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10 Best Skills To Learn Online Today

Further your career with crucial skills you can learn sitting right at your computer.

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Technological creep and advancement is pushing society towards a world of automation and convenience. Our days as hunters and gathers are long behind us, replaced with today’s proverbial rat race where society’s entrepreneurial pursuits and necessity to succeed have become top priorities for us.

While we no longer face the difficulties of having to hunt for or gather our food, many now have to battle technological complexities. Those complexities have nothing to do with the consumption of content on the web, and everything to do with the creation and marketing of it. With so much competition in the world, it’s difficult to rise above the fray.

Yet, if you’re serious about succeeding in life, climbing the corporate ladder or launching that hot new startup, you’ll need some foundational skills that are virtually a prerequisite nowadays. For those who accumulate the right skills, the world truly is their oyster.

For those who hide from and ignore the digital tidal wave that’s sweeping the world, they can’t expect to make monumental progress and get ahead.

Related: The 10 Best Online Courses You Can Enroll In Today for R200

There are dozens of great skills you can learn online to further your career or business prospects. Some tend to rise above the others and should probably move to the top of your list. Whether or not you’re technically inclined, so to speak, these skills will provide you with the insights to propel yourself forward, get a better job or promotion, or simply increase your income by providing invaluable services online.

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO provides the very bedrock and foundation for skyrocketing your sales in any industry or niche. People are far more likely to purchase from you if you appear relevant in an online search versus paying to drive the traffic there.

Clearly, by understanding and harnessing the power of SEO, you can send near-limitless traffic to your site and put your selling on autopilot. SEO is highly complex and convoluted, but if you master any of the skills you can learn online today, it should most certainly be this one.

2. Web development

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As technology improves across the world – and more and more devices begin to connect to the internet – the necessity for people to understand web development is going to increase. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to simple web design and development, learning and harnessing this powerful online skill can give you an enormous advantage in the world.

Great web developers are hard to come by. However, if you’re committed to becoming a web developer, you’ve got quite the uphill climb – but that’s also the case in any other notable field.

Just remember, this single skill can give you a tremendous advantage when it comes to building and launching an online business.

Related: 15 Free Online Courses That Are Actually Worth Your Time

3. Online marketing

This isn’t just about SEO. This is about the fundamental principles that are driving traffic through mediums like social media and ads. Learn the mechanics of online marketing, and you’ll be able to drive considerable traffic and scale out whatever business you decide to create.

This will also help you make money online through either passive income or active income activities. There’s a lot of multidisciplinary content to consume and understand here, but it’s definitely well worth it.

4. Email marketing

Email marketing is alive and well. In fact, it’s one of the surest ways to make considerable amounts of money on the internet today. If you master the skill of email marketing, and learn how to build an effective sales funnel, you can virtually skyrocket your sales and income.

This isn’t just about writing compelling sales letters; it’s also about understanding what types of emails get clicked on and lead to active interests and purchases. Email marketing is a skill that can easily be learned online, but it’s also something that will require a significant amount of practice on your end to get it right.

5. Graphic design

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Today, aesthetics are an important part of business and sales. Not only do you have to focus on functionality, you also have to focus on the overall design. By learning the highly important skill of graphic design, you’ll understand the fundamentals that make things attractive, clickable and thus, more saleable.

Learning graphic design involves mastering programmes like Photoshop, Illustrator and other popular tools that will allow you to create stunning visual designs. These programmes are an important part of the process in truly absorbing fundamental graphic design skills. It will take some significant practice, but it will be well worth it in the end.

Related: 10 Free Online Courses That Can Benefit Every Entrepreneur

6. Copywriting

Some of the world’s leading professionals are also the best copywriters. If you can write compelling copy that sells people on whatever it is you’re peddling, you’ll be far more likely to make the sale. Imagine being able to persuade droves of customers to purchase just about anything from you.

The skill of copywriting is definitely one that takes time to acquire, but it’s also one of the best skills you could learn. Use sites like Udemy and Lynda to sign up for an online course where you can learn the fundamentals involved in this highly lucrative skill.

