IBM has a free online learning platform called SkillsBuild for teenage students who are interested in tech careers

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As tech skills such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain, data science, cybersecurity, and Cloud computing continue to grow in demand and popularity, students can benefit from gaining them earlier in life. 

To help expand accessibility, IBM started SkillsBuild, an online learning platform that offers free online courses designed for students between 13-19 and adult learners over 18. 

Beyond technical skills, the platform’s course catalog also offers broader professional skills such as design thinking, job readiness, and even mindfulness, as well as a recently launched collaboration with Adobe to teach students visual design skills.

Some of the modules from IBM and Adobe’s Basic Principles of Design course.

IBM SkillsBuild

The course materials are comprised of different sections that students can explore at their own pace. They contain a mix of short videos (with written transcripts available), images, explanations, and activities. 

IBM SkillsBuild

While there are projects, there are no grades or instructors to look over your work — it’s all for you to put into practice what you learned in the videos and summaries. When a student is done with a section, they can tick off a box at the bottom of the page.

IBM SkillsBuild

Students who complete a learning pathway earn digital badges, which they can add to their resume, college applications, or LinkedIn profile. Some of the learning pathways are specifically for educators or community leaders, and some offer language options such as Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Turkish.

For students who are over 18, there are also learning pathways specifically geared towards specific, in-demand career titles, such as a data analyst or project manager.

According to IBM, the company takes a “relaxed, inclusive approach to who uses the platform,” meaning you don’t need to currently be enrolled in high school or college to take these free courses — anyone can sign up, take the courses, and earn badges.

You can learn more about IBM’s SkillsBuild programs here, and check out the full course catalog here.

Julia is the education and personal development editor on the Insider Reviews team. Since October 2020, she’s written about a popular Harvard persuasive writing course, a free UPenn course that explains the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, and a bestselling self-help book seen all over Twitter. She’s also organized and edited a series on how to get unstuck during the pandemic as well as what to do when you get rejected from grad, medical, or law school.
Through her work as a sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan and BuzzFeed, as well as a freelance lifestyle reporter, Julia learned that she loves interviewing experts and putting together stories that inspire people to make small yet effective changes in their lives. Julia is passionate about accessible, affordable education and is living proof that e-learning has the potential to make career transitions more attainable: During quarantine, she completed a five-month Coursera MasterTrack certificate program in Instructional Design from the University of Illinois while starting her role at Insider.
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