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Top 10 courses to improve your digital skills

Discover the best courses to develop essential digital skills. Whether you want to learn python, codinghow to code, data analytics, digital marketing or to close a skill gap, we have the courses to help you thrive in the digital world.

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By Jamie Kontis

The need for digital skills has never been greater.

As our lives increasingly play out online, more and more industries are focusing on the digital sphere, while new digital-only jobs and businesses are sprouting up all the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to hasten this mass migration to the digital workplace. And according to the World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report, 97 million high-skilled jobs in emerging fields will be created by 2025, almost all of which will demand strong digital skills. 

Simultaneously, more traditional work continues to decline. 

There exists currently a large gap between the digital skills required to excel in these growing roles and the skills possessed by the global workforce. In fact, European Commission figures show that 37% of EU workers do not have even basic digital skills, while research by Robert Half found that over 90% of employers in finance, technology, marketing, and law, said it was challenging to find professionals with the right skills. 

The upshot of this enormous skills gap is that those who have the requisite digital skills hold a significant advantage in the job market. 

The UK Government found that 82% of advertised job roles require digital skills, and those with digital skills earn on average 29% more than those without. This premium only increases with higher digital skill levels.  

We are, at present, living through a so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ which has already compelled the world of work to orbit around digital technology. It has never been more important than now to build and enhance your digital skills if you are looking for a long-lasting and lucrative career. 

So we’ve compiled a list of our top ten courses to develop your digital skills and help you stand out in the future of work. 

Digital Skills for the Workplace by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding

Where better to begin our list than with a comprehensive collection of courses covering fundamental digital skills? This partnership between the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding has been established to provide you with courses to close any digital skill gaps you may have that could be impacting your career. 

The collection includes a general introductory course series that’ll teach you the digital skills needed in the modern workplace, expert-led courses to boost your digital marketing skills in social media, coding, UX and content creation, and a very popular introductory course to computer programming. You can learn a vast array of digital skills necessary for a successful career today, as well as skills which will likely become relevant in the job market in years to come.

Digital Skills: Digital Marketing by Accenture

Marketing is one of the industries most affected by the digital revolution. It has become extremely technical, strategic and results-driven, with conversion rates of creative campaigns into paying customers being more accurately tracked and measurable than ever before. Accordingly, marketers need to be equipped with digital skills and keep updated with the rapid development of technology in their field. 

This course by the professional services giant Accenture is a highly popular introduction to the digital skills you’ll need to succeed in the modern marketing world. You’ll explore the fundamentals of digital marketing and develop a robust understanding of display and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO), and email promotion. Expect also to learn how to design a successful digital marketing strategy.  

Digital Skills: Social Media by Accenture

It wasn’t so long ago that you might have asked whether social media was important for business. But today social media is a key platform for building an organisation’s brand and digital marketing. It’s also becoming an increasingly important sales channel.

This second course by Accenture aims to help marketers understand how to use a variety of social media channels and tools for business. You’ll learn about the different types of social media platforms and how to identify and target audiences on each of them, as well as the fundamentals of running an engaging social media advertising campaign. It’s perfect if you want to learn more about the role of a social media manager and see if it’s the right marketing career path for you. 

Digital Skills: User Experience by Accenture

The power of user experience (UX) design cannot be understated. It can truly make or break a business. Just look at Apple! One of only six companies in the history of the world ever to have reached a market capitalisation of $1 trillion. And why? Simply because their products are so intuitive and such a pleasure to use: the user experience is superior to everything else on the market.

Accenture’s course explores the fundamentals of high-quality UX design and the impact it can have on a business. You’ll learn about what makes a good user journey, the approaches and processes necessary to build engaging UX, and why both user research and testing are so important. Learners will come out of this highly-rated course with a real understanding of their suitability to being a UX designer and it’ll prepare you to kickstart your own career in UX.  

