, Professional Development

9 Ways to Develop Skills Outside the Workplace

several books with spines lined up horizontally

You know how people’s eyes light up when they talk about their favorite things, how their faces become more animated, and their speech speeds up till they’re talking a mile a minute and everything just seemstoruntogetherintoneargibberish?

That’s us at the RSC@OKC Innovation Station when we talk about professional development – and the benefits of coworking spaces, and team-building exercises like LEGO® Serious Play®, and how to throw a baller business lunch. But, especially when we talk about professional development.

If you’re like us and get pumped over bettering yourself professionally, then check out our roundup of stellar avenues to beef up your skills. We dedicated this list to mostly online resources – but also a couple IRL ones, too – to help anyone, whether you’re a marketer, a member of the gig economy, or just someone looking to reinvigorate your confidence with a solid power pose.

1. Udemy

The online course catalog, Udemy, touts “over 100,000 online video courses with new additions published every month.” With categories from photography to office productivity and music, anyone who has as little as $10.99 to spare can learn a new skill on their own time. Get up to speed with Microsoft Excel, master the stock market, get comfortable with public speaking, or learn Reiki (the Japanese technique for stress reduction).

2. Side Hustle School

We first learned about this gem on the podcast “Happier” with sisters Elizabeth Craft and Gretchen Rubin, the author of the popular books “The Happiness Project” and “Better Than Before.” They welcomed onto the podcast Chris Guillebeau, the founder of Side Hustle School, who says, “If you’re trying to make a big change, a hustle can help you build a foundation to move onto something else. If you love your day job, that’s great too — the hustle will provide a creative outlet and a backup plan.” With Side Hustle School, you can join an online community of other hustlin’ folks and listen to podcasts to learn how others stay on top of their game.

3. LinkedIn Learning

The URL may read “Lynda.com,” but the course ownership is all LinkedIn. Ol’ Lynda has been around since 1995, and that staying power means something. This tried-and-true platform has loads of courses for those looking to develop themselves in the fields of business and technology as well as the creative realm. What’s really great about this platform is, if you have a Metropolitan Library System card (which, you really should), you can access resources for free.

4. YouTube

If you’re like “OK, YouTube is only good for Rick Roll-ing your friends and learning how to ignite the pilot light in your oven,” hear us out. YouTube can not only teach you how to hunt, fix your fridge, plant a garden, and pronounce “sialoquent,” it opens up a whole world of professional development opportunities. Learn how to create a Facebook click-to-call ad for your company, or study how professional speakers keep their audiences captivated and get their point across without fainting from fright or sweating straight through their button-ups. If you need to know something, we bet the answer is there.

5. Master Class

So, this one might be a bit pricier than the other recommendations, but where else are you able to attend an acting class taught by Natalie Portman, a creativity and film course led by David Lynch, or a storytelling class instructed by Neil Gaiman? These powerhouses are at your fingertips with Master Class, enabling you to live out your foodie fantasies with Gordon Ramsay and moonlight as a beatboxer with the help of Timbaland. If that doesn’t scream “professional development,” we don’t know what does.

6. TED Talks

We’re not saying we’re obsessed with TED Talks, but we have been known to watch Amy Cuddy’s power posing talk before literally every big presentation we’ve ever given. You can not only learn the secret of faking confidence, but you can harness your introversion for good in a 19-minute talk from Susan Cain, learn how happiness inspires us to be more productive with Shawn Achor, and figure out your “genius” with Elizabeth Gilbert. We’ll do you a favor and just send you right on over to the 25 best TED Talks.

7. Yale University School of Art

Have the itch to become a better designer? Well, don’t find your inspiration from the Yale University School of Art website (it’s a wiki and students have the ability to change the site’s content, so, yeah, it gets wacky), but do take advantage of the resources found within. You can basically take graphic design courses, or rather, access course materials like syllabi, lectures, readings, assignments, and references from the Yale School of Art. It’s all online, and all available to you. And by the end of it, you’ll be able to design a perfect replica of a Yale diploma (just kidding, everyone, Rose State does not condone).

8. HubSpot Academy

Marketers, advertisers, and online communicators of all stripes, rejoice. Thanks to HubSpot, you’re able to earn certifications in everything from social media advertising to search engine optimization and business writing. This platform has a slew of free resources for anyone looking to learn on the cheap. Each course features experts in the field and quizzes you at the end to ensure you learned the course material.

9. Toastmasters International

We couldn’t give you a professional development roundup without sneaking in Toastmasters. This group holds a special place in our hearts for taking timid talkers and turning them into confident public speakers who can carry on a conversation with anyone. Learn to talk about literally anything like you’re an expert, and figure out what weird quirks come out when you’re in front of a crowd so you can eliminate them. And look, we did all the work for you and found you a group that meets just around the corner from the Innovation Station.

Now that you’re on the path to professional development, stop by the RSC@OKC Innovation Station and check out a networking event, a lunch and learn seminar, a webinar, or another professional event designed to sharpen your skills.