SEO Course Reviews for Marketers_EdReporter

Learn How to Become an SEO with These Top Search Engine Marketing Courses

Search engine optimization has become a vital part of running any successful business. It has also become a reflex to most consumers to head over to Google whenever they have a question or are looking for a product.

To meet consumers at the point of their interest, SEOs, or search engine optimizers create high-quality site content to attract visitors to their page and score top positions on search engine results pages.

Over the years, SEO has grown increasingly complicated. Elements of on-page, off-page, and technical SEO come together to make it somewhat of a science.

To help them further their career, forward-thinking marketers are turning to SEO online courses to learn the latest tools and skills for the job.

So, in today’s post, we’re going to review the 5 best SEO courses from around the web that prepare you for a career as a highly valued search engine optimizer and digital marketer.

1. Basic SEO Training from Yoast

Yoast has been a trusted name in SEO since 2010. They’ve created some of the most powerful tools used by search engine marketers each day in the field (including our favorite WordPress plugin, Yoast SEO).

But aside from their tools and helpful blog posts, Yoast has also created 6 online SEO training courses to help you master the SEO toolkit.

Course prices range from $99 to $199 and cover topics like technical SEO, copywriting, and WordPress training.

Check out their offerings here.

2. SEO Specialization from Coursera

Coursera offers courses from colleges and universities around the world. Their SEO Specialization includes six courses from UC Davis, one of the top-ranking public universities in America.

Included in the 6-course specialization are an introduction to SEO, the latest SEO strategies, content creation with SEO, and advanced content strategies. Also included is a case study that teaches students how to find clients, develop a pitch, create a personalized SEO strategy, and report results.

This course is ideal for learners who want to see the SEO process from beginning to end in a real-life scenario. Learners can then apply these skills to their own work as an SEO expert.

Try the SEO Specialization for free with a 7-day trial, and earn a certificate when you complete the program.

3. SEO Courses from Moz

Aside from Yoast, Moz is probably the most well-known name in search engine marketing. Moz provides useful tools for SEO experts like page and site metrics as well as a useful learning center for all of your SEO questions.

Moz also offers training courses for people who want to take their marketing skills to the next level and become a professional SEO.

One of their most popular offerings is a 5-day boot camp that covers SEO fundamentals. While this is a solid introduction to SEO, the cost ($595.00) and the fact that it is mostly a beginner-level course make it hard to recommend when there are so many other free learning options for newcomers to SEO.

4. Moz SEO Training Course on Udemy

Speaking of free courses and Moz, you can actually take a free Moz course on Udemy that provides a foundation for SEO and includes some tips and tricks to help get you started on solving common SEO problems.

With 3.5 hours of video lectures, this course is more based on learning SEO theory than actually using SEO tools and techniques.

You can check out that Udemy course here.

5. 5-Day Mini-Course from HubSpot Academy

You won’t get any certifications or hands-on training from this course. But, for those of us who are pressed for time, this mini-course can be a good intro to SEO.

Each day for five days you’ll receive an email from HubSpot that explains a piece of the puzzle that is SEO. They’re short, easy to read, and beginner-friendly.

If you’re currently enrolled in another SEO course, using this freebie from HubSpot can be a great refresher to accompany your more formal studying.

Sign up for the mini-course here.


For other online marketing courses and certifications, check out our list of Five Free Online Marketing Courses with Certifications.

top data analytics intro courses beginners

Data Analytics Courses for Beginners: A Review of the Top 5 Classes Online

Do you love looking at a spreadsheet and noticing patterns? How about explaining those patterns to others in a way that’s easy to understand? If that sounds like something you would *cough* excel at, then this rundown of the top data analytics courses is for you. 

Today we’re going to cover the best online introductory courses for data science and analysis. So, whether you’re a beginner or just want to learn if analyzing data is something you’d interested in, this post is for you.

But first, here’s a quick overview of what a data analyst does on a day-to-day basis.

What is data analytics?

Collecting and analyzing data is a key part of running a successful business. Regardless of industry, companies use data to help inform their business operations to maximize profits, reduce waste, and make overall better business decisions.

Data analysts use several tools to help them collect and analyze information and then report their findings. Depending on the industry you work in, you could be working with Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Excel, and Tableau. And, you might be programming languages like Python, SQL, R, and SAS.

But, don’t worry if you have little or no experience coding. Today’s courses are for beginners and newcomers to data analytics. They’re designed to give you an overview and get you started on your path towards becoming a data analyst.

Keep in mind, however, that most of these data analytics courses assume that you have a basic understanding of concepts in algebra, statistics, and how to edit a spreadsheet.

How we ranked the courses

Our ranking system is based on three main criteria:

  1. The ability to take the courses completely online without having to download or purchase accompanying textbooks or ebooks
  2. Being beginner-friendly and providing an overview of the field of data analytics as it stands today
  3. User reviews, when available, by people who have taken the courses

And now for the ranking.


