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Online Learning

The growth of free online college courses and training programs has made it possible to enhance your résumé or acquire foundational knowledge at a pace that suits your needs.

Completing a few of these courses over the summer can help you move into a hot specialty or management role as early as next fall.

Big Data

Many of the top-paying skills in the Dice 2016 Salary Survey involved Big Data. Data scientists typically see a 16 percent increase in their median base salary when changing jobs, according to Forbes. The more knowledge you pick up, the better your chances to jumping to a new, better-paying position. With that in mind, here are free online courses that plunge into the nitty-gritty of data work:

Project Management

According to the Dice Survey, PMs earned average salaries of $113,663 last year. Project management involves a combination of hard and soft skills that are difficult to master, but these courses can perhaps help:

  • Diploma in Modern Project Management Theory and Practice (ALISON)
    This course is ideal for anyone who wants a better understanding of what’s involved in effective project management, or who wants to gain a better understanding of the project management process, according to Dr Eric Corbett, head of learning content at ALISON.

AI/Machine Learning

Transitioning into the AI/Machine Learning field may be the best way to keep AI from stealing your job.

  • Autonomous Mobile Robots, ETH Zurich (edX)
    Basic concepts and algorithms for locomotion, perception and intelligent navigation.
  • Practical Machine Learning, Johns Hopkins University (Coursera)
    The course covers the complete process of building prediction functions, including data collection, feature creation, algorithms and evaluation. There’s a fee if you want to receive a grade and certificate, but you can audit the course for free.

IT Management

A recent report referred to IT managers as the new “it” tech position, with average compensation ranging from $105,750 to $159,000. But landing this position takes a good deal of knowledge.

  • Diploma in Information Technology Management (ALISON)
    This is an intermediate-level course, so the learner needs a basic understanding of IT. But it’s perfect for tech pros who want to grow and move into a management position.

IoT

Research firm Gartner has stated that 6.4 billion connected "things" will be in use in 2016, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Create Your Own IoT Device, UC Irvine (Coursera)
    Design, create, and deploy an IoT device using Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms. Although the course asks for a small fee, you can take the course for free if you don’t want to receive a grade or certificate.

Programming

In addition to the free coding courses available through Codecademy, the following organizations offer a variety of free online courses for expanding your technical skills over the summer: