Learning Plans 2018-03-18T11:10:31+00:00

Learning Plans

Explore the courses we recommend to fast-track you to a career that is more enjoyable and rewarding.

Career Learning Plans

According to a recent Gallup poll, over 70% of people around the world are actively disengaged or straight up detest their jobs. Are you one of the 70%? Are you frustrated in your current job and are looking to start a new career? Do you need a higher salary to live the way you truly desire? Do you have a clear idea of where to find a role that better suits you? What new abilities do you need to learn and master to re-invent yourself?

The content below specifically focuses on future-proof careers and outlines learning plans to prepare you for success in those positions.

Your journey starts now. Let’s go!

Software Careers

We analyzed many aspects of a dozen+ software degrees. In all cases, the three formats of courses listed in this table below apply for each of the disciplines. By and large, the costs and pros/cons apply for each career path although some outliers do exist. Course lengths vary from a few hours for some MOOCs focused on a single topic to 5-10 months for bootcamps that teach a buffet of skills. Because of this wide variability, we have omitted time estimates from our analysis. Further down the page, we will be applying course formats to specific career paths and recommending specific all-star courses.

Software Course Formats

Learning Options Pros & Cons Cost
Coding Bootcamps Pros: All-inclusive education accountability: accountability, quality instruction, hands-on assignments, real-world projects, office hours, and mentors. Quick paced bootcamp curriculums will teach you the necessary skills at a fast pace. Graduates can be immediately hirable by employers. Offerings are available both in-person and online.

Cons: Expensive, although more cost and time efficient than a college degree. Intense workloads require students to apply themselves full-time. It would be difficult to balance another job with a bootcamp.

$2,000-$20,000
Online Courses & MOOCs Pros: Many courses are affordable especially compared to bootcamps or university degrees. Additionally, many of these courses provide strong instruction and applicable assignments that will familiarize you with the content from lectures. Online courses can either follow strict schedules or allow you to proceed at your own pace. These variations allow you to find the courses that best fit your budget and lifestyle.

Cons: Although many courses are high-quality there are certainly plenty of duds as well. Use our recommendations and reviews on the provider’s site to guide your decisions. A rating of 4.5 or higher is generally advised.

$5-$999
Free Resources Pros: These courses are highly accessible, are of very good quality, and can be accessed at your own pace and on your own schedule. Did I mention they’re free?

Cons: Although easily accessible and of a high quality, these courses require strong self-motivation and individual initiative in order to master the skills on your own. These resources generally do not provide graded instruction, course syllabuses, course rigor, or certifications that help many folks work hard and hold themselves accountable. Although more difficult, it is certainly possible to teach yourself through self-guided free content, online communities, and personal projects

FREE

Minimum required skills can vary from company to company depending on products and architecture. If you’re set on applying to a specific organization, you should research the company’s job listings to identify the correct languages and skills for their roles.

The good news is that nearly every company in every industry these days has a website and an increasing number have apps as well. Every major sporting team, clothing brand, grocery store chain, news outlet, retail store chain, restaurant franchise, fast food chain, etc has an online and mobile presence. Each of these companies require developers to build and maintain their digital interfaces with customers and that spells opportunity for you!

With that, let’s dive in!

Front End Developer

Front End Developer

Job Availability: Medium-High
Average Salary: $63,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: HTML, CSS, JavaScript/Angular.js.
Optional Skills: jQuery, PHP, Node.js

Job Summary: A front-end developer creates all of the forward-facing web interfaces that users directly interact with. If you can see it on the screen, the front-end developer made it happen. As described on bloc.io, “The front end of an application is less about code and more about how a user will interpret the interface into an experience.”

For example, if a sleek sports car catches your eye, the streamlined profile and crisp edges are the work of the ‘front-end web developer.’ The raw horsepower and tuned suspension that leads to impressive driving performance is the work of the ‘backend web developer.’ Finally, the ‘full-stack developer’ oversees and manages the whole sports car development. They must have expertise in eye-catching design and user experience (front-end) and understand all of the cooperative interconnections through to the deepest depths of the engine components and fuel lines (backend + database).

