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Advice / Career Paths / Training & Development

50 (Cheap!) Professional Development Classes Anyone Can Take

Have you ever wanted to boost your professional skills but been held back for one reason or another? Maybe your department doesn’t have a training budget, and you can’t fathom the thought of throwing down $500 for a class. Maybe you’re not sure where to find the right class for you. Or maybe you’re simply overwhelmed by all of the options!

Well, we’re leaving you with no excuses: This Professional Development Month, we’ve updated our round-up of fantastic classes, webinars, tutorials, and videos that’ll help you learn new skills—whether you want to try your hand at programming, master public speaking, or be a better leader to your team. Best of all, they’re all under $200—and many are free!

All of the classes on our list are appropriate for just about anyone who wants to learn about the topic (no fancy skills or special experience required!). So, choose one or more, and get ready to get to the next level in your career.

Career Classes

1. Managing Your Career: Lynda, Free with membership

Want to build a rewarding career out of your interests, skills, and experience? In this course, career expert Valerie Sutton guides you through the process of proactively managing your career.

2. Build Your Personal Brand in 4 Easy Steps: Udemy, $149

This course by personal branding guru Dan Schawbel will show you, from start to finish, how to build a personal brand that you will be proud of.

3. Land That Promotion: Muse University, Free

Looking to move up but aren’t sure how to start climbing that ladder? Don’t worry: This two-week email class is full of strategies that’ll set you up for success.

4. Career Academy: Eat Your Career, $27/month

The Career Academy is a one-of-a-kind career “school” that teaches you everything you need to know to get ahead and achieve the career success you deserve.

5. How to Get a Job Using Social Media: Muse University, Free

In this email class, in partnership with digital powerhouse Mashable, you’ll learn how to establish your social brand, network with people online, and identify job opportunities via social media.

Communication Classes

6. Heroic Public Speaking: CreativeLive, $99

In this series of 23 videos, two public speaking experts will teach you a system for engaging, persuading, and inspiring your audience, no matter the size.

7. On-Camera Training: Mediabistro, $179

Learn how to prepare for live and taped media appearances, address interview questions clearly, and ensure that you look and sound your best on-screen in this self-paced course.

8. Negotiation Fundamentals: Lynda, Free with membership

Coach, negotiation expert, and Daily Muse columnist Lisa Gates shares strategies for asking for a raise, setting fees, promoting teamwork, and bringing out the best in those you manage.

9. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives: Lynda, Free with membership

In this 45-minute course, author Dane Howard interviews executives from Google, Apple, and Adobe who share their take on how to effectively move projects and product ideas forward.

10. The Secrets of Body Language, Udemy, $49

Learn how to interpret the body language of the people around you while perfecting your own non-verbal communication in this two-hour video class.

Design Classes

11. Learn InDesign: Layouts, Type, and Images: Skillshare, $20

Whether you want to develop marketing materials, design your own resume, or just gain an understanding of the software, this class will give you a solid understanding of how InDesign works.

12. Web Design Fundamentals: Lynda, Free with membership

This course gives an overview of web design and development techniques and technologies, fundamental concepts, terms, and best practices involved in professional web design.

13. Wireframing: The First Steps of Web Design: Skillshare, $20

To make a well-constructed, organized, and easy-to-use site, you need to spend time planning out your content. Learn how to make the most of this important step in web design with this self-paced class.

14. Slides That Rock: Create an Awesome Presentation About Your Company, Product, or Service: Skillshare, $25

Perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to communicate more effectively, this class will show you how to design attractive slides that will make people stop and listen.

15. How to Design a Brand: CreatorUp, $40

Do you have a business, but no branding? Learn how to define your brand strategy, discover your unique identity, conceptualize a powerful logo, and utilize your branding effectively.

Entrepreneurship Classes

16. Entrepreneurship & Business Course: iTunes, Free

This comprehensive and highly ranked podcast series includes expert advice on idea generation, company formation, funding, business plans, marketing strategies, IPOs and acquisitions, and more.

17. How to Build a Startup: Udacity, Free

Seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank shares the key tools and steps to build a successful startup (or at least reduce the risk of failure) in this eight-lesson class.

18. 21 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Udemy, Free

Jason Nazar, CEO of Docstoc, shares important lessons learned during his career, first by working with new companies, then from starting his own successful business.

19. How to Develop a Venture-Worthy Business Model: General Assembly, $25

Entrepreneur David Verchere demystifies what venture capitalists are looking for in their investments and shares the first steps to evaluating the profitability of your business model.

20. Minimum Viable Product: Launch Your Startup Idea for Less Than 1K: Skillshare, Free

Whether you’re looking to launch a startup or open a restaurant, you’ll learn how to quickly validate your ideas in this class from Skillshare’s CEO Michael Karnjanaprakorn.

Management Classes

21. Having Difficult Conversations: Lynda, Free with membership

Leadership coach and Lynda’s Director of Learning and Development Britt Andreatta shares her tips and strategies for having those tough conversations with your employees.