1. Complete Data Analytics Course for Beginners – Udemy

This intro course from Udemy provides the best foundation for the type of work data analysts do each day–cleaning, analyzing, and visualizing data. It introduces students to Excel, Tableau, and SQL, tools you would use on a regular basis as a data analyst.

This course also serves as an introduction to databases, data modeling, and data warehousing, core concepts that are frequently left out of introductory data analytics courses.

Find the data analytics course here.

2. Data Science Specialization – Coursera

The data science specialization program from Coursera is a fully fleshed-out 10-course curriculum with weekly projects and a certificate of completion. However, for our purposes, the real value for beginners can be found in course one, The Data Scientist’s Toolbox.

This course provides an overview of the type of problems data analysts seek to solve and the tools they use to their solutions

This course can be completed for free during Coursera’s 7-day free trial period. Then, upon completing the course, you can choose to continue on the learning path if you think it’s a good fit.

Start the Data Science Specialization course here.


 

3. Data Science Essentials – edX

In this 6-week course (18 – 24 hours total), edX tackles the theory behind data science. They also provide an introduction to machine learning, something that is quickly becoming a vital asset to the industry of data science and analysis.

With a combination of Python, R, and MS Azure, you’ll also be introduced to the most cutting-edge tools used in the industry today.

This data analytics course covers a lot of ground, and you’ll know quickly whether data science is something you’ll want to keep learning. But if you do end up completing the full 6-week course, you can get a certificate of completion.

Start this course here. 


 

4. Data Analyst Nanodegree – Udacity

Nanodegrees from Udacity are a serious endeavor and commitment. So, if you came to this article knowing that you want to immerse yourself in the world of data and absorbing the latest tools and trends in the industry, this is probably the course for you.

The Data Analyst Nanodegree sits at number four on our list because it’s not designed for people who want a quick intro to data science and then to move on to something else. In many ways, it’s a career-track program for serious students of data analysis.

However, term one of the program does provide one of the best introductions to concepts in data analysis and statistics, making it a huge asset to those who are just beginning on their data science educational journey.

Begin the Nanodegree program.


 

5. Data Analysis Training and Tutorials – Lynda.com

Not everyone learns the same way. For those of us who prefer to learn by solving our own, real-life problems, these tutorials from Lynda.com might be the perfect environment to get started in.

If you’re the type of person who likes to learn by doing and only stop to watch tutorials when you get stuck, this is the program for you.

Lynda.com offers tutorials for tools like Excel and Tableau and courses for statistics and data mining. But, in addition to those common tools and skills, they also offer tutorials in more niche programs like ArcGIS and SAP Crystal Reports.

Find the data analytics courses here.


That’s our list! Feel free to check out our other online course rundowns, like The Top Four Free Intro to Marketing Online Courses.

Design-Careers-EdReporter

10 Lesser Known Design Careers to Consider for 2018

Take a look at your immediate surroundings. Your phone or laptop, the desk you’re at or chair you’re sitting in, the building that those are inside of–all of these things are the result of design. As a career, “designer” doesn’t mean much unless you attach it to a particular industry. Most commonly, we think of graphic designers creating logos, advertisements, book covers, and blog images like the one above. However, creative-minded individuals find work in many industries and settings. There is no shortage of design careers available for those who know where to look.

This article is all about those lesser-known design careers that allow you to flex your creative muscles while still earning a decent–and in some cases lucrative–paycheck. We’re going to break down 10 jobs for designers that you might not have considered, and give you some tips on how to get started in those industries.

Industrial design

Industrial designers create the various products we use. This includes the vehicles we drive, the appliances we use to cook our food, and the toys our kids play with. Since industrial designers work in such a wide array of industries and create vastly different products, they tend to have

Since industrial designers work in such a wide array of industries and create vastly different products, they tend to have diverse backgrounds in terms of education and experience. Most of the time, you’ll need formal education, such as a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, and graphic design. However, it’s also important to have a firm grasp on computer-aided design and drafting.

If you’ve always been jealous of the people whose job it is to create Nerf guns–and who hasn’t?–then a career as an industrial designer could be your calling.

Industrial designer salary: $68,000 per year 

Packaging design

A packaging designer combines the skills of industrial design with graphic design to create the look and feel of the products we buy. The appearance, shape, and texture of the products we consume all play an important role in our decision to purchase them. As a packaging designer, it’s up to you to find the perfect combination of those features.

You’ll get to experiment with different materials and shapes to create the package, and then combine that with colors and typography to build a unique, identifiable experience for the consumer.

If you’re more interested in logistics, packaging designers can also work on the shipping side of things. They have to ensure that the boxes and packaging that products are transported inside of protect the product, reduce waste and theft, and are easily shipped. for someone with an engineering background, this behind-the-scenes career in packaging design can be a rewarding design career option.

