Whether you’re fresh out of study and just heading into your first job or you’re already working your way to being top of your game in your chosen field, there’s always the opportunity to learn new skills that can help shape your future career.
If you’ve always wanted to try out something new or you’re itching to give your brain a mini workout outside of the 9-to-5, there are plenty of online courses you can sign up to with zero hassle. Leave behind the days of exams and enjoy learning just for the hell of it.
Like the saying goes though, there’s no time like the present. You don’t have to wait for the New Year to set down some resolutions and goals. Dive right into these courses – you never know what you might learn or how it may come in handy one day.
Brush Up on Your General Knowledge
We all want to be that hidden gem on a pub quiz team who strikes gold with all the answers that no one else knows, but unless you sit with your nose in an encyclopaedia or endlessly scroll through Wikipedia, your general knowledge is likely to be no better than the next person’s.
That’s where websites like Highbrow come in – brush up on your general knowledge by signing up for daily newsletters on a specific topic. Each topic is divided into ten easy-to-digest chunks that’ll give you some solid grounding on anything from the laws of physics to understanding body language.
Or take fifteen minutes out of your day to watch the videos on the Brain Pump and Crash Course YouTube channels. Mixing TV with tricky subjects is a guaranteed way to make facts sink in, because learning through cool animations is far more fun than poring over a textbook, right?
And if you have a lengthy commute you might want to download Curiosity app. It gives you five unusual titbits of information every day, spanning from the weird (a case study of jobs that might exist by 2025) to the downright wonderful (the fact that “you’ll walk about the equivalent of five times around the equator in your lifetime”).
Pick Up a New Language
If there’s one thing that can help open up doors to travel the world, it’s the ability to speak more than one language. Being fluent in another language aside from your mother tongue is a great way to impress in interviews and may give you the opportunity to work in a different country at some point in your career.
You no longer have to commit time to attending night schools or fork out on part-time university courses though. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the language-learning apps on offer, most of which are completely free – a definite bonus!
Two of the best are Duolingo and Babbel, which both have a large selection of languages to practice, including popular European languages like German, French and Spanish, to more unusual choices like Russian, the Scandinavian tongues, and Chinese. Both apps make language learning similar to playing a video game with various puzzles and fun imagery along the way – what’s not to love?
Even if your job doesn’t offer the chance to travel or network with people of different nationalities, you’ll at least be able to impress your friends and family when you go away on holiday by chatting with the locals and asking for directions if you get lost.
Learn How to Code
Now that our culture is so led by technology and the Internet, being able to code is an extremely useful skill to have. Regardless of whether you’re working in a technical industry, if you’re like everyone else you’ll probably spend a large chunk of your time browsing websites (hello Twitter), so understanding basic HTML can help you to make sense of the worldwide web.
Also, with the job market becoming more and more competitive, it’s no surprise that the concept of starting up your own personal blog or portfolio is becoming an increasingly popular choice to help you stand out from the crowd of other candidates. If you can understand the basics of coding, you can easily build a website to showcase your personality and skills, broadcast your work, or even create an interactive CV for employers.
So it’s time to go and chase your curiosity and learn something new that could become really useful for your career prospects. In the words of Albert Einstein, “I am neither clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious”.