In an article, “6 Free Online Courses to Beef Up Your Resume,” a number of free, online courses from universities such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and Stanford University are featured as assets that will help beef up resumes and increase hiring potential. Among the roundup of great opportunities is a free, online book authored by David Eck, professor of mathematics and computer science, “Introduction to Programming Using Java.”
According to the article in SmartMoney, Eck’s book is among three free resources recommended to students by Olivier Koch, a Ph.D. student in robotics and an instructors in MIT’s Introduction to Software Engineering course.
The complete SmartMoney article follows.
6 Free Online Courses to Beef Up Your Resume
Deal of the Day • Aleksandra Todorova • April 17, 2009
In this competitive job market, any extra skills you acquire can help beef up your resume and boost your odds of getting hired.
And the best part is: You don’t have to pay a dime to do so.
Prestigious universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and Stanford University, are offering courses on the web that don’t require you to apply, enroll or shell out thousands of dollars. In fact, many colleges and universities are offering podcasts, web videos and slideshows that professors use to teach their regular classes on the web for free.
“Not only is [taking an online course] a good educational opportunity, it’s something smart to talk about when interviewing,” says Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire, a New York-based employment company. It’s also a great way to spruce up your resume — as long as you disclose that the course is an online non-credited class, says Jay Meschke, president of executive search firm EFL Associates.
The OpenCourseWare Consortium offers free non-credited access to lectures and assignments at universities in the U.S. and abroad, including Oxford University. AcademicEarth.org, meanwhile, offers videos of lectures at Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton and provides a list of top-rated instructors.
SmartMoney.com spoke with recruiters and headhunters to find out which skills are in high demand among employers these days and which free online courses would help you acquire those skills. Here are six that could help you get a leg up on the competition.
1. Green Business: Sustaining a Business in a More Eco-Friendly World
Course to take: Laboratory for Sustainable Business, at MIT
With the government promising to spend some $43 billion on green energy initiatives and to create three to four million jobs in sustainability in the next two years, being well-versed in the business behind such eco-friendly initiatives is a good way to grab an employer’s attention, says Johnson.
MIT’s Laboratory for Sustainable Business class teaches such skills using case studies of businesses that are grappling with how to adapt to or embrace new green policies and initiatives. Graduate students from a variety of backgrounds, including business, science and engineering attend the class, says lead lecturer Sarah Slaughter.
The University of California, Berkeley also offers a series of video lectures on the causes and consequences of climate change called Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems.
2. Administrative work: Handle Microsoft Office Apps Like a Pro
Course to take: Training course in Microsoft Office applications, including PowerPoint and Excel, from Microsoft (MSFT).
If you’re seeking a job that requires administrative skills, chances are you’ll be tested in PowerPoint or Excel. “Even if you’ve used it daily in your previous work, but you don’t know the official ins and outs, you’ll score poorly on an assessment,” says Johnson. Taking a free course or online tutorial is a way to improve your chances of acing such a test. To help you do so, Microsoft offers free training courses in Office 2003 and Office 2007 applications on its web site.
3. Technology: Juice Up Your Java Knowledge
Course to take: Introduction to Software Engineering in Java, at MIT
“Java”– as in the Java programming language — is one of the top three key words employers and recruiters use in IT resume searches at CareerBuilder.com.
MIT’s Introduction to Software Engineering course is a great place to start learning. Java is used in a range of fields, including computer science, biology, chemistry and physics, says Olivier Koch, a Ph.D. student in robotics and one of the class’s instructors. As a supplement to class materials, Koch recommends that his classroom students also tap into these three free resources: “How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, Java Version,” a 300-page book; Introduction to Programming Using Java, an online class taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and The Official Java API, the document specification for version 6 of the Java Platform from Sun Microsystems (JAVA).
Also, consider Introduction to Computer Science, taught by David J. Malan at Harvard University, which takes you through the basics of programming languages. Video and slides for each lecture are available here.
4. Health-Care Services: Help Care for Aging Baby Boomers
Course to take: Managing Long-Term Care Services for Aging Populations, at The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health.
As the baby boom generation grows older, the need for long-term care services for seniors – from assisted living facilities and nursing homes to at-home care – is expected to skyrocket. Johns Hopkins’ Managing Long-Term Care Services for Aging Populations teaches the basics of planning, organizing and delivering such services. The class covers a range of topics including regulatory issues that impact long-term care and the principles of managing senior services. Paul Willging, who teaches the class, notes that it’s best to have a background in health care first. For other free Johns Hopkins courses offered online, click here.
5. Marketing: Know the Difference Between a Wiki, Tweet and Blog
Course to take: Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning, at Utah State University
Are you a Facebook pro yet? You should be, at least if you’re seeking a job in marketing or communications, says Carolyne Savini, director of recruiting at Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, a sports marketing company. Cover the basics with Utah State University’s Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning class.
Also check out the web site of Sreenath Sreenivasan, a new media professor at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, which offers an updated list of new media articles, statistics and resources.
6. Accounting: Crunch Numbers for a New Economy
Course to take: Financial Markets, at Yale University
Yes, the financial industry is bleeding jobs, but accounting and bookkeeping skills remain in high demand. Last month, 1,600 new jobs were created in the field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To be sure, accounting isn’t a trade you can learn solely online or practice without a degree (and the required certifications), but if you have a background in the industry it may be a good way to brush up on or expand your skills. To bone up, consider Yale professor Robert Shiller’s Financial Markets class, the videos of which are posted on AcademicEarth.org.
If you’ve only got an hour or so to spare, be sure to watch Origins of the Financial Mess, a lecture by Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton.
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