online training industry has sprung up in the past decade.
In this post, I’ll focus on online training sites. I’ll list 14 of the best non-college online training opportunities for web designers and web developers.
If you liked this post, you will probably also like: Learning Web Design: Self Taught vs. a Formal Education.
What to Look for in Online Training
Not all online training programs are created equal. There are several factors you should consider when selecting an online training program. Here’s a list:
- Experience of the trainer. Many online training sites have biographies posted for their trainers. Study the published bios to find out what kind of experience each trainer has.
- Number of courses offered. Some training sites only offer a few courses. Others have a broad listing of classes. If you will need more than one course, make sure that the site you choose has what you need.
- Number of students. Pay attention to how many students have used the site. If you can find any published student reviews of courses, read them to get a good idea of what the training will be like.
- Completion certification. Some, but not all, online classes offer a completion certificate. A certificate can be a nice “proof of skillset” item to add to your resume.
- Cost considerations. Obviously, you need to be able to afford the training. However, keep in mind that the cheapest isn’t always the best. (Although there are some high quality free courses available.)
- Is there a community? A learning community such as a forum where students can interact with each other can be a great resource. Being part of a community also expands your network.
Look through the checklist and decide which factors are most important to you. You are now ready to pick a training program.
Online Training Sites for Web Designers and Web Developers
Once you’ve decided what you want to get from your online training, you are ready to move forward.
If you don’t want to pursue an online course through a college, you have many other options. Many are even free.
Here is a list of 10 sites that offer online training in alphabetical order:
- Codecademy. This site offers interactive coding courses in several popular topics including HTML and Ruby. The courses are arranged in modules. Cost: Free.
- Pluralsight (formerly Code School). Learn coding through these hands-on courses. Choose video courses from one of four learning paths. As you complete each course, you will receive a badge. Cost: Pay a monthly fee for full access to the site. Some courses are free.
- Coursera. Coursera provides users with access to college courses from well-known universities. There is a large and active community. Cost: The courses may be accessed for free, but if you want a verified certificate you must sign up for the Signature Track, which varies in cost. (Certificates are not available for some classes.)
- eClasses.org. This site specializes in providing instructor-led courses in web design, programming, IT, and business. The site also provides the opportunity to become a Certified Web Specialist. Cost: Varies by course.
- lynda.com. This training site has a huge library of courses including over 2,000 video courses. You get a certificate of completion for each finished course. Cost: Varies. A monthly fee gives you access to all courses on the site.
- tuts+. This site is one of a family of 13 highly regarded tutorial sites owned by Envato. You may also want to explore the other tuts+ sites. Cost: A monthly fee gives you access to courses and eBooks on the site.
- Treehouse. Choose from over a thousand video courses. This site allows you to practice coding in real time. Choose individual courses or pursue a professional track. There’s also a member’s forum. Cost: Pay a monthly fee to access courses.
- Udacity. This training site offers courses on a variety of web-related topics. Enrolled users receive a certificate upon course completion. A few courses qualify for college credit. There is a forum. Cost: Varies by course, although some courses may be viewed for free.
- Udemy. This training site offers a large number of courses taught by a huge staff of experts. You can see the reviews for each course as well as the number of students who have taken that course on the site. Get a certificate of completion when you finish a course. Cost: Price varies by course. Some courses are free.
- W3Schools.com. This is a popular online training site. Pay to receive a certificate. This site does contain a forum for students. Cost: Free to access courseware. $95 for online certification in various topics.
(Note: Free sites were free at the time I wrote the post, however this may change over time.)