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Five Ways to Boost Your STEM Skills Online

STEM student learning engineering skills

The word is out! Many of today’s best career opportunities are in STEM fields. It’s also true that the pace of technological advancements in the modern world means STEM jobs are constantly changing. As a result, many adult learners and those working in STEM fields have significant concerns about keeping up with technological advances. A survey by Pearson Education found that “Seventy-two percent of…respondents say education will help them to keep pace with changes in their industry, and more than 65 percent of workers say technology will make their jobs dramatically different within five years,” writes Jarrett Carter for Education Dive. Additionally, the Pearson survey reports that “new industrial changes are leading more than 60 percent of employees to enroll in online courses, while just 27 percent take classes in traditional settings.”

If you think your STEM skills could use a boost, your worries are over. We’ve scoured the Internet to find some great options for online training to keep you ahead of the curve.

1. Udacity

Earn a “Nanodegree” through this online education provider that partners with major technology companies such as Google, AT&T and Facebook. Not only will Udacity’s programs teach cutting-edge skills, they will also help you obtain the credentials to land jobs in machine learning, data analysis and software engineering. Udacity users must pay for credentialed programs and for the use of perks such as project review, forums and career support, but some course materials and projects are available free of charge.

2. Coursera

Looking for a course on data science from Johns Hopkins? How about algorithms from Princeton? Perhaps you’d like to study machine learning at Stanford? With Coursera, you can choose from hundreds of STEM courses developed by top universities and taught by professors from those universities. According to president and co-founder Daphne Koller, interviewed by Money’s Turner Cowles in 2015, “Eighty-seven percent of Coursera students “get benefits from online education.” These non-specific benefits may include becoming more knowledgeable and more competent in their jobs. Meanwhile, another 34 percent get “a tangible benefit, like a raise, a higher paying job or starting a new business,” says Koller. Significantly, she points out, “Employers are looking for people with more than just a specific skill-set; they’re also looking for people who are motivated self-starters.”

3. Udemy

This popular online learning platform offers 40,000 distinct courses taught by experts in their respective fields. While some courses are fee-based, others are free. While Udemy offers a wide variety of classes, some of their most popular courses are STEM topics such as big data science, software engineering, office productivity and personal career development. Best of all, with Udemy you can study on your own time while holding down a job and raising a family.

4. Khan Academy

Conceptualized by the renowned Sal Khan while tutoring his cousins in mathematics, Khan Academy is a nonprofit with the mission of providing a “free, world-class education for anyone anywhere.”

Khan courses are offered in live classroom situations in schools all over the world, as well as online, and the organization has established partnerships with “institutions including NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences and MIT to offer specialized content.” STEM offerings are varied and include courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, health and medicine, engineering and computer science.

5. Highbrow

Really pressed for time, but still interested in learning? Try Highbrow’s free five-minute, 10-day-long lessons. These “bite-sized” courses in STEM topics like SQL, mathematics, scientific laws and theories, cyber security, HTML and CSS are sent to your inbox every morning.

As you can see, opportunities for online STEM learning are plentiful and diverse. Whether your field is engineering, health sciences, data analysis or machine learning­ – no matter if you’re an entry level, mid-career, or highly experienced contractor–online learning will take you where you want to go.

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