Benjamin Franklin was definitely onto something when he said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Because the more you know—the more skills and training you acquire—the more you’re likely to get the job you want. And to rake in higher pay.
And it’s never too late to start learning, as there are many easy certifications to get online, which will save you precious hours and money. Obtaining a new degree or taking a college course can be time-consuming and expensive. So if you’re thinking about upgrading your skills, online certifications are the most efficient way to go—especially since you can get them at our own pace, with flexible scheduling.
How Can a Certification Help Your Career?
Wondering why we’re even recommending getting a certification? Here are the main reasons:
- A lack of marketable skills can be a barrier to employment. Certifications are proof that you’ve acquired certain skills, abilities, or qualifications within a specific trade or profession.
- They increase your value as a candidate when applying to jobs. You’ll have an advantage over candidates who don’t have the same certifications.
- They can accelerate your career—whether that’s being first-in-line for a promotion or asking for a raise or negotiating a higher salary for a new job.
Easy Certifications to Get Online
There are a ton of easy certifications to get online, along with various providers. But we’ve narrowed them down to a list of five notable ones. Each of these are free (or affordable), in demand with employers, and popular within different industries.
IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
It’s all around you. Data, data, data. Online, it defines you—and also defines everything else. So, if you have any interest in how it all really works, you should consider a certification in data science. Companies everywhere are looking for qualified data analysts and data scientists to help them make important decisions.
Beginners can fast-track their entry into this realm by completing the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate. You don’t need any prior knowledge of programming languages (or even computer science); you can just jump right into this series of 10 online courses that’ll teach you everything from data visualization, predictive modeling, and machine-learning algorithms to valuable applicable skills—such as programming with Python and SQL (Structured Query Language)—and working with databases.
- Where to get the certification online: Head over to Coursera’s enrollment portal for the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate program.
- Requirements: Complete 10 courses.
- How long it takes: About 11 months.
- What jobs you can get: Become a data analyst or a data scientist.
- Salary potential: Data analysts can make between $49,715 and $104,630, while data scientists can make between $89,849 and $136,766.
HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Course
You know about all the marketing that bombards you on a daily basis—from the billboards you see on the highway to online pop-up ads. That’s outbound marketing. But inbound marketing is much more strategic and organic, allowing businesses to attract customers with highly optimized blogs, digital content, events, and social media.
In terms of easy certifications to get online on this end, try HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Course, which is free and will teach you many useful techniques, terminology, and the core tactics you’ll need to succeed in this field, including how to create content that brings in and captures consumers and how to enhance digital marketing processes.
- Where to get the certification online: Head over to HubSpot Academy’s enrollment portal for their Inbound Marketing Course.
- Requirements: Complete seven lessons (with 24 videos and seven quizzes).
- How long it takes: About 3:25 hours.
- What jobs you can get: Become a social media strategist or a digital marketing specialist.
- Salary potential: Social media strategists can make between $31,906 and $61,884, while digital marketing specialists can make between $41,675 and $79,043.
Google Project Management: Professional Certificate
Almost every kind of company has a need for project managers. Do you always envision the endgame—and the steps to get there on time and on budget? Are you a stickler for quality and efficiency? Are you good at managing teams? These will all help if you want to pursue a career in project management.
You can attain the necessary skills and expertise to become a project manager through one of several easy certifications to get online. The Google Project Management: Professional Certificate is offered at the beginner level (as part of their training sessions for Google Career Certificates), so you don’t need a degree or prior experience. It’s recommended to do about 10 hours a week, and then you’ll be able to complete the program in around six months.
Through interactive content developed by Google employees, you’ll learn about both traditional methods and the iterative agile project management system—which lays out an incremental approach to project execution—and scrum frameworks, as well as engage in real-world scenarios to give you a pragmatic foundation.
- Where to get the certification online: Head over to Coursera’s enrollment portal for the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate program.
- Requirements: Complete six courses.
- How long it takes: About six months.
- What job you can get: Become a project manager.
- Salary potential: Project managers can make between $54,732 and $106,717.
Aquent Gymnasium’s UX Fundamentals
Are you a creative or graphic designer who gets peeved at misplaced text on a website or unsightly buttons on an app? All content online has user experience (UX) elements, and companies continually need UX designers to implement them. If you want to push your design career into the future, then make some space to study UX principles.
Taught by an industry expert, Aquent Gymnasium’s UX Fundamentals is a free course that’ll demystify the concepts of information design and run through everything you need to become a certified UX pro—from wireframes, prototypes, and user personas to conducting user testing. You’ll need over three years of professional graphic/web-design experience (and familiarity with Adobe applications or other graphic design software) to sign up.
- Where to get the certification online: Head over to Aquent Gymnasium’s enrollment portal for its UX Fundamentals course.
- Requirements: Complete six lessons and score 85% or higher on the final exam.
- How long it takes: About three-to-six hours.
- What jobs you can get: Become a UX designer.
- Salary potential: UX designers can make between $78,191 and $115,628.
Harvard University: CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science (CS50x)
Computers aren’t going away—and neither is computer science. And so many career options are emerging from this field these days. But, if you can’t opt for a four-year degree—for whatever reason—we’ll let you in on a little secret: There are some easy certifications to get online that don’t have any prerequisites, including a free and coveted introductory-yet-comprehensive course from one of the best universities in the country.
- Where to get the certification online: Head over to edX’s enrollment portal for Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science course (CS50x).
- Requirements: Complete nine problem-sets and a final project (and you’ll receive a certificate if you earn a satisfactory score).
- How long it takes: About 12 weeks (with six-to-18 hours per week).
- What jobs you can get: Become a computer scientist, web developer, or software engineer.
- Salary potential: Computer scientists can make between $56,889 and $128,770. Meanwhile, web developers can make between $58,118 and $118,956, and software engineers can make between $64,706 and $127,490.
Ready to Elevate Your Career and Salary Potential?
By completing any of these easy certifications to get online, you’re raising your value and priming yourself for success. We encourage you to make use of all of Monster’s additional resources too. Do so by joining us as a member for free: Create a profile, and you’ll be able to apply to any jobs related to your certifications. Plus, we’ll send you savvy career advice, along with personalized alerts about relevant job openings in your location.