9 must-see free courses for IT professionals


Access to information and education has never been easier. From learning a foreign language, to boiling an egg, the internet’s got your back.

But it’s only in recent years that the popularity of Open Online Courses has taken off. High quality education is easier to access than ever before as education platforms and academic institutions work together to provide free education. 

IT professionals always have the tricky task of staying up to date with the latest developments in their area of expertise. Open Online Courses give you the chance to fill the skills gap and without hurting your wallet.

At CeBIT, we have scoured the internet to find the 9 best free online courses for IT professionals.

If you have discovered anymore, or have participated in one of these classes, let us know in the comments below.  We look forward to hearing from you.

The 9 best free online courses for IT professionals

  1. Learning how to learn

    Run by the University of California, this online course gives you the skills to learn better. In our hyper-stimulated world where everything in our lives is begging for our attention, it can be hard to know what to focus on and how to stop procrastinating.

    This course can help you change your thinking and change your life. It teaches how the brain uses different learning modes, gives you techniques on how to improve memory and get rid of that pesky procrastination habit.

    The 4-week course is run by Dr. Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Oakland University and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Computational Neurobiology Laboratory.

    Check it out.
  2. Agile Development Using Ruby on Rails

    While this might seem a little basic for the seasoned programmer, you will still learn something new. Berkeley, University of California, runs this software engineering course where you learn Ruby and the Ruby on the Rails Model-View- Controller through a web application development framework.

    The course takes a learning-by-doing approach, focusing on how to use Javacript to enhance applications, how to apply agile techniques to enhance and refactor legacy code, how Ruby can improve production and code manageability and a few more fun software development tips and tricks.

    This is a full 18-week course that’s completely free. Find out more.
  3. Introduction to Management Information Systems (MIS): A Survival Guide

    MIS are a major part of the business world today. Staying on top of the latest trends and advancements is important for IT Professionals in this space.

    Run by UC3Mx, the course focuses on what MISs are, the importance of procurement, MIS and data, databases and big data, how integrated information systems and processes come into play and using MISs in decision making.

    Interested to learn more?
  4. Diploma in Business Communication Skills

    Alison is an educational platform dedicated to providing free certified learning courses. One of the most popular courses is the Diploma in Business Communication Skills.

    There are some parts, like writing a business letter, that might seem basic. But don’t be fooled - this 13 module course will arm you with the communication skills you need continue to do well in your roll. You will learn how to write better for business, and in terms that people can understand. The course will also help you get a better grasp on how to get your point across in team meetings and group discussions, and improve on your business presentations.

    Enroll here.
  5. Communication in the 21st Century Workplace

    Sticking to the theme of improving communication in the workplace, this course by the University of California, Irvine, arms learners with the tools they need to survive in a modern workplace. Over four weeks you will learn how to communicate better with your peers, with your manager, with your executives and with your direct reports.

    One of the highlights of this course is it’s attention to verbal and nonverbal cues and behaviours, and how to be more confident and assertive. It’s well worth a look if you’re interested in taking more of a stance in your workplace.

    It is free to access this course and it’s materials, however if you want a completion certificate, or to have your work graded there’s a small fee of $48. Here are the details.
  6. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

    This course is part of the larger course essential skills for the workplace - created by UCI Extension. All of the courses are fascinating, but we specifically highlighted this one due the focus on productivity and personal time management.

    Since it’s only 4 weeks long it’s definitely worth a look - you’ll get valuable tips that will make a big impact on your professional and personal life.

    It is free to access this course and it’s materials, however if you would like a completion certificate, or to have your work graded, there’s a fee of $48. Take a closer look.
  7. Creative problem solving

    Always wanted to think more outside the box? This course run by the University of Minnesota is for you. Problem solving is a critical part of any IT professional’s daily life.

    The course is designed to push you out of your comfort zone and help you understand the importance of diverse ideas and approaches to your job. You will discover and learn to change your own cultural, habitual and normal patterns of behaviour. Activities, lectures and quizzes will guide you through this 6-week course.

    This course is free to complete and including getting your work graded - if you require a completion certificate it will cost $68. Learn more.
  8. Smart goals

    You’ve probably seen the memes on social media, or heard your idols talk about it - goal setting is necessary if you want to achieve something. It gives you focus and direction. But there’s a certain way to set goals that is more effective than other methods.

    In only 31 minutes, Dr Richard Feenstra will take you through how to use the SMART goal method to set goals that will increase your productivity and skills, to help you achieve more.

    Start setting your goals.
  9. Machine learning - Robots

    We put this one in because, well, robots. While IT professionals are constantly dealing with intricate problems, why not throw robots into the mix. Ok - it just looks really, really cool.

    Stanford University run this heavy-duty course to teach students about machine learning (code for robots). You’ll learn the broad science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. It’s an in-depth 11-week course that is entirely free.

    This course is free to complete, including getting your work graded. If you did want to receive a certificate it will cost $68. Learn more from the syllabus.

Continued professional and personal development does not have to be expensive - the internet allows us to get quality education for free.

If you’re an IT professional who is interested in learning about start-ups - we created a free ebook for you. How to launch a start-up will guide you through the most important steps of setting your own business, all the way from your initial idea to implementation.

Have you ever completed a free online course that’s progressed you as an IT professional? Let us know in the comments. And if you’ve done one of the courses we highlighted, let us know how it went.

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