Selena Blue

Marketing Careers: 5 sites to develop and enhance your skills with free online courses

March 31st, 2015

Marketing is continually changing and evolving, and nothing has propelled that more than the Internet.

This means marketers must grow with the industry. According to Formstack, those in digital marketing now need seven skills beyond the norm to succeed:career key

  • Analytics
  • Social media
  • Data visualization
  • Technical skills
  • Teamwork
  • Newsjacking
  • Soft skills


While the digital age has created a need for new skills, it has also enabled marketers to learn those skills with the click of a button, without going back to college.

It’s possible to learn these skills through books, blog posts, podcasts and more, all with little to no cost commitment. There are also moderate to expensive online courses available. However, for those who might want a more structured or interactive learning experience without the cost, we have a few options for you to check out.

Read on to learn about five different sites that can help expand your skills in a variety of areas.


Google Analytics Academy

Skill: Analytics

Google offers free online courses to improve analytics skills in its Analytics Academy. It’s an at-your-own-pace format. You can watch lessons from Google’s experts, then test your knowledge through quizzes and practices exercises. They have also created a learning community with course forums so you can engage with other students and experts.

After you’ve mastered the courses, you can earn Google Analytics Individual Qualification by taking the IQ test, which is now free of charge.



Skill: Coding

Codeacademy’s mission is “teaching the world how to code.” For no cost, users can learn to code in multiple programming languages:

  • HTML and CSS
  • Javascript
  • jQuery
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • PHP

It also offers courses on to make a website, an interactive website and a Rails Application, where students build their own versions of popular websites — Airbnb, Flipboard and Etsy.

In a comparison of online coding schools, Tom Davenport of WIRED, gave Codeacademy the highest score of those he reviewed, saying, “It’s the most accessible platform in the group and makes a point of comparing techniques to real-world examples, so you can understand where to apply them.”

all subjects



Skills: Social media, app development, statistics, leadership, project management and more

When I started researching for this post, my colleague Regina Love, Operations Manager, MECLABS Institute, introduced me to ALISON.

ALISON offers free, certified courses in a wide variety of topics. It has 5 million learners in 200 countries.

Regina said, “As a newbie to project management, it gave me the necessary understanding and tools to develop skills I needed for the workplace. I liked that I didn’t have to pay $2,000 for information to just get a feel for what the course was.”



Skills: Visual storytelling, Photoshop and more

Skillshare hasn’t grown to the level of some other online course sites, but the site does have its own niche. It’s “mission is to unlock the world’s creativity.” If you’re interested in tapping into your hidden creative side, they have everything from typography and Adobe Illustrator to branding and storyboarding.

The site has two membership models, with a Free Membership option where you can enroll in any free class and join the community discussions.



Skills: Data analysis, content strategy, workplace communication, time management and more

Coursera partners with more than 115 top universities and educational organizations to offer free courses across 25 categories.

The courses use videos, quizzes, group discussions and projects to facilitate learning. Some courses are offered on-demand at any time, but most are offered periodically so that you experience the class with classmates around the world.

You can take any class for free; however, to earn verified certification, Coursera does charge.

It also offers specializations, where you “master a skill with a targeted sequence” of course. After the final course, you can apply in a capstone project. This includes “Content Strategy for Professions in Organizations,” “Digital Marketing” and “Become a Social Scientist: Methods and statistics.” For these courses, you can take them for free, but to be eligible for the capstone, you must participate in the paid signature track.


You can follow Selena Blue, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at @SelenaLBlue.


You might also like

MECLABS Careers — Current Openings

Marketing Career: 3 steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile [More from the blogs]

Marketing Career: Don’t overlook these 4 marketing fundamentals [More from the blogs]

Marketing Career: Why a value proposition makes marketing “good” [More from the blogs]

Selena Blue

About Selena Blue

Selena Blue, Partnership Content Manager, MECLABS As Partnership Content Manager, Selena crafts various content to serve MECLABS Partners. From writing books on customer insights to building PowerPoint decks, she creates stories around our Partners’ successes and experiment discoveries to aid their marketing optimization transformation. Prior to her current position, she started at MECLABS as copy editor, then moved into a writing role as reporter. Selena holds a B.S. in communications and an M.S. in integrated marketing and management communications, both from Florida State University.

Categories: Marketing Careers Tags: , , , ,

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.