I am constantly seeking opportunities to learn, update my skills and if possible for free. There are plenty of resources available online including this blog (shameless plug :).
Don’t get me wrong about free, I do pay if the courses are required and good. But, when I am casually dabbling in some new technology, I want to get my feet wet with free resources if and when possible. For all I know, I may not even revisit :). Often times, free could mean “cheap” and sometimes even useless. So, you have to sift through the web. I am happy to share my experiences here.
I have posted about some of these online educational sites before. Recently, I found out about courses on IBM Developerworks. I have used their site before and their Redbooks. You can find a lot of mainframe as well as client/server topics there.
Their Developerworks learn page is full of quality courses that are free. Here is the page with their Java courses. And they also sponsored the Big Data University which offers several courses that are free. Here is their official pitch:
Learn Data Science With Our Data Science Fundamentals Learning Path
As I mentioned earlier, Coursera, Edx, Udacity and Udemy are some of the other sites I use. These are called Moocs and reputed universities around the world offer highly technical courses on those sites. (For e.g., Udacity offers this nano-degree course on AI). Most of these offer the courses free to audit and fee for certificate option. So, you can try out the course before you fully invest in it.
And if you didn’t know, anyone who has premium membership on Linkedin, already have “Learning” option available to them. This is free. Linkedin aquired Lynda.com, an online training site and they seem to be integrating courses from Lynda into their Learning page. You can read more about it here:
These continuing education sites are a boon to professionals working full time. These courses often cover complete topics but small enough to finish successfully. For e.g., a typical University level course may be broken down into 2 or 3 courses here. And you can take your course at your convenience, and if you miss the deadline for the classes, you can simply roll over to the next session that may start the following month. Remember the goal of these classes is to help you learn not to get a degree or put undue pressure.
I hope you will find these resources useful in adding value to your career path.