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Coding bootcamps Coding DojoThinkful, and Bloc
Online Courses & MOOCs Udacity: Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree
edX: Front-End Web Developer Professional Certificate
Free Resources Codecadey: Make a Website
Youtube: (TheNewBoston, ProgrammingKnowledge, Learncode.academy);
Khan Academy: Computer Programming

Backend Web Developer

Backend Web Developer

Job Availability: High
Average Salary: $67,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Node.js, PHP, JavaScript, MySQL, MongoDB, .NET, (languages, databases, and architectures).
Optional skills: Ruby, Python

Job Summary: A backend developer creates all of the infrastructure under-the-hood to enable the user-friendly web interfaces to operate elegantly. A website could be beautifully designed, but if the performance lacks similar refinement the overall experience will be ruined. Poor performance, broken links, or buggy behavior are the side effects of poor backend design.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Coding bootcamps Coding DojoThinkful
Online Courses & MOOCs Udemy: The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0, The Web Developer Bootcamp
Udacity: Full Stack Web Developer
Codecademy: Javascript, SQL, Python
Free Resources Codecademy: Make an Interactive Website
Youtube: (TheNewBoston, ProgrammingKnowledge, Learncode.academy);
Khan Academy: Computer Programming

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Full-Stack Web Developer

Full Stack

Job Availability: High
Average Salary: $76,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Angular.js, Java, Node.js, MongoDB, Python, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET, C#
Optional: jQuery, MySQL, PHP

Job Summary: A full-stack developer oversees and manages the whole web design process including the front-end the backend, databasing and all of the interconnections in between. Full-stack developers are experts in the entire web development process and are responsible for planning designs ahead of time and guiding development teams through implementation.

iOS Developer

iOS Developer

Job Availability: High, and growing higher!
Average Salary: $76,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Swift3.
Preferred skills: JSON, Core Data, Model-View-Controller, Grand Central Dispatch.

Job Summary: iOS is the operating system for Apple’s mobile devices including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. An iOS developer is responsible for developing apps using Swift that are lightweight, responsive, intuitive, web-enabled, social, visually appealing, media-rich, and addicting.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Coding bootcamps Bloc, Coding Dojo, Thinkful
Online Courses & MOOCs Udacity: Become an iOS Developer
Coursera: iOS Development Basics
Udemy: iOS 10 & Swift 3: From Beginner to Paid Professional™
Free Resources Udacity: Intro to iOS App Development with Swift
Appcoda: Learn iOS Programming

Android Developer

Android

Job Availability: High, and growing!
Average Salary: $76,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Android, Java, Material Design, etc.
Optional: C#, SQL, C++, ASP.NET

Job Summary: Along with iOS development, there is an increasing demand for Android developers as businesses from every industry compete for brand familiarity and every chance to make a potential sale. As the most popular mobile operating system in the world by a ton, you better believe that Android developers will be in high demand for the long haul. Just like iOS, skills in developing apps that are lightweight, responsive, intuitive, web-enabled, social, visually appealing, media-rich, and addicting are a must.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Coding bootcamps Bloc: Android Bootcamp,
Online Courses & MOOCs Udacity: Android Developer Nanodegree
edX: Professional Android Developer MicroMastersJava & Android Foundation Professional Cert.
Udemy: The Complete Android N Developer Course
Free Resources Udacity: Developing Android Apps (by Google)

Note on Software Programs:

Other essential skills to learn beyond just coding languages include: Git, RESTful APIs, Amazon Web Services, UnixTools, Containers, DOM Javascript standard, Agile development environments, VMware,

Emerging Digital Skills

Data Scientist | Data Analyst | Digital Marketing
User Experience/ User Interface Design | Robotics

Data Analyst

Data Analyst

Job Availability: High
Average Salary: $56,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: MySQL, Statistics & Probability, Excel, Python, SAS. Optional: R, Multivariable Calculus, Tableau, Linear Algebra.

Job Summary: A data analyst is the first line of defense between a new set of data and the data scientist. The analyst creates queries to form an initial understanding and prepare the data for the data scientist to complete further analyses that drive outcomes for the business. The analyst is also responsible for making easily-interpreted visuals of data sets to communicate whether the data is useful or not toward business goals.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs Springboard: Udacity: Data Analyst
Springboard: Data Analytics for Business
Free Resources edX: Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics, Analytics for Decision Making, Microsoft Azure HDInsight Big Data Analyst

Data Scientist

Emerging Digital Skills

Job Availability: High
Average Salary: $67,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Python (Numpy), Java (Hadoop), Statistics & Probability, MySQL, Distributed Computing, Excel. Optional: R, Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra.

