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If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed right now, you’re not alone. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 36% of Americans said that the coronavirus outbreak is having a serious impact on their mental health, and 57% said they are worried about the pandemic having a negative impact on their finances.
When you’re confined to your home, one way to cope with that stress is to keep yourself busy and to focus on the future. Learning new skills can help you pass the time, stay positive, and prepare you for a new role. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Health recommends online learning as a form of self-care during this difficult time. Plus, there isn’t just one learning style online, so you can find what works best for you.
Here are seven ways to develop new skills from your home that will look great on your LinkedIn profile.
1. Take Online Courses From Ivy League Universities
Getting into Ivy League universities like Harvard and Yale is notoriously difficult for a lot of people. However, you can take certain classes at these universities for free from the comfort of your home. While you can’t earn course credits, some classes allow you to get a course completion certificate, and you will definitely learn something new.
- Harvard: Harvard has over 60 courses for free online. You can learn mobile app development, statistics, or take a class in persuasive writing.
- Yale: Yale provides free and open access to introductory-level courses. For example, Yale’s “The Science of Wellbeing” course is remarkably famous, with tips on improving your happiness and productivity. It has over 4,800 ratings, and over two million people have enrolled in the class.
You can also check Coursera for free courses offered by other universities.
2. Earn a Master’s Degree
Right now, most universities are shut down, with students completing their coursework remotely. If you’ve been thinking about pursuing a master’s degree, you may be hesitant about enrolling when there’s so much uncertainty. But one way to get the degree you want is to take advantage of online graduate programs.
Many top universities allow students to earn graduate degrees online, with no need to attend in-person lectures. You can complete coursework on your own schedule, making it a great option if you have to balance your education with work or family obligations.
You can earn a master’s degree from your own home, giving you a competitive advantage when you search for a better job or apply for a promotion.
3. Become Fluent in a New Language
Being bilingual is increasingly important. According to the US Census Bureau, over 20% of Americans over the age of five speak a language other than English in their homes, with over 13% of the population speaking Spanish.
Learning a new language can improve your communication skills and better work prospects.
There’s no need to spend a fortune on language tutors or software. With apps like Duolingo, you can learn a new language for free with your phone. You can also listen to the Duolingo podcast, which offers episodes in different languages so you can hear the words you are learning integrated into fun stories.
4. Master Photo Editing
With social media becoming more and more popular every day, creating dynamic and visually interesting images is essential for companies’ bottom lines. Photo editing is an in-demand skill, and it’s something you can learn in a relatively short amount of time.
Adobe offers free Photoshop tutorials for beginners and advanced users. You can learn how to work with layers, how to use Photoshop on an iPad, and how to change photo colors and backgrounds.
5. Learn How to Code
Computer programmers and software developers are highly sought after and command large salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median salary for software developers was $105,590 per year as of 2018. And, the job outlook is expected to grow by 21% by 2028, far higher than the national average for all occupations. If you’re thinking about switching careers, learning how to code can be a lucrative skillset.
6. Enhance Your Graphic Design Skills
Whether it’s websites or brochures, graphic design is a valuable skill. If you want to master graphic design programs like InDesign or Illustrator, you can use free tutorials on YouTube to learn specific tips and tricks.
Or, if you want to learn the ins and outs of these programs, you can take comprehensive courses on the learning platform Udemy. You’ll typically have to pay a fee, but these courses are led by experts in the field. You can choose from many different options that are ranked by other users.
7. Perfect Your Public Speaking Abilities
When you’re working remotely and taking conference calls on Zoom, you may not think your public speaking abilities are that important. But public speaking is still an essential skill. Being comfortable speaking to groups and giving presentations is invaluable in your career. If you hate public speaking or don’t feel confident in your abilities, now is the perfect time to start working on your skills.
It’s possible to improve your public speaking abilities from home with new technology. For example, Virtual Speech is a company that uses virtual reality to allow you to practice. As you give speeches, it will provide you with coaching and feedback based on your performance. You just need a computer, a smartphone, and a VR headset to use the courses.
Or, if you have a problem with filler sounds like “um,” check out the UmmoApp for Android or iPhone. It will give you an annotated transcript of your speech, listing how many times you used filler words. It also provides feedback on your speech volume, pace, and length of pauses.
Translating Your Learning Experiences to Real Life
While the pandemic has disrupted our regular routines, you can use this time to learn new skills from your home. Whether you decide to become fluent in another language or learn how to create mobile apps, using this time productively can help keep you focused, motivated, and prepared to reenter the workforce when shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.