Packaging designer salary: $46,000 per year

User Experience design

User Experience Design, or “UX Design” for short, is a somewhat of a buzzword in the creative and tech fields. With so much of our lives depending on the screens we look at all day, it’s become paramount for companies to create intuitive, useful, and aesthetically-pleasing experiences. Whether it’s an online magazine, a website for managing your budget, or a photo sharing app, it’s important to have someone studying and tweaking the user’s experience with your product.

Enter UX design. As a designer, your role would be to collect data on user experience and then use that data–as well as principles of design–to create a better experience for your users and customers. As a result, you’ll encourage more customers to use your product, helping the company retain and attract business.

Depending on the company and industry, user experience designers need to know a range of skills. Furthermore, since it’s a relatively new career, UX designers often come from a diverse background in terms of education.

Some designers come from a background in programming; others in marketing, business, engineering, and even psychology. However, you’ll need a firm grasp on basic design principles, the ability to research and analyze data, and knowledge of prototyping.

Outside of computers, UX designers work in industries that create products or experience for consumers that need to be tweaked to perfection. In these roles, UX designers might work with quality assurance teams to experiment with various prototypes in order to create the best possible experience.

UX designer salary: $87,000 per year

 

User Interface Design

User interface design (or “UI design”) is another design career that focuses on the user or consumer of a product. The two are very similar, and in some job listings are used interchangeably, however, there are notable differences.

A UX designer focuses on the experience of a user, which doesn’t necessarily have to be on a cell phone or computer. A UI designer, on the other hand, always works with computer interfaces of one kind or another, whether it’s a laptop, e-reader, or even a refrigerator.

User interface designers work with engineers and programmers to develop simple, usable interfaces.

User interface designer salary: $96,000 per year

Where to learn: UI Design from Coursera

Instructional Design

The field of education is undergoing an electronic revolution. Colleges and universities offer courses online, either in-full or through hybrid learning environments. Businesses use training courses and materials to bring new employees up to speed. And, online learning companies like Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera, provide courses to students all over the world that help them learn new skills they can utilize in their lives and design careers.

With a larger and larger percentage of learning occurring online, it has opened up the doors for designers to create new learning environments.

As an instructional designer, your job would be to design, develop, and implement learning experiences. There’s that word again: “experiences.”

Just like in user experience, an instructional designer needs to take into account the way people learn. As a result, some instructional designers come from a background in education. Others work with educators to create courses, course materials, and interactive elements that effectively help students learn in a remote or digital environment.

Instructional designer salary: $65,000 per year

Where to learn: Instructional Design for Effective Learning by OpenLearning

Web design

Web designers are the people responsible for creating sleek, usable websites. In contrast with web developers, web designers don’t have to be experts in several programming languages. However, knowledge of  HTML, CSS, and JavaScript at the least are almost always required.

Outside of code, web designers also utilize graphic design tools like PhotoShop and Illustrator, and take advantage of real-time coding applications like CodePen to experiment with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript elements.

Web design is a great field for designers who have a love for tech as well as design, and want to find a way to combine the two.

Web designer salary: $64,000 per year

Where to learn: Web Design for Everybody from Coursera

CADD (Computer-aided drafting and design)

Computer-aided designers and drafters work with design software such as AutoCAD to create blueprints for buildings, electronics, and machines.

CADD is typically seen as a skill that can be used in a range of design careers, such as architecture, engineering, or interior design.

If you have an interest in design as well as technical subjects like architecture and engineering, learning CADD can be a great way to get an introduction to more lucrative and long-term careers.

Computer-aided designer salary: $40,000 – $80,000+ per year

Where to learn: AutoCAD by Lynda.com

Interior design

Interior design combines elements of computer-aided drafting, knowledge of building codes and safety, as well as principles of design and decorating.

They work together with builders, architects, corporations, homeowners, and sometimes even government agencies to create interior spaces that are safe, usable, and aesthetically pleasing. 

If you’ve always had an interest in the process of creating the spaces we work, live, and play in, interior design could be a great career option.

Interior designer salary: $49,000 per year

Where to learn: Introduction to Interior Design by ed2go

Game design

There are numerous roles for a designer in the multi-billion dollar video game industry. One particularly fast-growing part of the industry is mobile gaming, valued at $41 billion worldwide.

Designers can find a job in the art department, development department, or both at a small company. Typically, game designers have skills in programming languages and 3D modeling software. They also have to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques for creating competitive games in today’s changing market.

Many colleges now offer degrees in game design and development. However, with focus and a passion for games, a designer can learn many of the necessary skills themselves through online learning.

Game designer salary: From $45,000 to $100,000+ per year

Where to learn: Principles of Game Design on Coursera

Creative Director / Art Director

Creative directors or art directors oversee the layout and aesthetics of magazines, newspapers, television shows, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

This supervisory role is often attained after years of industry experience and revolves around managing employees, often teams of designers. In order to stay true to a theme or idea, creative directors plan and oversee projects, including the budgeting aspect.

