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Nine free online resources for professional development

According to the LeanIn report, Black women make up 7.4% of the population in the U.S yet hold only 1.4% of C-suite positions and 1.7% of vice president roles in the country. There are several reasons for this, one of them being the lack of proper professional development support in the workplace.

Where other demographics can easily access ongoing training and education, the road is so much harder for Black women. As a result, many professional women of color have to fight twice as hard to be awarded the same access.

The best way to bridge the gap is to put your professional development in your own hands. I have below nine free online resources that you can use to expand your knowledge at your own pace.

1. LinkedIn Learning

This platform is a great way to connect with professionals around the world. Aside from this feature, the website offers video courses taught by experts in various disciplines. There are over 15,000 courses to choose from. Some are free and some you need to pay a subscription. Certificates are also available for purchase at the end of the courses.

2. Coursera

Coursera is one of the best free online resources that offer courses from well-known universities. The courses are in video format and you can watch them at any time. The platform also offers master’s degrees from accredited universities.

3. Edx

Edx offers university-level courses in several disciplines that you can browse through. The courses are rolled out on a weekly basis and are a combination of video tutorials and textbook exercises. There is an online discussion forum where you can engage teaching assistants. You can also get a certificate after completion.

4. Udemy

Udemy allows you to tailor your courses for disciplines in design, marketing, and many more. There is an extensive library of courses to choose from and all subjects are taught by experts.

5. Skillshare

Skillshare is geared toward a more practical online learning experience. The skills on offer include graphic design, e-commerce, photography, etc. The platform is designed to cater to people that are in the creative industry. The classes are taught by successful creators in various industries. You can join the classes using any online device.

6. FutureLearn

FutureLearn offers a diverse selection of subjects from leading institutions. The style of teaching is staged to suit different learning paces. There is also a very interactive discussion platform that allows you to talk about what you are learning with others as you progress. There are quizzes, exams, videos, and articles that accompany each new lesson.

7. Stanford Online

Stanford Online provides free online degrees, courses and so much more. There is a wide range of subjects to choose from. A very extensive free e-book library, webinars, and videos support the platform.

8. Apple Developer Site

If you are into software development and programming, the Apple Developer Site is a great online resource that is free to use. It offers application programming interfaces, software development tools, and technical materials. It has so much more including articles and an interactive forum that allows you to engage with others in the industry.

9. iTunes U

Although Apple is discontinuing iTunes U at the end of 2021, iTunes U was launched in 2007 as a way for educators to provide university level content to the broader iTunes platform. There are thousands of courses on the platform that cover a variety of topics. Whatever you want to learn about, you can find it on iTunes U.

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