7. Photography

Photography is filled with a variety of nuances and skills that evade most people interested in this field. Not only do you have to understand the art of photography itself, but also everything there is to know about cameras, lenses, contextual settings and how to enhance the imagery itself using photo editing software.

You can use your photography skill set to not only make money by actively assisting others with event or portrait photography, but also by creating stock imagery that you can sell on a variety of popular websites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto. Find a good course to learn this skill, and be prepared to buy a good camera and practice taking as many photos as possible.

8. Translating and languages

Understanding and learning foreign languages is an incredible skill to have and one that you can use in a variety of situations. Not only is this great to have when traveling, but it’s also a useful when working to translate and convey documents from one language to another.

You can also use your knowledge of a second language to help tutor people online via Skype or FaceTime – maybe even making a little side income. It’s not difficult to pick up this skill online. Whether you take a course or download a programme through Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur’s audiobooks, for example, learning foreign languages is an advantageous skill to have no matter what the situation.

9. Statistical data analysis

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Another great skill to learn online is statistical data analysis. We all know that, in order to achieve our goals, we need to get very good at analysing data. Statistical analysis and regression analysis are two ways we can help to identify relationships between variables that can then be adjusted and refined in order for us to achieve our goals.

Statistical data analysis is a great skill to have in a variety of situations. We can use it to analyse website traffic and to better gauge if our marketing efforts are paying off. It can be used in a number of other situations as well, and the more knowledgeable you are in this skill, the better you can be at just about any endeavour.

10. Psychology and human behaviour

I’ve had a mild fascination with psychology and human behaviour as long as I can remember. That curiosity has been a cornerstone in my understanding of why people do what they do and how best to leverage that information in business and in sales. This skill could benefit just about anyone out there, no matter what line of work they’re in.

This goes all the way into contract negotiations, settlement talks, buying habits and a number of other arenas. What colours do people best respond to, or where should you sit at a table during negotiation talks or meetings, or how can you understand if a person is lying by the way they hold their head or what direction they look? This single skill could offer you tremendous advantages in life and in business.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Robert Adams is a writer, blogger, serial entrepreneur, software engineer, and best-selling author of dozens of technology, SEO, online marketing and self-development books, audiobooks and courses.

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“Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses

Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.

Wits Language School

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The Internet is currently abuzz with advertisements for “free” online language courses and online education. While developments in technology have undoubtedly created opportunities for more people to access education, the question still remains as to whether it is actually possible to learn a language solely with the use of an online platform. Whilst there are numerous advantages to using online platforms, there are equally as many disadvantages.

Online platforms are limited in their capacity to support group discussions, as well as the engagement with language facilitators and tutors. Many platforms are also unable to cope with the thousands of students that try to join online discussions. Language learners benefit greatly from human interaction within a classroom. Mark Edmundson (2012), an English professor at the University of Virginia, argued that online education creates a “monologue and not a real dialogue” in the learning environment.

Classroom environments allow learners to express their opinions, participate in debates, and engage in face-to-face interaction with classmates and their instructor.

Related: “Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses

Language facilitators are responsible for explaining material, answering questions and guiding learning based on students’ needs and language levels in real time. From an online perspective, this resource becomes diluted, as often there exists back and forth communication between the student and the facilitator over an extended period of time. Within a classroom environment, learners are immersed in the language and encouraged to speak. Learning takes place in a pro-active way with a balance of learner-facilitator interaction and group work. Language learners receive undivided attention from the facilitator, and the pace and content of the tuition is thus tailored to the learner accordingly.

Two of the benefits of online courses are that they offer flexibility and convenient accessibility; however, they also require a greater amount of self-discipline, reading and time-management skills. Online courses tend to make it easier to procrastinate and they create a sense of isolation. These elements are not conducive to successful language learning. Motivation levels are likely to decrease when using online platforms, as learners have no real external influences to help keep them motivated and inspired.

The quality and accreditation of online language courses is also a concern to most learners, as many online courses lack valid accreditation and certification. It is crucial to enrol in a course that provides legitimate information and that is accredited with a relevant board or organisation. A course that does not provide valid accreditation will serve no purpose or advantage to the learner.