As a result, many design careers as a creative director are found at the senior level in large companies and come with lucrative salaries. So, if you have a passion for business and a desire to lead, consider this as a long-term option.

Creative director/art director salary: $90,000+ per year

Where to learn: Design Patterns Certificate Training from Edureka

 

EdReporter.com technical tech writing writer industry quick facts stats data

Technical Writing Industry Quick Facts: Education, Job Growth and the Best Places to Work

In our last article article on technical writing, we analyzed 40 recent job listings in the New England area. While we were able to learn a lot from those listings, such as the skills and education required to land the job, they were from a single concentrated area and didn’t adequately reflect the state of technical writing as a whole.

Today, we’re going to look at some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics  (BLS) to see the full scope of technical writing jobs across the country.

The BLS collects and compiles data from over 800 occupations and makes them readily available to the public. Let’s take a look at what they have to say about the field of technical writing and the job outlook for future writers.

Where the technical writing jobs are

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most technical writing jobs exist in cities and states with a large science and technology presence. Here are the top three states for careers in technical writing:

Top U.S. Technical Writing Jobs Employers States - EdReporter.com

  1. California: 6,590 technical writers
  2. Texas: 3,930 technical writers
  3. Massachusetts: 2,700 technical writers

However, due to population and area differences, the total number of technical writing jobs in a state may not be the best way to determine the demand for writers in that area.

To determine the demand for an occupation, we can use the location quotient, which is the ratio of the location concentration of tech writers to the national average concentration of tech writers.

When we look at this quotient, the top states for tech writers change a bit:

  1. District of Columbia – 3.21
  2. Massachusetts – 2.20
  3. Maryland – 2.11

States with the top paying tech writing jobs

If you’re considering technical writing as a potential subject to study in college or as a career change, one of your chief concerns might be the average salary.

Since technical writers most often work in the STEM fields and have specialized skills in that area, they tend to make more than most writers.

The national media salary for technical writers is $69,850. When compared with other media and communications professionals, technical writers make over $15,000 more per year.

Location also plays an important role in the salary of technical writers. Some industries, especially those found in tech hubs like California and Massachusetts, pay more on average. Furthermore, some states just have a higher cost of living and higher average wages to make up for it.

Here are the top three highest paying places for technical writers:

Average Technical Writer Salary U.S. EdReporter.com

  1. California – $86,530
  2. Massachusetts – $84,580
  3. District of Columbia – $83,820

Required education to become a technical writer

If the pay and locations look promising, you might be thinking it’s to start looking into technical writing schools. You might be surprised, however, to find that there aren’t many colleges and universities offering degrees in technical writing.

While most technical writing jobs require a bachelor’s degree, they are often flexible regarding the subject that degree is in. Tech writers come from backgrounds in English, journalism, computer science, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. You’ll stand a better chance at landing a job if you’re familiar with their industry and if you excel at explaining things in writing.

Technical writing online courses

If you’re thinking of switching careers and don’t have experience in technical writing, there are a few online courses available that will give you an introduction.

Then, if you want to venture into the the popular field of tech writing for software developers, it wouldn’t hurt to take a few programming or web development courses to gain an understanding of the languages.

Technical Writing Writer Education Job Growth Outlook U.S. EdReporter.com

Technical writing job outlook

It’s been said many times that technical writing is a dying industry. However, that tends to be said whenever a job evolves with the changing time.

Now that companies are trying to make their user experience as intuitive as possible, some see this process as eliminating the need for end user documentation.

While intuitive user experiences are a good goal to aspire to, some things will always be too complicated to be understood by your average user or consumer. Furthermore, technical writers are now finding new roles like instructional design for online courses, training materials for businesses, and technical support blogs for computer software.

People entering the technical writing field might also experience a bit of an identity crisis in that their job title may be different at every company they work. This is partly due to the fact that tech writers, especially in rapidly changing fields like software development, tend to wear many hats.

You could have your hands in any number of departments, from engineering and user experience to marketing and graphic design. As a result, the more skills you have, the higher your chances of finding steady work.

Now, taking all of that volatility and industry change into account, here’s what the BLS says is the ten-year job growth of technical writing:

  • Technical writers – 10%
  • All media and communications careers – 4%
  • All occupations – 7%

So, in spite of the doomsday prophecies about the death of technical writing, the field is still growing faster than the national average.

 




Technical Writing Careers Job Listings Experience Education Skills EdReporter.com

Technical Writing Careers: The Experience and Skills You Need to Land the Job

If you’re considering technical writing as a career choice, there are a few ways to learn what education, skills, and experience you’ll need to get the job. You might look into salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You could reach out to an online community of people employed in the field to see what they recommend. Or, you can browse wearily through dozens of job listings to find out exactly what employers are looking for.