Job Summary: A data scientist has the impressive job of creating tangible outcomes from heaps of parsed data from the data analyst using a combination of machine learning and statistical models. Examples of data science outcomes include grocery stores using your purchase history to send you targeted coupons, and industrial companies using data captured from a fleet of products to predict individual failure modes before they happen. Data analyst roles are generally the entry-level jobs for careers in data science.

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing

Job Availability: High
Average Salary: $55,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Paid Marketing, Digital Analytics, Marketing Automation, Communication, Social Media Prowess, Adaptability

Job Summary: According to Mediabistro, “A digital marketing manager is responsible for developing, implementing and managing marketing campaigns that promote a company and its products and/or services. He or she plays a major role in enhancing brand awareness within the digital space as well as driving website traffic and acquiring leads/customers. A digital marketing manager also identifies and evaluates new digital technologies and uses Web analytics tools to measure site traffic to better optimize marketing campaigns, email marketing, social media and display and search advertising.”

User Experience/ User Interface Design:

User Experience

Job Availability: Medium-High
Average Entry-Level Salary: UI Designer: $60,000 USD (2017); UX Designer: $68,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Strong researching skills, experience rapid prototyping and wireframing, product design skills & creativity, strong understanding of users and their needs, ability to conduct usability testing, strong communication skills. For web UX/UI it’s generally expected you understand HTML, CSS, and Javascript as well.

Job Summary: In addition to developing digital interfaces for apps and websites with front-end visual appeal and backend performance, it’s also critical to design user experiences that contain seamless usability, accessibility, and genuine enjoyment while interacting with products. This could apply to a digital mobile app or a physical Fitbit device. User Interface (UI) designers create the static style and feel of interfaces while the User Experience (UX) designers define how processes flow and transition from one state to another. Together, these roles simulate target users and their needs on paper and then develop wireframes and prototypes to test their designs in the real world. Repeated iterations and improvements create intuitive and hassle-free products some appreciate and most take for granted. Remember when smartphones used trackballs instead of touch screens? Remember when the official Facebook app used to look like this in 2010? We’ve come a long way thanks to UX/UI designers

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs Cousera: Interaction Design Specialization
Thinkful: Become a UX Designer
Bloc: UX & UI Design Bootcamp
Hackdesign: Design Lessons
Free Resources Lynda: User Experience for Web Designers,UX Foundations: Information Architecture
Springboard: UX Design School, Studio by UXPin

Robotics

Robotics

Job Availability: Medium-High
Average Salary: $82,000 USD (2016)
Minimum Required Skills: Hardware Design: Mechanical or Related Engineering Degree, Linear Algebra, Calculus, Probability & Statistics, Newtonian physics.
Electrical Design: Electrical or Related Engineering Degree, Embedded Systems, Microchip Design.
Software Design: Computer Science, Computer Vision, Robot Operating System (ROS), C++, Unix, Python

Job Summary: Robotics is a fast-growing industry that created automated equipment that is generally designed to accomplish specific purposes with the aid of visual and other sensory information. A career in robotics could be obtained through many different skills as it takes a collection of multiple talents to develop a robotics system. Generally speaking, robot development requires hardware design, electrical design, and software design.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs Udacity: Robotics Nanodegree
edX: Robotics MicroMasters Degree
Free Resources RoboticsCourseWare.org
TurtleBot
Gazebo

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Future-Focused Careers

Virtual Reality Developer | Artificial Intelligence Developer
Machine Learning Engineer | Deep Learning Engineer

Virtual Reality Developer

Virtual Reality

Job Availability: High
Average Entry-Level Salary: $70,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Unity (Java, C#), Graphic Design & Animation, Audio Design, Game Design.

Job Summary: Virtual Reality (VR) is an immersive simulated 3D environment in which a user can experience many types of media content: movies, videos, games, etc. that react in real-time to their movements and other inputs. A VR developer creates interactive audio and visual content to feel as realistic as possible (as to convince the user’s senses that they’re truly in the real world) for a captivating and unique entertainment experience. VR is also being introduced in many industries to train and supplement many jobs in healthcare, real estate, sports, military, tourism, and education.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs Udacity: Become a VR Developer
edX: Virtual Reality App Development Professional Cert.
Free Resources Occulus: Tutorial
Unity: Roll-a-Ball Tutorial

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

Job Availability: High
Average Entry-Level Salary: $80,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Python (Numpy), Java (Hadoop), Algebra, Probability & Statistics, logic, search optimization, natural language processing.
Optional: Baysian statistics, evolutionary algorithms,

Job Summary: An artificial intelligence developer creates software that enables computers to achieve ‘smart’ functions. These operations are generally narrowly defined and are only useful in specific situations. I.e. IBM Watson competing on Jeopardy, Deep Blue defeating a chess grandmaster, and Google reading your emails to provide handy services. Unlike machine learning, artificial intelligence software doesn’t learn or improve on its own and is only as smart as the static code that enables it.

