Technology and digital skills allow us to keep busy, connect with loved ones, and discover new and exciting opportunities. And luckily, it’s possible to brush up on these skills from the comfort of your own home.

Whether it’s coding, video production, or getting to grips with social media – digital skills can be used to boost your CV, start a business, or simply have some fun.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with eight very different digital skills that you can learn from home, along with a few suggestions on how to get started.

1. General office skills

These days, most companies expect employees to be familiar with standard office tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. But if you’ve never had to use them before, it can be hard knowing where to start.

There are simply hundreds of free online courses promising to take you from a novice to an expert in a few hours – but which are the most worthwhile?

How to get started

If you want to improve your general IT skills to increase your chances of finding a job or advancing your career, it might be a good idea to get a Microsoft Office certification. This means you’ll be able to demonstrate your expertise in Excel, Outlook, Word, and other Microsoft Office applications on your CV or LinkedIn profile.

It’s a great way to let your employer – or potential employer – know that you’re tech-savvy. And because today’s world is an increasingly digital one, you’ll probably find many reasons to use your new skills in your personal life, too – whether it’s writing a novel or building a budget spreadsheet.

If it’s just Microsoft Word you’re looking to improve in, LinkedIn offers 30 days of free access to their classes, and there are several first-rate Word courses that’ll soon have you writing, editing, and designing documents like a pro. Or, if you’re happy to pay a little, the New Skills Academy offers this Microsoft Word course which will provide you with a certificate at the end.

If you want to learn how to use Microsoft Excel, a popular data analysis solution, you could have a look at this free 3.5-hour online course from the Corporate Finance Institute. Or, if you want to really get into how it works, there’s a great 12-hour course that’s also free from TrumpExcel. It comprises of 26 different modules where you’ll learn all the tips, tricks, functions, and formulas that you need to become an Excel expert.

For PowerPoint, there’s a great free course available on Udemy. Mastering Microsoft PowerPoint Made Easy Training Tutorial is a six-hour course that will help you get familiar with the PowerPoint environment, learn how to create basic presentations, and apply animation. The course will allow you to see each function performed as though an instructor is sitting right there with you.

And finally, if you want to become proficient in all areas of Microsoft Office, then there are plenty of courses available on our site that’ll take you through Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more.

2. Photo editing

courses

Today, being able to take beautiful photos is only one part of creating great images. Editing, enhancing, and manipulating digital images is an essential part of photography. These skills can turn an average photo into an astounding one.

It’s something that once you’ve mastered, you’ll probably use far more than you might expect. After all, who hasn’t wanted to remove red eyes from an otherwise lovely family photo?

On a professional level, photo editing allows you to enrich a presentation and improve website images (as well as add another ability to your CV’s skill section). It’s also just a fun way to express yourself and enjoy some quiet time.

How to get started

Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are some of the most popular photo editing software used by professionals and amateurs alike. While they can be complex tools, that’s only because they have so many great features.

You can trial Adobe Photoshop for a week for free to see whether it’s right for you. If you like it, you might want to take one of their courses for beginners or experienced users, which can teach you how to lighten a photo, add a logo, or completely overhaul an image. Adobe Photoshop tutorials are created by Adobe and are all free.

It’s also worth checking out free learning resources online, too. Sites like YouTube and PSD Stack have lots of free tutorials from beginner to advanced to help you get to grips with learning how to use Photoshop.

If you’re serious about improving your photo editing skills or thinking about pursuing a career in photography, you might benefit from a more in-depth course.

The Adobe Lightroom CC Photo Editing: Your Lightroom Masterclass is one of the best-rated photo editing courses, and it teaches you all the essentials. From fixing basic issues like exposure and white balance to using sharpening and noise reduction, the course aims to take you from total novice to expert in 16.5 hours of video tutorials.

If you just want to have some fun editing your photos online without having to commit to a full membership at any point, then you could also try out Pixlr X. Pixlr X has established itself as one of the best free video editing software out there. It allows you to edit an image’s colour and saturation, get rid of unwanted features with a touch-up tool, and adjust the white balance. Pixlr X has a number of free tutorials on their YouTube channel that can help you get the most out of this free software.

Alternatively, you can search for more photo editing courses available through our website, by clicking the button below.

3. Coding

In simple terms, the practice of coding involves writing in a language that a computer understands. Being able to understand and use a language that tells a computer to follow a set of instructions brings huge potential.

The ability could lead to you developing a mobile phone app, starting a new company, or even landing a role as a software engineer or IT specialist.