We’ve done just that for today’s article by sampling 40 technical writer job listings on Indeed.com. The listings are all in the New England area, mostly centered around Boston. They’re also recent listings–posted within the last 30 days. So, while this data doesn’t reflect the entire nation, it does paint a decent picture of the career as it stands today.

Let’s look at the data.

Technical Writing Job Salary Experience Education Skills EdReporter Infographic

Top industries for technical writers

Tech writing is a difficult career to define because it covers such a wide range of tasks across various industries. In other words, a technical writer working for a Department of Defense contractor will be creating different content than someone working for a startup software company.

There are some industries that employ a greater number of technical writers. Therefore, if you plan on entering the field it would be to your benefit to have some experience and knowledge in one of these industries.

From the job listings we reviewed, we found technical writing jobs in the following industries:

Industry Jobs
Software 12
Healthcare 8
Science 6
Government 4
Employment 3
Aerospace 2

Software technical writing

It has been said that technical writers in the software development field are a dying breed. Some companies want their user experience to be so intuitive and approachable that they never need to click the Help button.

Many tech writers, however, will tell you that goal is unattainable. Take companies like Google and Facebook who both use vast amounts of documentation to help users understand and navigate all of their features.

Healthcare and Sciences

Healthcare is an industry that never ceases to grow each year. New drugs, regulations, treatments, and policy are constantly being introduced. Technical writers in the medical and healthcare fields create the documentation behind those products and policies, adhering to strict industry standards.

Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) technical writers are in demand because of their niche knowledge of pharmaceutical regulations.

Outside of medicine, technical writers are needed in a range of other companies in the science, technology, and engineering industries.

Job-related skills and tools

If there’s one thing more valuable than your education on your resume it’s your job skills. In technical writing, there are a range of tools, languages, and publishing standards that are vital to doing your job effectively.

In our analysis of 40 job listings, we found that these are most sought-after skills and competencies for technical writers:

Skill/Knowledge Jobs
Office 12
XML 4
APIs 4
GMP 4
FrameMaker 4
MadCap Flare 3
JIRA 3
HTML/CSS 3
CRMs 3
UX 2
RFP 2
Confluence 2
Git 2
DITA 2
Oxygen 2
CMC 2
ReadTheDocs 2
Swagger 1

Microsoft Office tops the list, if only because it’s used in so many industries by so many different employees. The most in-demand publishing software programs were Adobe FrameMaker and MadCap Flare, two powerful tools with a bit of a learning curve.

In terms of markup languages, it’s no surprise that XML and HTML were valuable skills to hold for technical writers who frequently create web-based documentation.

Experience and Education

Today’s job listings are notorious at asking for copious amounts of experience. Part of this can presumably be blamed on HR employees who ask for five years of experience in a program that has only existed for three.

However, our findings showed that most listings that had experience requirements asked for only one to three years of experience.

Experience Jobs
No Data 11
1 to 3 years 18
 4 to 6 years 9
7 to 10 years 2

When it comes to education, a bachelor’s degree was preferred by most employers. However, many job listings did not specify a particular degree, opting for a Bachelor’s in related fields such as English, journalism, communications, and marketing.

Education Jobs
Bachelor’s 23
Associate’s 2
H.S. Diploma 1
No Data 15

Salary information

Employers are hesitant to explicitly list the salary of the jobs they’re posting. Some even revert to using the boilerplate phrase, “Salary commensurate with experience.” However, the few companies (8 out of 40) that did list salaries were on the low side compared to what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says about tech writing salaries.

Average Salary (BLS): $73,160
Average Salary (from 8 of 40 listings):  $58,000

 





Check out our article, How to Become A Technical Writer to learn more about the career.

Tools for Technical Writers 2017

Top 5 Tools for Technical Writers in 2017

Technical writers work in a range of industries and create a wide variety of documents, manuals, and guides. In recent years, tech writers have also implemented principles of user experience (UX) and instructional design to create interactive tutorials, infographics, and even videos.

To further complicate matters, technical writers can be found in a number of business sectors–computer hardware and software, science and healthcare, education, and even government organizations.

The role of a technical writer will vary across those sectors, as will the tools they use. However, there are some tools that are ubiquitous and some skills that will serve you well regardless of the industry you work in.

In this article, we’re going to cover the tools that technical writers rely on right now, in 2017, when they’re on the job.

Technical writing tools for 2017


1. MadCap Flare

If you ask a room full of technical writers what their most important piece of software is, they’ll almost definitely answer with MadCap Flare. If you’re creating user guides and online help systems, or even ebooks, Flare will help you organize large numbers of documents into topics.

Flare also lets you publish to print, PDF, web, and mobile to ensure that your document is versatile and easily readable. In many ways, Flare is an all-in-one suite for authoring and publishing your projects.

2. Adobe FrameMaker

A competitor to Flare, Adobe FrameMaker is another authoring and publishing tool. However, FrameMaker tends to be used for long, print-oriented manuals and documents.

FrameMaker also has support for standards like DITA for structured writing.