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine Learning

Job Availability: High
Average Entry-Level Salary: $85,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Python (Numpy), Java (Hadoop), Algebra, Probability & Statistics, pattern recognition, Support Vector Machine (SVM), Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). Optional: C++, MATLAB, R, Distributed Computing, Partial Derivatives (basic Calculus), Matrix Multiplication (basic Linear Algebra), Convolutions (Differential Equations)

Job Summary: Whereas artificial intelligence is only as ‘intelligent’ as the rules that are defined by the programmer, machine learning software takes it a step further as it has the ability to ‘learn’ by optimizing its rules along a certain dimension. Machine learning is designed to optimize in a pre-defined area by testing many different methods to achieve the best result. For example, if a weather station has decades of hurricane data, both during the formation phases and upon reaching land, they could feasibly use machine learning to determine the most reliable method for predicting future hurricane behaviors.

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs Coursera: Deep Learning Specialization, Build Intelligent Applications
Udacity: Machine Learning Engineer, Deep Learning Nanodegree, Self-Driving Car Engineer
Free Resources edX: Machine Learning for Data Science, Machine Learning
Stanford University: Machine Learning
University of Toronto: Neural Networks for Machine Learning

Deep Learning Engineer

Deep Learning Engineer

Job Availability: Medium-High (mostly research-based until it becomes mainstream in business in 5+ years)
Average Salary: $99,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: Python (Numpy), Java (Hadoop), Algebra, Probability & Statistics, pattern recognition, Support Vector Machine (SVM), Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA). Optional: C++, MATLAB, R, OpenGL/CL, Distributed Computing, Partial Derivatives (basic Calculus), Matrix Multiplication (basic Linear Algebra), Convolutions (Differential Equations)

Job Summary: Deep learning is a subset of machine learning in which algorithms are designed to be open-ended in order to discover new solutions on their own through informed trial-and-error. A deep learning engineer is responsible for developing solutions that self-optimize to provide continually-improving algorithms for computer vision, object detection, speech recognition, natural language processing, autonomous driving and other applications across a diverse array of hardware platforms (varying from distributed computing to localized FPGAs).

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs Udacity: Deep Learning Nanodegree
Cousera: Deep Learning Specialization
Free Resources edX: Machine Learning for Data Science, Machine Learning
Stanford University: Machine Learning
University of Toronto: Neural Networks for Machine Learning

Information Technology

Cyber Security

Cyber Security

IT

Job Availability: Very High
Average Entry-Level Salary: $53,000 USD (2017)
Minimum Required Skills: C++, IT fundamentals (computer administration) Knowledge and Experience in Cyber Security Threats, Authentication, Malware Analysis & Response, Server Security, Network Forensics, Cryptography, Network Security, Firewalls, VPN, Intrusion Detection, and Risk Management.

Job Summary: Cyber security can focus on many types of applications including network security, operational security, forensics, and encryption. Per edX, a role in cyber security could entail: “How to protect computer networks and other systems by mitigating vulnerabilities and monitoring intrusions. How to perform digital forensic analysis of cyber crime by gathering information on the nature and extent of the attack for presentation in a court of law, as well as assessing the extent of the damage to an organization. Techniques of risk analysis. Risk assessment and vulnerability assessment.” According to Forbes, “demand is expected to rise 6 million globally by 2019”

Learning Options

WehnerEd's Recommendations

Online Courses & MOOCs edX: Cybersecurity MicroMasters Degree
Coursera: Cybersecurity: Developing a Program for Your Business Specialization, Cybersecurity Specialization (University of Maryland)
Free Resources Udacity: Intro to Information Security
FutureLearn: Introduction to Cyber Security

***Recall that learning new skills is only one part of the puzzle to prepare yourself for a new career. It takes a multitude of skills and experiences to be a top candidate for the best jobs. Arguably more important than mastering the skills themselves are your accumulated experiences using the skills. Be sure to check out our posts on projects to hone your new talents and intangible skills to help you land your dream job.

Further Reading:

What Happens After a Bootcamp?
High Impact Job Board and Career Reviews

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