22. Management 101: Muse University, Free

From being a strong leader to dealing with those situations that aren’t in your employee handbook, this month-long class (delivered straight to your inbox!) will give you the tools you need to manage like a boss.

23. What Great Bosses Know: iTunes, Free

This podcast series by the Poynter Institute’s Jill Geisler is chock-full of management topics—big and small—that’ll help you get ahead at work.

24. Managing Teams: Lynda, Free with membership

Full of practical tips and useful strategies, this course is a great reference for first-time managers and for more experienced managers who need to address a specific issue.

25. Managing for People Who Hate Managing: American Management Association, Free

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to identify your strengths, find your best management style, and adapt to your employees’ personalities so that everyone can work better together.

Marketing Classes

26. Content Marketing for New Marketers: Create Your First Content Strategy: General Assembly, Free with membership

Whether you’re branding your business or yourself, learn how to use content to your advantage.

27. Growth Hacking: Lean Marketing for Startups: Udemy, $49

Whether you work for a startup or just have a startup-sized marketing budget, learn how to grow your product from zero to millions of users with lean marketing techniques.

28. Building an Integrated Online Marketing Plan: Lynda, Free with membership

Learn how to integrate all the moving parts of a successful marketing strategy—email, social media, search, and more—without diluting your message in this three-hour video course.

29. SEO 101: Hubspot, Free

In this free webinar, you’ll learn the basics of optimizing your website for search engines to drive more traffic and new leads.

30. How to Understand Your Buyers: 5 Insights for Better Marketing: Online Marketing Institute, Free

In just 40 minutes, discover a practical way to get to the truth about your buyers and learn how just a few insights result in persuasive marketing content and campaigns.

Project Management & Productivity Classes

31. Up and Running With Basecamp: Lynda, Free with membership

In this course, author Bonnie Biafore shows you how to manage projects, teams, and schedules using popular cloud collaboration tool Basecamp.

32. Project Management: Essential Tools and Techniques: Udemy, Free

Boost your proficiency in project management by learning tools and techniques to manage scope, time, resources, and people.

33. Project Management Best Practices: General Assembly, $25

From developing a solid project foundation to improving communication within your team, this class will provide a clearer idea of where you should focus your energy as a project manager.

34. How to Pick a Project Management App: General Assembly, $25

Pivotal Tracker, Trello, Asana, Lighthouse, JIRA—this session will look at a range of different project management apps, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to pick between them.

35. Hack Your Work Life: Muse University, Free

Are you always wishing there was just a little more time in the day? Sign up for this seven-day class and learn the secrets to unlocking your uber-productive potential.

Tech Classes

36. Build a HTML and CSS Website From Scratch: Skillshare, $40

Perfect for anyone with a website idea or an interest in learning how to code, this self-paced class will give you the skills you need to create your own site.

37. Google’s Python Class: Google, Free

A free, self-paced class for people with a little bit of programming experience who want to learn Python.

38. The Django Book: Free

This site is the online version of The Django Book, a free book about the Django Web framework for the Python programming language.

39. Rails for Zombies: Free

Learning Rails for the first time should be fun, and this course of videos and exercises definitely is (seriously, you learn how to build Twitter for Zombies).

40. JavaScript: CodeSchool, Free

Learn how to build lightweight applications in this powerful scripting language through online lessons and screencasts.

41. Get Started Working With Git: Skillcrush, Free

Get started with developers’ favorite version-control and code-sharing tool, GitHub, in this online tutorial.

42. Codecademy: Free

Codecademy is billed as "the easiest way to learn how to code." The tutorials are interactive, fun, and you can do them with your friends.

43. Getting Started With Google Analytics: Udemy, Free

This Google Analytics training course will help you master the basics and see what it takes to turbocharge your website performance.

44. Program iPhone Apps: Become an iPhone Developer: Skillshare, $49

Do you have an idea for a mobile app? Whether you’ve ever programmed before or not, this class will help you create your app from scratch.

45. Advanced Excel: Udemy, $99

Need to know more than the Excel basics? In this tutorial, you’ll learn about Sparklines, Macros, Pivot Tables, and more.

Writing Classes

46. How to Write Killer Content for Your Website: Ragan, $29.95

Learn from web content management guru Gerry McGovern how to write and self-edit your website in this convenient toolkit.

47. Write Less, Say More: Produce Powerful Written Communication: Udemy, $149

In this three-hour course, writer and editor Caroline McDevitt shares her secrets to writing concise content and powerful messages.

48. Copy Editing: Mediabistro, $179

In this 12-session self-paced course, you’ll learn how to resolve punctuation issues, spot and correct common errors, and craft elegant sentences.

49. Personal Essay Writing for Digital Media: How to Grab Your Readers’ Attention: Skillshare, $25

How to translate your story into the written word—and get it out there in the world.

50. 8 Steps to Discovering and Creating Content Your Audience Will Love: Online Marketing Institute, Free

How do you come up with ideas for content—and then consistently create blogs, articles, and stories your audiences will love? This video will show you how.

Photo of professional development materials courtesy of Shutterstock.