As Septembers sets in and the weather gets colder, you may be returning to college or remembering the days you were. Whatever the case, this specific period of time has an effect, at least at Creative Tim we are going into full learning mode. If there was a subject you wanted to get more details about or a bit of research you wanted to do on the side, now is the time!
Study does not have to be pen and paper in an institution. You can choose to learn the way you want, and one of the great things you can benefit from is the enormous amount of resources you find online. While we encourage anything that goes for your personal and team development, we narrowed down our list to things most useful if you are design and startups oriented. We curated the following resources into courses we have personally followed or we are planning to. If we could go back to college and pick our curriculum, the first year would basically look like this.
While you may think some areas are too far-fetched, we suggest you try and see how you feel about the material. Education is a pretty eclectic field that integrates a lot of aspects quite seamlessly. You may benefit from a course such as ‘communication skills’ or ‘interaction design’ more than you would think.
We recommend you take the Human Computer Interaction Course from UC San Diego. It is available for free on Coursera and you can set your own pace.
What it is: The course starts with the basic concepts you will need if you want to create technological products that bring joy to people and not frustration. This is both a question of design, implementation and usability. Learn how to make mock-ups that you can easily share with your team, get feedback and integrate it. Offer prototypes and multiple alternatives for people to understand your vision.
Why you should take it: It will improve the first step you will take when you try to create something new: both the structure you invision and the way you communicate it visually.
Fundamentals of graphic design
What it is: Basically what the title says – the first steps to get you going into a design thinking pattern. It answers the bigger questions of design meaning and basic tools. Most importantly, it teaches you how to create meaningful products, having a structure behind it.
Why you should take it: Because if you don’t, you’ll run into this things anyway when you design. And you will probably try to get your answers in another way. Having the main points of the course will speed up your process and change the way you look at your future design work.
What it is: It is a guide for you to get your product out the door and into a market. It is the best first step you can do for your venture. It offers the basic information regarding value proposition, customers, channels, revenue and other parts that are essential to a startup.
Why you should take it: It teaches you the basic business skills you need to bring your idea from conception to market. Talking to customers, building a Business Model, prototyping your product and pitchingit all becomes easier after. If you already have a business idea, this is definetely the step you should take before actually going into development.
What it is: The course focuses on three core topics regarding customer loyalty: brading, which is key to keeping your customers, customer centricity, which is taught globally and go-to-market strategies that will help you understand the drivers that influence the customer.
Why you should take it: Because the products you are building will have a meaning attached to them when they are found by the right people. And getting to your specific market requires both knowing your brand and creating a strategy so that others can understand it. This is the place to start and learn how to do that.
What it is: A course which teaches you how your business can get bigger, without losing its culture or edge. It covers processes such as adding employees, locations or customers.
Why you should take it: To find out how to evolve your startup and work. If you get to a point where your startup is no longer a startup, you will need organizational design, scaling plan and a way to deal with the different complexity. Be prepared!
What it is: The course will help you communicate your thoughts clearly. It helps with the process of writing, practicing, and performing a clear and engaging speech.
Why you should take it: To increase your confidence while speaking in public, which is frightening at first for everyone. You will most likely have to present your work/project with other people at some point and you should leave the best impression possible. The image you make in front of an audience will reflect on the product, so be prepared for both impromptu, informative and persuasive speeches.
What it is: An exploration into the fields of communication, history, sociology and psychology with the purpose of teaching you how to better interact and understand your peers.
Why you should take it: Because as social beings, we need to interact with each other. More specific to the work field, you will need to network, a lot. And it will be easier for you to understand your team, your customers and everyone you will get in contact with. This is perhaps one of the essential skills you will need to gain: learn how to listen and talk with the people around you!
It may seem like a big curriculum, but every course that we recommended is certainly beneficial. Try and see how you feel about it. Let us know the results!