What Lynda.com online classes would you recommend?
February 18, 2017 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Through my public library system, I have free(!) unlimited access to Lynda.com. Seeking course recommendations to improve my creative, technical and/or business skills.

Some background on me: 30 year old woman, undergrad degree in Cultural Anthropology and MLIS in Archives and Preservation. Have interned with a major national archive/library and still currently volunteer (mostly as a grant writer) with a small local archive but have yet to break into a library or archives job. Spent the last decade working as a pre-litigation personal injury claim negotiator for an insurance company. No supervisory experience.

What I'm hoping to get out of Lynda.com: I often wish I'd focused my MLIS on digital libraries instead of Archives/Preservation. I think I'm more interested in designing and programming beautifully curated, digital audiovisual libraries where the public can stream a library's AV content. I was really into building websites as a young teen (meaning I used to know HTML, basic javascript and CSS) but that was like fifteen years ago and now I have no idea what you need to know to build websites or, better yet, build and maintain a digital library.

I'm also very interested in developing skills that would enable me to work in jobs involving research and data analysis. And I do like grant writing quite a bit - it seems to dovetail with my love of research, as well as my desire to feel like I'm directly involved in achieving an organization or project's vision.

And, in some ways, I just want to make myself more "generally marketable." I'm not sure where I read about it - perhaps it was a link on the blue? - but apparently CEO and management positions at many companies these days want you to be a jack of all trades. As a person with [well-controlled] ADHD who is also a scanner personality, I feel like I have the capacity and desire to develop a bouquet of skills that would make me marketable across the board. I'm very research obsessed and can be quite detail oriented, but am ultimately sort of a 'big picture' or 'visionary' type. It's a weird paradox that I inhabit. (And because I think it's important to note: I'm detail-oriented when it comes to qualitative data and information, not so much quantitative data - my math skills were never strong and while I'm willing to improve them, it doesn't come easily to me thanks to the ADHD. Ideas and concepts and planning and words are where I find my groove, whereas numbers are a bit more of a struggle.)

Anyway, enough snowflakes - but hopefully this gives some insight into what type of classes may be most useful to me on Lynda.com.

Please tell me about any Lynda.com classes you think I'd like, especially if you can vouch for it and tell me what you most liked/got out of the class. Also, if you just want to share a class you took on Lynda.com and loved, but don't necessarily think it relates to what I'm looking for, please feel free to tell me about it anyway!
posted by nightrecordings to Work & Money (5 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I took the Wordpress course on Lynda a few years ago and it helped me setup a website for a (library!) work-related project. The instructor was male, I believe with northern European accented English? He was great.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 3:27 PM on February 18, 2017

Sorry in advance, I know zero about Lynda.com. However, learning to be a whiz in Excel and Word (including all those hard features like automatic paragraph numbering) can only help you in any sort of career. I'm an attorney, which isn't super relevant to you other than that there is often some data analysis involved, but it's amazing how few attorneys know how to do much of anything in Word and especially Excel. Taking about a jillion Excel training classes at my first job was one of the best things I ever did.
posted by bluesky78987 at 4:03 PM on February 18, 2017

I took Intro to Databases and the basic SQL course and found they were worth my time.
posted by vunder at 5:47 PM on February 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

hi there nightrecordings. so, i'm just finishing up my mlis with a focus on digital asset management and digital services, and also have nine years working in libraries doing (among other things) new media management. all that mouthful to say that i think i understand where you're coming from, and that a lot of our interests overlap.

it's particularly poignant to me that you say you wish you had focused on digital libraries, because i think that archival practice is colliding with digital librarianship, and that these scopes of practice are going to further intersect. you probably have just the right foundational skill set for where you want to go. though i also hear you regarding the techy skills.

i will preface my enthusiasm for investigating lynda.com, and any other skills development, by saying that you likely do not need to become a programmer or bone fide 'coder' in order to succeed professionally. knowing enough to understand the systems and do a little hands on is probably super duper. that you "used to" know basic html/javascript/css is phenomenal; add that to your resume/cv. the likelihood is that you will not be hired as both an archivist and programmer. and apologies if i'm misreading or misinterpreting with my extra advice here, but i find a lot of library folks (and maybe the archivists do this as well?) tend to overemphasise what we can't do, rather than what we can do (and we do lots).

okay, so lynda.com... my own limited experience with it (because i'm too busy finishing up my own mlis for much other learning) is that you're going to have to go down a big rabbit hole to find the course that's right for you. i think i tried to start with something related to javascript, and was bumped through 5-6 videos by watching the first 30 seconds of each and hearing the presenter clarify prerequisite videos or skills (i.e., if you're watching this video, we assume you have done X, Y, Z. if not, watch video B). so i guess my advice is: go play around.

to your other point about enjoying research and data analysis, i would urge you to look into informational visualization (if you haven't already). while i'm not sure whether lynda.com offers, there are bound to be other resources-- from moocs to books. i'm reading now you see it, and would recommend it as a starting point (it's actually my course text). i'm also very qualitative-methodology oriented, but have found some really amazing youtube videos to explain quantitative methods to me, and have found my interest in adjacent outcomes (as in, i'd like to do X so i'm going to figure out wtf chi square is) have held me through the difficulties. since you have an mlis, i'll leave it as this and not going to bother googling any resources further for you ;)

anyhow, perhaps a little tangential to your specific question, but hope this is somewhat helpful. and best of luck!
posted by tamarack at 7:31 PM on February 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Can't speak specifically to your field, but I've used Lynda a ton.
Signing up for a trial to shortlist your top courses and then cancelling before you are charged might help narrow down your list.

-For anything software specific, make sure you're viewing the most recent course.
-I'm not sure if your library subscription includes the exercise files option. If it doesn't, don't worry, they're not essential.
-Be cogniscent of the Linked In integration. Some people like to take advantage, others don't. If you do want to display your course completions etc, you might want to put some thought into curating how your Lynda education will read on Linked In.
posted by OlivesAndTurkishCoffee at 8:35 PM on February 20, 2017

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