Best online courses and certificate programs to master new skills in 2024

By Social Links forCamryn La Sala and Social Links forVictoria Giardina

New York Post Composite
New York Post Composite

Let’s be real — once the New Year approaches, we’re all about looking into personal development. Of course, this extends to online courses to sharpen a rusty skill or gain a new one.

From Coursera to edX to MasterClass and Skillshare (the latter two we reviewed), there are an endless array of options for you to learn from.

Aside from listing the 40 best online courses and certificate programs in a variety of different categories, we called upon skilled experts in their crafts to touch upon specific skills — and even recommend classes — in a variety of industries. More, you’ll find some classes we have taken and could probably write an entire thesis about, too.

Whether you’re interested in the beauty industry at large or want to learn how to say “hello” in more than one language, the world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to the repertoire of online classes at your disposal.

Be sure to note that if one of the classes listed has a monthly price, you may be able to access other classes on that same platform during the time of your membership. Who doesn’t love more opportunities to learn?

Are online classes a good idea?

From our firsthand experience, the answer is yes. Regardless of age, interest or skill level, there’s surely a fit for you on any of the online platforms we rounded up below.

Not to mention, most online classes are now entertaining. With immersive, studio-quality virtual lessons and engaging talking points, you may resort to one of the below options quicker than your new Prime Video show.

Click to jump to specific classes:

Best Online Computer, Coding and IT Classes

“Every day, more and more cyber criminals try to trick us into sharing our personal information, providing access to our social media accounts, and ultimately taking our hard-earned savings from the bank,” David Bader, PhD, distinguished professor and founder of the Department of Data Science in the Ying Wu College of Computing and director of the Institute for Data Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), told. The Post.

“With the recent explosion of chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, the attacks have escalated to a point where it’s virtually impossible to differentiate between a malicious bot or a trusted colleague.”

What to look for: There’s a huge breadth of topics a student can master, from machine learning at artificial intelligence, to data science and data engineering, information security and technology, and cybersecurity.

“Many online education platforms offer beginner, easy-to-follow classes that will appeal the masses since many require no prerequisites and their offerings are typically available online 24/7, when one’s schedule permits learning activities,” Bader shares. “Students should gain knowledge with some of the leading cloud platforms including Amazon’s AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, which are all quite capable for solving computing needs from novices to the most sophisticated and complex businesses alike.”

Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate

  • Cost: $49 a month “A search for “Cybersecurity” on Coursera yields 241 courses to choose from, including some leading companies such as Google, Microsoft and IBM,” Dr. Bader lists.

Specifically, the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate allows you to receive professional-level training from Google and a glossy employer-recognized certificate from Google. More granularly, this course helps better prepare you for careers as a cybersecurity analyst, security analyst and security operations center (SOC) analyst.

University of Michigan Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)

  • Cost: Free, or $59 for a shareable certification upon completion

“A great first course in programming with no prerequisites is offered by University of Michigan: ‘Programming for Everybody’ and teaches the Python programming language, quickly becoming the lingua de franca of data science,” Bader notes.

More, this class is self-paced and typically takes two to four hours per week over the course of seven weeks to complete it. “All of the homework is performed in a web browser, so learners can do all of the programming assignments from their smart phones or public computers.” he adds.

Introduction to Machine Learning on AWS

  • Cost: $89

“FutureLearn offers 299 short courses in IT and computer science,” Bader explains. “Typically, a learner would enroll in an annual unlimited subscription to pay for the access to the courseware.”

FutureLearn also provides premium content – such as Amazon Web Services (AWS)’s Introduction to Machine Learning on AWS for $89. “The course requires four hours a week over two weeks and provides students the knowledge and tools to navigate AWS and begin using machine learning services,” Bader adds.

University of Maryland Cybersecurity for Everyone

  • Cost: $49 a month

“For a beginner, I’d recommend a free course on cyberattacks and computer and network security called ‘Cybersecurity for Everyone’ taught by a University of Maryland College Park expert who has served on the front lines with the NSA,” Bader says. “This course allows a flexible schedule and takes about seven hours a week for three weeks.”

With this course, you’ll explore topics like global communications architecture, threat actors and motivations and the hacking process, among other learnings.

Intro to UX: Designing with a User-Centered Approach

  • Cost: $32 a month

“Skillshare offers thousands of video classes on a variety of topics to the online learner,” Bader shares. “Most classes run from one to three hours, and a highly recommended class on user-interface design is offered by Cinthya Mohr ‘Intro to UX: Designing with a User-Centered Approach’ running just 44 minutes.”

Many other UI/UX design courses are available teaching online learners how to use popular Adobe and Figma software as well. “However, Skillshare does not offer coding and cybersecurity videos; so if this is your focus, you may want to consider other platforms,” he adds.

David A. Bader
David A. Bader
Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Data Science

David A. Bader is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology.