The post-pandemic era has seen drastic changes in the workforce. Job openings reached a near record high in January, and employees are finally gaining newfound leverage in the labor market. This “Great Reshuffle” is granting workers the opportunity to find jobs that align with their passions and skills.
How can we make the most of this phenomenon?
By learning marketable, in-demand skills. It’s the perfect time to develop a skillset or broaden your area of expertise.
The internet has given rise to copious digital training platforms, but most are locked behind pricey paywalls.
I recently discovered that LinkedIn Learning, formerly known as Lynda.com, is completely free for eligible library card holders. A subscription normally costs $39.99 a month, or $26.99 a month if billed annually.
LinkedIn Learning offers over 16,000 self-paced courses that are taught by industry professionals. This digital course provider is powered by LinkedIn’s network, so it maintains an updated library of in-demand hard and soft skills.
How Do I Access LinkedIn Learning?
First, you’ll need to make sure that your library is an eligible patron. Many colleges and employers also provide free access to LinkedIn Learning’s training courses. Contact your library, institution, or employer in order to determine which professional development resources are available to you.
If your local library doesn’t offer a subscription to LinkedIn Learning, don’t worry! You might be eligible to obtain a library card from a neighboring town or city. I’m a former resident of Boston, and I retained my Boston Public Library membership because I’m still a permanent resident of Massachusetts.
Where Do I Start?
You’ll need to enter your library’s ID through LinkedIn Learning’s library patron portal. Your librarian or administrator can provide this information. I accessed my library’s invitation link through the Boston Public Library’s “Online Courses” webpage.
After you enter your library’s ID, you’ll be directed to a login page that requests your library card number and PIN. These will be your login credentials for LinkedIn Learning.
What Types of Courses Are Available?
LinkedIn Learning offers trainings in three main sectors: creative, business, and technology. Each library contains a vast collection of subtopics and courses. There are over 16,000 digital training courses to choose from.
Here are some areas of interest that you might consider:
- Animation and Illustration (Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, AutoCAD, Maya, etc.)
- Audio and Music (recording studio setup, digital audio workstations, live music performance, audio editing, etc.)
- Photography (HDR photography, time-lapse photography, travel photography, photo compositing, etc.)
- Web Design (mobile web design, responsive web design, interactive web content, etc.)
- User Experience (UX design, interactive design, content strategy, etc.)
- Sales (Salesforce, CRM software, sales metrics, sales management, etc.)
- Finance and Accounting (Quickbooks, cryptocurrency, personal finance, corporate finance, etc.)
- Marketing (Google Analytics, Google Ads, pay-per-click marketing, LinkedIn marketing, personal branding, etc.)
- Training and Education (teaching, higher education, corporate training, instructional design, etc.)
- Human Resources (HR software, hiring and interview, talent management, diversity and inclusion, etc.)
- Customer Service (data visualization, diagramming, project management software, etc.)
- Mobile Development (iOS development, Android development, cross-platform development, game development, etc.)
- Software Development (programming languages, programming foundations, database development, etc.)
- Web Development (front-end web development, back-end web development, full-stack web development, etc.)
- IT Help Desk (client operating systems, upgrade and maintenance, software support, etc.)
- Data Science (data analysis, big data, business intelligence, machine learning, etc.)
- Network and System Administration (network administration, server administration, enterprise content management, etc.)
How Do I Decide Which Courses to Take?
It’s entirely up to you. LinkedIn Learning’s courses are self-guided, and you can take as many as you’d like. Some learners choose to expand upon their pre-existing knowledge. Others want to learn something completely new.
If you’re interested in developing career-oriented skillsets, you might benefit from pursuing “learning paths.” LinkedIn Learning describes these curated programs as:
…compiled playlists of related video courses on a specific topic or career track. They include multiple courses by different expert instructors to teach a variety of skills and information associated with that subject or profession.
LinkedIn Learning courses and learning paths equip you with certificates of completion that you can use to document your professional development progress. You’ll bolster your résumé and gain skills that will impress potential clients or employers.
How are Courses Formatted?
These digital learning courses are broken down into concise chapters and sections. You can jump to or bookmark any section.
Industry professionals lead each pre-recorded course at a steady, easy-to-follow pace. Courses are self-guided, so you can rewind, fast forward, or adjust the playback speed to suit your needs.
Captions are available for all videos. The majority of courses offer written transcripts as well. Transcript text is clickable and searchable. You can click on any word or section to jump to the corresponding portion of the video.
Another useful feature is the notebook tool. Notes that you take will appear in a timestamped, chronological order under each section. They’re helpful for adding context to what you’re learning or marking sections that you would like to review again.
Many courses also include downloadable exercise files to assist with hands-on learning and application. They typically contain a mixture of assignment files and helpful resources, such as copyediting style sheets.
Can I Earn Education Credits?
LinkedIn Learning is partnered with universities worldwide that offer academic credit for completing eligible learning paths. You can earn official academic credit upon successful learning assessment and university program enrollment.
LinkedIn Learning also offers the opportunity to obtain continuing education units (CEUs). These non-academic credits count towards classroom and training requirements for maintaining professional licensure.
If you’re working towards any professional certifications, you can get a head start through LinkedIn Learning’s certification preparation programs. Prep courses explore concepts and objectives that will be tested by certification exams. Featured programs include Adobe, AVID, Autodesk, Google, Salesforce, and Meta.
I think that LinkedIn Learning is an incredible opportunity for professional growth. It takes time and effort to develop new skills, but thankfully, it doesn’t always need to cost money.
I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to be feel limited by your career. We’re free to pursue whatever paths we want. We just need to learn the appropriate tools to get there.
So, what are your thoughts on LinkedIn Learning? Do you think you’ll end up trying it? Feel free to comment which courses and learning paths you’re interested in!
Michelle was raised in East Boston, MA. She holds a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in Psychology from Lesley University, where she studied the art and craft of creative writing through workshop-based seminars and literary analysis courses.
Michelle has taken on roles as an Editorial Intern at DigBoston Magazine and an Editorial Mentor Intern at The Marble Collection. She formerly managed over 50 editorial projects at Elsevier in Cambridge, MA.
Michelle has volunteered at 826 Boston as a college essay writing tutor and publishing corp volunteer. In 201, she was invited to participate as a panelist for aspiring teen writers at the Boston Public Library.
Michelle’s poetry can be found in Commonthought Magazine, Boston Poetry Magazine, SLAB Literary Magazine, and Fearsome Critters Arts Journal. She was also selected as a featured poet in JSJ Events’ Empowered series.
Michelle enjoys video games, gaming conventions, and music festivals. She is a strong advocate for socioeconomic equality, social justice, support for the arts, and and animal rights.