How to Fill Skills Gaps Without Going Back to School

Whether you’re looking to get your first job, change fields, or move up within your current company, a personal skills assessment will likely reveal a skills gap or two. Maybe you went to a liberal arts college and became well-rounded in many different skills, but you need to brush up on some technical specifics for a job in finance. Or you’re a great marketing associate who needs to learn CRM management to advance. Or maybe you just think it would be really cool to learn coding.

When you’re only a few years out of college, going back to school might be the last thing you want to do. Well, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to build your skill set without going back to school. Some don’t even require you to leave the couch!

Free (or paid) online courses: Sites like CourseraUdemy, and edX offer courses in a wide range of subjects taught by college professors or industry professionals.

Apps: There’s an app for everything. Luckily for you, that includes learning a foreign language, computer programming, or even yoga.

Hire a Personal Coach: Find a local freelancer or teacher who can not only coach you the skills you want to learn, but teach you how they were able to land their current gig with it.

(or skill swap): Even if you don’t have the extra cash to hire a coach, you could offer to teach a skill you already know in exchange for learning a new one.

Join a MeetUp group: Meet other people trying to develop the same skill set and work through it together. With group members at all different stages in their skill development, you’ll likely find people who can help you and others who could use your help.

Volunteer: Non-profits are always in need of an extra set of hands. Once you’ve gotten fairly competent in your new skill, offer your expertise pro bono in order to gain experience. (bonus: this can totally go on your resume!)

Freelance or side hustle: How about being paid to learn a new skill? I’m not saying you’ll make bank right away, but if you’re learning a widely marketable skill, why not offer your services as a freelancer? Start out offering your skills on Fiverr or Upwork

There are tons of ways to learn new skills and boost your career. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. The important thing is to keep learning.

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