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The Best Online Courses for Graphic Design, Web Development, Productivity, and more!

40 Days of Blogging - Day 22

It’s 2015, and the opportunity to learn just about anything you can imagine is right at your fingertips.

For years I wondered if going back to school for a graduate degree was what I needed to do in order to figure the next step in my career path. But, I just couldn’t bear the thought of taking a useless standardized test (no offense to those who might support them) just to get into a school. I despised tests, especially when they were in subjects that didn’t interest me.

I always said that IF I was going to go back to school, it would be for graphic design because that’s the one skill I wanted to learn for so long. I learned that getting into The Art Institute meant a very expensive tuition and lots of classes (including some “standard” classes that didn’t even have to do with design). It just didn’t feel right at the time (especially the expense).

In 2012, I discovered the world of online courses. Because of the courses I took, I was able to find my passion (or at least explore what I already knew was my passion) in an affordable, convenient way that totally worked for me and with my lifestyle.

I wrote about my journey in this blog post, if you’re interested in knowing how it’s all played out so far.

There are way too many online courses in way too many subjects to list them all here, so I decided to list only my favorites – ALL of which I have personally taken and highly recommend.

Even if you aren’t sure what you’d like to learn, these are all worth checking out. At minimum, you can sign up for their email list to stay informed of their offerings.

I’m excited to share my favorite online courses and resources with you, and here they are:

VA Training Program – Created by Ali Rittenhouse, this is an excellent training program for aspiring and current Virtual Assistants. It focuses on a plethora of productivity tools as well as an introduction to WordPress.

Web Designer Beauty School – This is where so much magic happened for me (especially with web design)! I learned WordPress, HTML, CSS, some design skills, and I met amazing new friends.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live foreverNicole’s Classes – This is where my design journey really began. I took 6 different classes with Nicole’s Classes, and I even had the honor of being one of their featured students, which you can read about here. The classes are short (2 or 4 weeks), and they offer PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, Branding, Lightroom, Photography, Food Styling, and Floral Arranging.

Atly – When I noticed that my two favorite teachers (and really, the only two I took classes from) were no longer teaching at Nicole’s Classes, I found them over at Atly. The extremely talented and knowledgeable Alma Loveland and Melanie Burk are now both teaching classes at Atly, and I couldn’t be happier. Atly offers a few more subject areas than Nicole’s Classes does, and the classes are a bit less expensive. Plus, you can pay a little more for feedback from the teacher. You can also TEACH a class through Atly, which is pretty darn cool!

Lynda.com – I haven’t actually taken a paid course through Lynda.com, but I’ve taken a few of their free tutorials. They offer a wide variety of technical classes, and you can have unlimited access to ALL of them for a mere $25/month! That’s a pretty amazing deal. They offer a free trial, too, so why not give them a try?

BYOB – Created by Rick Anderson (a Thesis and Genesis genius), you can learn how to build your own website, watch tutorials, attend webinars, or get some web design coaching. He is also the person behind the Thesis Footer Widget Box. {If you’re a Thesis person and know what this is, you know how awesome it is. If you’re a Thesis person and don’t know about his Footer Widgets Box, let me know so I can fill you in!}

Stress Less & Impress – Created by Leah Kalamakis – a fellow Girl’s Guide to Web Design graduate and the uber-smart person behind the Freelance to Freedom Project – this course teaches you all about how to be more productive in your business. From accounting programs to project management to setting boundaries with clients, this course is FANTASTIC! You can also check out this FREE Freelance Process Cheat Sheet for some must-have tools to help you streamline your processes.

Many of the courses listed above offer lifetime access to their material as well as lifetime support. A few of the links above are affiliate links, and as I stated earlier, I would only list and recommend people, courses, and companies that I believe in.

What are some of your favorites?
Tell me in the comments below – especially if it’s something I didn’t mention above.

Until tomorrow,

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6 comments

6 comments… add one

  • Jackie Johnstone April 2, 2015

    What a great list, Stefani! And high five for being over the halfway mark in your 40 days of blogging! AMAZING.

    • Stefani Harris April 2, 2015

      Thank you so much, Jackie! Whew – only a few more posts to go! But I’m not stopping when it’s done…but probably won’t be doing it daily. 🙂 More like weekly!

  • Janet April 2, 2015

    You know I TOTALLY agree on all of these (though take that back, I haven’t taken Ali’s VA course but it looks awesome too)! Great list – here’s another one I’ve recently added to my list: From the awesome Katy Martin & Krista Smith http://webdesignerbeautyschool.com/ 🙂

    • Stefani Harris April 2, 2015

      Oops, you’re right, Janet. I totally forgot that one. Love it! thank you!

  • Amanda April 2, 2015

    Great article! I definitely want to try the Stress Less & Impress.

    • Stefani Harris April 2, 2015

      It’s a great course, which I knew it would be b/c it’s created by Leah (and you know she rocks!) 🙂

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