Wits Language School was established in 1997 and forms part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the last 19 years, the school has built a reputation for providing high-quality language services and short learning programmes in a dynamic and international learning environment. Wits Language School endorses interactive teaching styles, uses up-to-date teaching methods, and employs experienced and highly qualified teachers who are mother-tongue speakers to assist all participants in their quest to learn a second language.

Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.

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Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

The changing world of work has disrupted the three elements of the traditional ‘career’: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

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Vital Stats

Traditionally the concept of a ‘career’ was considered to include three elements:

  1. A career represented our expertise, our profession, and ultimately our identity.
  2. A career was something that built over time and endured. It gave us the opportunity to progress and advance.
  3. A career gave us financial and psychological rewards. It made life meaningful and paid us enough to live well.

The changing world of work has disrupted all three elements: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

A career can now be as long as 60 years; at the same time, due to rapid advancements in technology and the changes that bring about in the workplace, skill sets can become obsolete in as little as five years.

Increasingly, companies need to rethink the way in which careers are managed and learning opportunities are delivered, and many have already begun to overhaul their career models and L&D (Learning and Development) infrastructure in line with the digital age.

Related: Your Investment In Knowledge

Employees’ learning behaviour is also changing. In the past, employees were able to obtain the skills required for their career early on and as a once-off; now, the career itself is a journey of learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and continuous reinvention to remain relevant and to thrive in the changing world of work.

Older employees who studied at a time where most of one’s learning occurred prior to entering the workplace, find themselves working alongside millennials who place greater value on learning and progression rather than on earning potential as a first priority.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey say their organisations are shifting to flexible, open career models that offer enriching assignments, projects, and experiences rather than a static career progression.

However, in today’s fast-paced business world, even if companies are restructuring L&D delivery, no one is going to make you engage in a strategy that is essential to your future success – continuous learning. You will have to take the initiative yourself.

Noted self-help expert W. Clement Stone, in his many writings on this topic, recommended that one spends anywhere from a half-hour to two hours a day in study and thinking time. This tireless dedication, combined with an insatiable curiosity, will equip you to excel in the future world of work. What’s more, learning new skills and knowledge can be fun!

The good news for both companies and for employees is that an explosion of high-quality content and digital delivery models offers employees ready access to continuous learning. The Wits DigitalCampus offers a range of accredited and fully online short courses to support your continuous learning.

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Your Investment In Knowledge

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

Wits Plus

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Vital Stats

Most people spend their lives collecting, spending, and worrying about money — so much so, in fact, that they say they “don’t have time” to learn something new.

However, some of smartest and busiest people in the world — Barack Obama, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates — all spend at least one hour a day on deliberate learning. They see what others don’t: That learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. As Benjamin Franklin said long ago, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

One of the very benefits of ongoing technological advances is that it empowers an accelerated and personalised learning experience that puts the learner in the driver’s seat. Modern learning harnesses the speed, power and ubiquity of digital capability. Online platforms, software and mobile devices means that the traditional hurdles to learning — such as income, status and location — have just about disappeared. Knowledge can now be gained by anyone with the passion to pursue it and the commitment to stick with it.

Related: Building Customer Relationships

We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver. Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform all aspects of human capital management, including learning. Technology-enabled learning will be immediate and directly relevant to the task, for example:

  • personally tailored learning content and experiences delivered to you as and when you want or need them
  • chatbots and virtual assistants can source and categorise the information that you need for optimal decision-making
  • augmented and virtual reality simulations can provide a multi-sensory experience to speed up and embed learning.

Additionally, social connectivity already enables user-generated content to outpace and outstrip what traditional education and learning institutions can deliver.

Knowledge may be the new money but, unlike money, you don’t lose it when you use knowledge or give it away. Transferring knowledge anywhere in the world is free and instant. It’s fun to acquire and it makes your brain work better. It helps you think bigger and beyond your circumstances. It puts your life in perspective by essentially helping you live many lives in one life through other people’s experiences and wisdom.

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