3. GitHub

GitHub has been the go-to source for developers when it comes to collaboration and version control (Git). However, technical writers working on complex help files or open source documentation are now frequenting GitHub to collaborate.

If you work in a computer systems or software environment, knowing your way around programming languages and GitHub will ensure that you’re on the same page and that your workflows are congruent with one another. And, considering that systems and software companies are the leading employers of technical writers, it can’t hurt to start using GitHub to manage your workflows.

Documentation is being written by a lone technical writer buried in the corner of an office building less and less. With GitHub and other, collaboration is easier than ever and it tends to produce high-quality results.

4. SnagIt

Screenshots and screen recording makes written and multimedia tutorials more coherent. It lets the audience follow along with your instruction, rather than only imagining it from an abstract description.

While there are many screenshot and screen recording tools out there, SnagIt has become a favorite among technical writers for its ease of use and built-in annotation. However, other popular tools include Awesome Screenshot and Evernote’s Skitch.

5. Oxygen XML Editor

Many technical writers will, at some point, find themselves writing XML markup. Structured writing, such as XML, allows you to define elements which you will then be able to style for publishing on the web.

Oxygen XML Editor is the industry standard for document authoring. However, since XML is just a markup language that is human and machine readable, most text editors will do fine.





To learn more about technical writing, including a list of online courses to take, check out our article on How to Become a Technical Writer.

Technical Writer Courses Skills Edreporter

How to Become a Technical Writer: Online Courses and Skills You Need to Learn

Technical writers work in a number of industries and write a number of different types of documents and guides. However, if you had to boil technical writing down to one simple role it would be this: technical writers explain things.

While this may sound straightforward, there are a number of different ways things need to be explained. Apps and websites need Help buttons that show users where to find things and furniture needs assembly guides. However, technical writers also write project proposals, white papers, and even press releases.

Skills technical writers need to have

Due to the varying nature of the job, not every technical writer is required to hold the same set of specialized skills. If you work for a software developer, you may be required to know how to read programming languages (such as JavaScript, PHP, C++, etc.).

On the other hand, technical writers working in manufacturing might need an understanding of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and other industry standards and regulations.

As a result, it’s a good idea to determine which industry you would fit into before learning languages and regulatory guidelines.

The role of a technical writer has many variations. But, there are some skills that will help you regardless of where you end up working. They are:

Researching technical information

To be able to effectively relate information to users, you need to have a deep understanding of the product or service you are writing about. This involves doing self-guided research on your subject matter.

In many ways, being a technical writer makes you a student of whichever project you are working on. Eventually, you can become the teacher and help others learn.

Interviewing skills

Many technical writers spend their days pestering the subject matter experts for whatever they’re writing about. That could be engineers, programmers, and anyone else who has the firmest grasp on the knowledge you need to purvey to the reader.

Journalists and journalism students often excel in this field because they aren’t afraid of asking questions repeatedly to get the facts right.

Clear and concise writing

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, a blog post, or a user manual. Every piece of writing is created with a reader in mind. In technical writing, your goal is to explain information so that your average user can quickly understand what they need to know.

To do this, you’ll need to write in a concise and straightforward manner–avoid passive voice, confusing terms, or flowery language.

Design mind

With technologies changing, long, difficult to navigate user manuals are becoming a thing of the past. That doesn’t mean you need to be an artist or even a graphic designer. But you need to recognize when a diagram, infographic, or chart, is better suited to explain information than a wall of text.

Technical writing online courses

If you’re interested in learning some basic technical writing skills, there are several online courses and resources available. And many of them are free! First, take a moment to run through the Wikiversity overview on technical writing.

Then, check out one of the following courses to dig deeper:

 




Copywriter Job Skills Learn EdReporter

5 Skills Needed to be a Copywriter and Where to Learn Them

Copywriting is a vague term that covers a lot of different marketing roles and skills. As a copywriter, you could spend your days posting on social media, crafting email newsletters, writing search engine optimized blog posts, or creating the advertisements we all see every day online, on TV, and on billboards across the world.

Many copywriters combine their creative writing with skills in design, data analysis, and publishing to make themselves more valuable to potential employers.

How much do copywriters earn?

The average nationwide salary for a copywriter is around $55,000. However, a career in copywriting can lead you to more lucrative roles like Creative Director or Marketing Manager.

What education is needed to become a copywriter?

For entry level copywriting positions, employers often require a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or a related field. However, if you’re a great writer and can prove it with effective copy, a degree isn’t always necessary.

Top 5 skills needed to become a copywriter

If you’re hoping to enter the world of copywriting, there are several skills you can build to improve your chances of landing your first job. To determine the most useful skills in copywriting, let’s take a look at the type of content today’s copywriters create.

1. Blog writing for SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessity for any company that wants to be found on Google. To accomplish this, many companies create a blog and post articles that their clientele would be interested in. This improves the likelihood that they will rank on Google.