Introduction to Web Development by Raspberry Pi

The ability to create and maintain websites is exponentially becoming one of the most in-demand career skills across all kinds of industries. And this beginner’s course by the Raspberry Pi Foundation – a leading charity that promotes the study of computer science around the world – is an excellent and intuitive introduction to web development. 

The course will help you master the basics of web development and determine if the profession suits you. You’ll be guided by experts through inclining stages of difficulty, starting with building a web page using HTML, before styling it with CSS, and then making it interactive using JavaScript. By the end you’ll be able to demonstrate your skills by producing your own website from scratch and you’ll feel ready to take on more advanced web development training.

AWS: Machine Learning Foundations by The Open University and Amazon Web Services

Created specifically for those who want to prepare for a career as a machine learning engineer, this microcredential course sees academic leaders from the Open University’s AWS academy mentor and support you through a 10-week, intensive programme. 

Using Amazon Web Services, you’ll learn the fundamentals of one of the fastest growing areas of technology: you’ll master how to design and deploy machine learning models in the cloud, and understand how to use them to resolve key business problems. On completion, after you pass the final assessment, you’ll come out with industry-recognised skills, official certification, and even 10 university credits that can be used as part of a full undergraduate degree from the Open University. You’ll be sure to advance your job prospects by joining this microcredential. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Data Analytics by BoxPlay and FutureLearn

It is widely known that organisations with a data-led culture are the future of business, such that demand for data analysts is only increasing year by year across a range of sectors. This three-week introductory course is designed for anyone who wants to develop highly coveted data skills and move into a career in the sector. No previous experience is required! 

You’ll explore different data skill sets and what is involved in roles in data engineering, data analysis, and data science. On top of this, you will learn how data analysis can draw important information and insights from datasets to inform future business strategies, granting you a steady platform from which to launch a career in data.

Data Analytics Using Python by FutureLearn and Coventry University

A programme for more experienced data professionals, this ExpertTrack – or series of accredited courses – will deepen your understanding of data analytics by using critical elements of Python: one of the world’s most prominent programming languages. 

Endorsed by Coventry University, this bundle of courses has been put together to boost your long-term career potential in the global big data industry – an industry worth over $100 billion. Expect to learn how to collect, manipulate and organise data using Python, and by the end you’ll have the fundamental Python programming skills required to complete the most advanced analytics tasks effectively and quickly. You’ll kill two birds with one stone, building highly-coveted analytics skills and simultaneously developing a foundational knowledge of Python, which you can grow further and greatly expand your job prospects.

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

Ever wanted to learn how to code with Python? The University of Michigan is offering you the chance to master the basics of Python programming with this six-week beginners course. Perfect for those who are interested in a career in coding or who are looking to learn a new programming language, the course will take you from being a complete novice with no prior experience, to having a competent understanding of Python: a skill which will raise your career potential to new heights. 

You’ll learn Python from scratch, beginning with completing basic exercises that focus on the core concepts of programming and ending with you writing your first program and getting comfortable with tools such as functions and loops. It’s the best way to get started with Python and to build the programming skills you need to take further advanced courses.

Digital Skills: Embracing Digital Technology by King’s College London

To close our list of the best digital skills courses, here is an excellent programme by King’s College London which has been created for refugees and displaced people who wish to improve their digital skills, and by consequence their opportunities to study, their job prospects and, indeed, their lives. 

The course particularly aims to help those who want to enter university and study a subject with a digital element, such as STEM, healthcare, social sciences, or arts and humanities. Among other fundamentals, you’ll learn about the digital technologies you can use to make your life easier, and you’ll explore both the creative possibilities of the online world and the best digital tools for communicating and research. You’ll also learn how to apply for jobs online and, ultimately, develop your own personal plan for implementing your new skills to build a successful career.

From general introductory digital skills courses to courses for specific digital skill sets, completing an online digital skills course on FutureLearn will make you stand out and prepare you for the digital roles of the future.

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