It’s true that coding can seem like a skill that requires a background in IT and/or a computer sciences degree to master, but this isn’t the case. Anyone can learn to code at any time and many master the basics by teaching themselves at home.

For more insight into what the learning experience is actually like, have a listen to this BBC interview about a whole family who learnt to code during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

How to get started

If you’re completely new to coding, why not follow in the footsteps of over 45 million people and take a course with CodeAcademy?

There are free classes and also paid memberships where you can take advantage of expert guidance by coding teachers, get stuck into projects, and receive support from other students. There are courses that cover all sorts of programming languages from HTML and CSS to JavaScript.

Alternatively, head over to The Odin Project (named after the Norse god whose trademark was a thirst for new knowledge). This open-source project promises to turn coding amateurs into coding experts.

While it has enough free courses for someone to eventually pursue a career in software engineering (there are 1000s of hours of classes), there are also plenty of classes for beginners. Therefore, it’s ideal for anyone who’s keen to code but not sure how far they’ll take it. Or, if you just want to jazz up your own website, you can learn to do that here too.

And finally, if you’re looking for more options, why not check out the wide variety of coding courses we have available on our site?

4. Copywriting

Copywriting may not instantly spring to mind when you think of digital skills, but every great site requires decent copy – and in the world of digital marketing, “content will always be king”.

There are plenty of reasons to improve your copywriting skills, and you certainly don’t have to be an established writer to take a class or course. Whether you want to spruce up your CV, write compelling copy for your website, or simply add another string to your bow, copywriting is a useful skill to have.

How to get started

The internet is jam-packed full of helpful resources for budding copywriters – and luckily, many are free.

If you’re a beginner, LinkedIn offers a great free course exploring the different ways that you can use copy to promote a product or service. LinkedIn Training instructor, Ian Lurie, will teach you how to write in a way that tells your story, sells your product or service, and promotes your brand. 

Combining online lectures, exercises, quizzes, and assignments, this course will guide you through the process of writing and editing a draft, how to best use typography, plus how to print and compare copy online.

If you’re committed to improving your copywriting skills, and perhaps even thinking of pursuing it professionally, there are several top-rated copywriting courses available on Udemy.

If you hope to put your skills towards boosting your own business, check out Udemy’s The Complete Copywriting Course, which promises to let you in on secrets from the world’s best copywriters and teach you the sales psychology you need to grow a business. Or, if you have more of a general desire to learn copywriting, the Lead Academy’s Copywriting Masterclass might be for you.

5. Design

Let’s say you’ve built a website. You’ve written the copy. What does the site need next? Good design, of course. The importance of design cannot be underestimated. In fact, 94% of first impressions of a website are design-related.

The ability to design digitally can also be just as helpful in your personal life as it can professionally. For example, you can just as easily use these skills to design invitations for a loved one’s anniversary or a party that you’re planning, as you can to design a work-related website.

How to get started

If you’re just starting out, then have a look at this list of 16 free design eBooks.

Covering topics including logo design, finding inspiration and knowing which font to use, there’s a book here for everyone – whatever type of design you want to learn about. And because all the books are free and in eBook format, you won’t have to clear any extra space for them at home. There’s nothing to stop you from downloading and reading all 16 if you want to.

If you’d prefer a course or workshop, then why not head over to DesignDesign.Space? Skillshare also offers a great range of free design courses – particularly recommended are Graphic Design Basics and Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work.

Alternatively, you can browse the wide variety of design courses that we have available on our website.

6. Video production

Whether you’ve always dreamed of making your own films, would like to use video to promote your business, or just want to shoot family videos that look professional – video production can be a fun and useful skill to have.

There’s a lot involved in the video production process. You’ll need to figure out which editing programme you want to use, which camera is the best fit and whether to use lighting and audio equipment.

How to get started

Creative Cow is a great free resource to check out when you’re getting started. Here, you can find a list of video tutorials that will help you learn the basics of video production software from Adobe, Apple, and Sony.

A big perk of Creative Cow is its forum community, where you can connect with other budding filmmakers and video editors to ask questions, give advice, and swap tips and stories.

For more in-depth tutorials, Skillshare’s Video Production: The Complete Course is perfect for beginners. By signing up for their free trial, you can watch it at no cost. It takes you through the ideation process, provides a thorough introduction to equipment, shows you what makes a good video, and teaches you how to compose and expose your shots.

Udemy also has a great selection of video production courses, whether you want to use your new skills for video marketing, or creatively to make beautiful and inspiring films.

