8 free online courses to grow your tech skills

The cost of learning just got cheaper. CIO.com tracked down these eight free ways to grow your technology skill set.

free online course title

Free Online Tech Courses

At one time, universities and colleges were institutes of higher learning for those who were passionate about acquiring knowledge. Today, education discussions tend to to center around how much individuals can make with their degree. Thanks to the Internet there are still places that offer open learning initiatives designed to help a new generation of technologists succeed.

If money was the only thing holding you back from learning more about technology, we've got good news for you. There are many places offering free online tech training that while may not be degree/certificate driven can still give you a leg up on the competition.

While many of the courses listed here offer either a certificate or credit for a fee, they also all are free for those who just want to learn about technology or add a new skill to their "toolbox."

linux intro

Introduction to Linux

Have you always wanted to learn more about Linux but never had the extra cash to inveset. This course offered through edX might be just what you're looking for. The Linux Foundation partnered with edX to offer this free Introduction to the Linux that covers familiarity with the graphical interface and command line as well as a look at all the major Linux distributions. The course gives an over view of the day to day working environment of a Linux administrator and covers pertinent tools and skills.

The designers of the course estimate that a total of 40- 60 hours of study are required to accurately cover the material. Students have the option of auditing the course, at no cost. You get access to course materials, tests, assignments and activities. Those who audit and complete the course will receive a certificate of achievement, but for those wanting to add it as a bullet point on their resume there is a verified certificate available for a fee.

google analytics academy

Google Analytics Academy

With the proliferation of the Web, online shopping and social media marketing, competition for organic search traffic has gone through the roof. Understanding your website's analytics can help you make better data-based decisions while at the same time improving the customer experience. Google knows this and would love for you to use its product, Google Analytics. So much so that they've created this online learning center that offers courses to help you better use the hidden data located within your site.

mit building mobile experiences

Building Mobile Experiences

Another MIT offering through edX, Building Mobile Experiences, looks at the foundation for building mobile experiences. Mobile app traffic accounted for 55 percent of Web usage, surpassing desktop to become the dominant percentage of internet traffic, illustrating the need for today's developer to become acquainted with the process, design and skills necessary to build the next "big thing."

Based on a poplar MIT class that's been taught since 2006, Building Mobile Experiences' primary focus explores the analysis of mobile user behavior and the implementation of those findings in the design process. The course length is 12 weeks and requires roughly 10-12 weeks of study per week. While there is some code writing required, the bulk of the course will be designing and evaluating what a "unique mobile experience" is.

Students can pay to receive a verified certificate of achievement or audit the course for free and receive and Honor Code Certificate.

microsoft virtual academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy offers a host of courses on mainly -- you guessed it -- Microsoft products. They offer courses on everything from game to cloud to app development and many more. There is no cost to participate but you must use a Microsoft account and create an MVA profile. Once you're logged in you can take courses or attend live events as well as build a learning plan and track progress towards your goals.



Udacity got its start when Stanford University starting offering free computer classes in 2011. In April 2014, it boasted more than 1.6 million users. Its free tech offerings include HTML , Python, Intro to Data Science and many more. In fact, Google recently partnered with Udacity to bring Android development to the masses. Individuals who access the courses for free get access to course materials, like instructor videos and project instructions.



Alison offers an array of free online technical courses covering everything from, building an online business, to C programming to several flavors of Adobe training. One of their more popular tech courses is, ABC IT - Computer Training Suite which teaches users the basics of computing.

Altogether the e-learning provider reports more than 3 million have used its solutions to get educated and they offer more than 600 courses. They have roughly 106 technology courses available in their Digital Literacy and Skills section.

google analytics academy

Design and Development of Educational Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a course entitled, Design and Development of Educational Technology via Edx, a service offering interactive online classes and MOOCs from some of the world's most distinguished universities. The course runs six week and requires 4-6 hours of study each week. The course itself covers the evolution of educational technologies and how it's being used en masse.

Enrollment for the most recent ended October 8th and the course will run for 6 weeks. It's unclear at this time whether it will run again before 2015.


Harvard's CS50 Computer Science

Harvard offers this introduction to computer science. Those who participate will get a foundation in basic coding and learn aspects of C programming, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and SQL. This is a great, free way for individuals who want to learn to code to get their wish. You can enroll for Harvard credit or earn a certificate of achievement for a fee. You can also audit the course for free. Those who audit the course and achieve a satisfactory level of work will receive an Honor Code certificate.