While Google is secretive with their ranking system, some companies have discovered effective methods of improving SEO and share that information via online courses.

Taking a course in SEO is a great way to show future employers that you know how to write copy that will boost their standing in Google searches.
Coursera’s SEO Specialization Course is a great way to learn the skills while earning a certification.

2. Understanding the consumer

Every writer knows that they have to keep their audience in mind while writing. If I was writing this article for children, I would use a much different tone and set of vocabulary to make sure I communicated effectively.

In copywriting, you not only need to know the best tone to use, but you also have to understand what kind of information will pique someone’s interest in your company’s product or service. Then, once you have them curious to learn more, you’ll need to provide a call-to-action that asks them to purchase or sign up.

Lynda offers a course in Understanding Consumer Behaviors that you can take through their free trial.

3. Mastering Google Analytics and AdWords

Since there are so many types of copywriting positions, it’s impossible to learn every tool that you might be using on the job. However, some tools are useful for nearly all companies. Among them are Google AdWords and Google Analytics.

AdWords is what you’ll mainly be using to create advertisements that appear in Google searches, that display on websites across the internet, and even those that appear in YouTube videos and smartphone apps.

Analytics is another powerful tool provided by Google that helps you understand your website traffic. You’ll be able to learn:

  • Where people are referred to your website from
  • The pages on your site that they visit
  • How long they stay on your page and what links they click
  • Their location, age, and gender, and much more

As a copywriter, you’ll use this information to tweak and perfect your writing, to better appeal to customers you’re missing out on, and which parts of your website need better copy.

Google offers free certification in AdWords and Analytics here.

4. Understanding the business side of social media

Everyone uses Facebook. But there’s a big difference between maintaining a personal profile and a business page. Most companies have a presence on the major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest).

So, as a copywriter, you’ll have to understand how to advertise on those services and how to write content that users of those services want to see. After all, to get likes and shares on social media you have to provide useful, interesting content.

Aside from writing social media posts, you’ll also be scheduling posts in advance, paying for promoted posts, and analyzing your posts to see which ones perform well and which ones perform poorly.

Learn Social Media Marketing from Northwestern University on Coursera.

5. Becoming a real-time researcher

In the internet age, research no longer means taking a trip to the library and cross-referencing materials. With social media and the 24-hour news cycle, you’ll need to develop fast and effective research techniques. First, learn how to search Google.

Did you know that you can use Google to search within specific websites? How about that you can search for results that only appear on social media? Knowing how to search effectively on Google will make you a valuable asset and it only takes a few minutes to learn the basics.

You’ll also want to know how to set up Google Alerts. You can use these to keep tabs on your company’s public image, as well as the activity of your competitors.

Finally, a good researcher knows how to find trending topics and take advantage of the buzz. A good way to find out what information is up-and coming is by using Google Trends.


Those five skills are enough to get you started in copywriting. Check out some of our related posts to learn more!




Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

4 Best Online Courses to Learn Web Development for Beginners

Learning basic web development skills is a great way to add marketable skills to your resume. It can also be a lucrative career in itself, with professional developers earning between $45,000 and $86,000 annually.

There are multiple roles to be played in web development. From creating intuitive web applications, to managing ecommerce stores, and creating responsive, mobile-friendly designs, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re totally new to the field of web development and design, all of this might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are several excellent introductory courses in web development for beginners.

From writing simple HTML and CSS code and creating simple websites, to working with servers and databases in the back end, these courses will help you dive into the world of web development.

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Codecademy

If you have little to no experience with web development, Codecademy is a great place to start. You can create a free account and learn the basics of HTML and CSS.

HTML is the markup language that gives a website its basic structure. Think of HTML as the of nouns, or building blocks, of the website. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and it is what determines the style of the website such as colors, fonts, and the size and shape of various elements on your web page. Think of CSS as the adjectives of the website.

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Mozilla Developer Network

While Codecademy is a great introduction to writing code, it’s only part of the picture. To actually make a website you’ll need to create and edit files, choose a text editor, and learn a bit about site structures to make a website that actually functions.

The Mozilla Developer Network provides simple guides that address all of the above. It will help you code and publish your first simple site from start to finish.

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Web Design for Everybody

By now you’re probably craving for something with a bit more elegance and depth than the simple “Hello World!” type sites you’ve coded thus far. If so, it’s time to move on to a more formal course where you learn some industry standards and start experimenting with JavaScript, the language responsible for all of the interactive aspects of the websites you visit on a daily basis.

Coursera’s Web Design for Everybody is a collection of five courses that cover HTML, CSS, and Javascript. What’s more, upon completion of this course you’ll have a portfolio of your projects so you can show off your skills at creating elegant, responsive web applications to future employers or your current supervisor.

Since this course is an ongoing effort, your work will be peer reviewed, and your capstone portfolio project will be overseen by a teaching assistant to keep you on the right track.