Or, you can search more video production courses on our website, by clicking the button below.

7. Digital marketing

Over the past decade, businesses have digitised the way they work, and as a result of that, jobseekers today will seriously benefit from having some digital skills on their CV.

Digital marketing and everything it encompasses (search engine marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and so on) is one of the most useful skills to have. 

Whether you use it to promote the book you’re working on, help your business to gain visibility, or give your job applications a serious boost, everyone can benefit from having a better understanding of digital marketing.

How to get started

If you’re interested in learning digital marketing to help your business or career, then why not get certified in the fundamentals of digital marketing, with Google’s free course? It includes 26 modules, all created by Google trainers – and all are chock full of helpful exercises and practical examples.

Getting certified can improve your CV and significantly help your chances of finding a job, as it proves you have a good understanding of the main concepts of digital marketing.

If there are specific areas of digital marketing that you want to explore, then have a look at this list of 17 free courses compiled by marketing data site, Ahrefs. There are courses in SEO (search engine optimisation), email marketing, social marketing, and advertising – to name a few.

With the courses created and taught by digital marketing giants like HubSpot, Buffer, and Moz, you’ll be learning from the best. Plus, since they’re all free, there’s no limit to how many you can try.

And to browse more digital marketing courses, why not head over to the learning section of our site?

8. Social media

Whether you use it or not, it’s impossible to minimise the impact and influence of social media. In fact, globally, there are 2.7 billion active social media users, and it has fast become the main source of information and communication between content creators and consumers.

Being able to use social media and understanding how it works is a skill that can be learnt like any other. It can benefit us professionally  – and of course, in our personal lives too.

If you want to learn how to set up Zoom video calls with loved ones or create an Instagram account to stay updated with your friends’ lives, then there’s never been a better time to learn.

If you’d prefer to read some quick tips on how to video call your friends and family, check out our handy guide.

How to get started

If you’re new to social media, the free Social Media Quickstarter course from Constant Contact is a good way to kick off learning. Covering the main social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, the course offers a thorough guide to building a presence on each platform and how to best utilize them.

The free Accenture Digital Skills: Social Media course on Futurelearn is also excellent if you want to learn how to use social media for business. It’s totally free – as are these 12 social media marketing courses.

Plus, we also have a wide variety of social media courses available on our website.

Additional resources that you may find helpful...

  • Microsoft has launched a global skills initiative to help 25 million people around the world who’ve been impacted by the recent pandemic, to gain skills for in-demand roles in an increasingly digital economy.

    You’ll have free access to learning paths and content, to help you develop the skills these positions require. You can find out more about how to get involved here.

  • Make It Click has a number of free tools, resources, and templates that you can use to help you learn new digital skills or develop new ones. You can find out how to do everything from creating a social media content calendar to protecting your computer from nasty viruses.

    Make It Click is provided by the Good Things Foundation which aims to promote digital skills for everyone across the UK.

  • Learn My Way is also provided by the Good Things Foundation. It offers free bite-sized resources so that you can either spend a few minutes or a few hours developing your skills. It’s great for those who’re looking to learn digital skills at an introductory level.

    You can find out everything from how to get to grips with your computer and/or smart device to how to use public services online.

  • Learn for Everyday Life is a program set up by Lloyds Banking Academy, to help you learn digital skills that are useful in everyday life. Lessons are inspired by topics such as how to do online and mobile banking, how to present yourself online, and how to use online forms.

  • Create a professional online presence with Future Learn’s free course. It’ll encourage you to consider whether your social media presence reflects who you are as a person and to think about how you can build your online presence to boost your employability.

  • Learn how to create great online content. This free course from Future Learn will show you how to develop the best practice for communicating effectively online, by taking into account tone, style, and format.

Final thoughts...

Developing digital skills takes dedication and enthusiasm, but the benefits can be huge. Whether that’s helping you to make a career change, find an exciting new job, or simply stay connected with loved ones.

If you want to develop your skills but haven’t found anything above that takes your fancy, then why not head over to the learning section of our website? There are over 50,000 courses covering a wide range of topics – from quick taster courses to heavyweight learning opportunities.

If you are looking to learn or develop some non-digital-related skills from home, you could check out our learning articles; 12 new skills you can learn from home or 9 creative skills that you can learn online. These are jam-packed with ideas for learning – so why not have a read and see if inspiration strikes?

Are you learning a new digital skill? We’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. Join the conversation over on the learning section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

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