Many learners find that they succeed when they have a support system of teachers and other students who are equally excited about the work you’re creating. If you’re one of those learners, this course might be for you.

Get started here.

 

Learn Web Development for Beginners EdReporter

Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree

Similar to Coursera’s course, Udacity’s nanodegree program provides an introduction to HTML, CSS, and Javascript. You’ll also create projects that you can put on your resume or in your portfolio once you’ve finished the course.

While this and other courses claim to make you “job-ready,” it’s important to realize that web development takes a lot of experimenting and trial & error to master. That can mean years for some people, and months for others, depending on how much time you dedicate each day to learning.





Free Introduction to Marketing Online Courses EdReporter

The Top Four Free Intro to Marketing Online Courses

Whether you’re making a career change to digital marketing or you’re thinking of choosing marketing as your college major, there are a number of intro to marketing courses out there that will give you an overview of the industry.

In this article, we’re going to give you a breakdown of some of those courses because, as you may know, not all online classes are created equal. Some focus on practice, some on theory, and some just focus on getting you to buy their premium service.

While there are many excellent paid online courses in digital marketing, we’re going to focus on the four best free courses available right now. That way you have nothing to lose but time, and we’re going to try and help you use that wisely with one of these four courses.

EdReporter Intro MarketingedX: Intro to Marketing

edX is a collaboration between Harvard University and MIT designed to provide free, college-level courses to learners around the world. Since it began in 2009, over 10 million people have enrolled in their courses.

The Introduction to Marketing course, hosted by the University of British Columbia, is one of their most popular selections. The course consists of six weeks worth of video lectures provided by two UBC professors.

It combines basic marketing theory and best practices with case studies of popular companies like Oreo, Hershey, and Mars. (Yeah, this course made us hungry, too.)

Quizzes after each unit and an active discussion board make this course pretty interactive. While it’s free, there is a $50 certification you can pay for, which edX will remind you of several times throughout the course.

Is it worth it?

edX users rate this course 4.5 out of 5, and we agree that it is a fascinating intro that will pique your interest in marketing. However, in terms of learning hard skills–like ad writing and data analysis–you’ll have to look forward to some other courses on our list.

EdReporter Marketing Google Challenge introGoogle Online Marketing Challenge

Google has long been an authority in the world of online marketing. They decide which businesses get noticed and which ones end up on page 86 of your Google search.

They’re also the de facto ruler of online advertising, which you can easily dig into with their AdWords program. And, if you want to analyze the traffic to your site to learn valuable information about your customers, Google Analytics is the only tool you’ll need.

What we didn’t mention, however, is that AdWords and Analytics are incredibly powerful and complex programs that can come with a bit of a learning curve. But through the Google Academy, you can take several courses that show you the ins and outs of both programs.

If you pass two of the AdWords tests, you can get a free certification to show off your advertising chops. And, if you conquer the Analytics exam you’ll receive a certification for that as well.

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is essentially all of the Google AdWords and Analytics courses packaged together.

What you’ll learn  

The Google Marketing Challenge is all about mastering Google’s tools. You’ll learn by doing as you manage AdWords and Analytics accounts–whether they’re your own or Google’s simulation account.

You get hands-on experience with managing accounts that will be comparable to what you would do for your clients on a day-to-day basis if you decide to go into the online marketing profession.

EdReporter Marketing Hubspot Inbound introHubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification Course

HubSpot has been creating marketing tools and software for over ten years. In that time, they’ve become one of the most trusted sources of inbound marketing strategies and best practices.

In their free inbound marketing certification course, you’ll learn the following modules over the span of about five hours:

  • Inbound marketing fundamentals
  • Search engine optimization
  • Creating purposeful content
  • Blogging fundamentals
  • Using social media
  • Creating calls-to-action
  • Creating a landing page
  • Customizing email campaigns

Furthermore, you’ll be introduced to HubSpot’s inbound software, an industry standard for online marketers.

Each segment of the course is broken up into three parts:

  1. Why the topic is important to inbound marketing
  2. Best practices for the topic
  3. What the looks like in the real world

 

 

EdReporter digital marketing world coursera introCoursera: Marketing in a Digital World

The final course on our list is similar to the first edX course. This time it comes from the University of Illinois in a four-week, self-guided study called Marketing in a Digital World.

Like other courses on the list, this Coursera class makes ample use of case studies to describe effective marketing strategies.

Choosing just got easier: Try Coursera risk-free today!

The course is broken into four units:

  1. Intro to the latest tools and trends that are enabling customers to play a more active role in the products they use
  2. Digital tools for promoting products and persuading customers
  3. How products are distributed in a digital world
  4. The way the digital environment is affecting how products are priced

This course is forward thinking. It uses examples from companies like Threadless and Pepsi, and even the band Radiohead to discuss the ways in which our world is changing and how the online marketing industry can adapt to meet those changes.


Which online marketing class did you decide to take? Let us know in the comments!