Learn New Skills

We are highlighting all the wonderful things you can do with the 2 ½ hours you save each week. Here’s a fun one - learn a new skill. We did some research and dug into what learning new skills can do for your career, your future, and your overall college experience.


When curiosities turn into a career

Written by John Harlan, Director of My Utilities

Although I was always interested in programming, I didn’t start looking into it until the year I graduated from college. It took a while to get over the initial “hump” of learning a new skill, but once I did, programming started becoming increasingly more engaging. I was captivated by its potential. I was able to understand how the apps I used every day actually worked; how the data was requested and served. With this understanding, I felt so empowered to build apps that could really make a difference. With this growing skill and newfound passion, I started a consulting company with my partner building mobile and web apps for companies. It�s been great thinking through complex problems and ideas with our clients and building products that either solve a major issue or enable them to fully pursue their concept. I wished I had started sooner!


What’s next? The freelance economy

We've noticed a trend in the economy, and it’s due to people getting their hands dirty and learning new skills. With the low cost of learning skills, it’s never been easier to gain knowledge and experience. In some cases, like John’s, we’ve seen people turn their hard work and desire to learn new skills into a job and career. This got us digging, and here�s what we found.

-By 2020, a separate study estimates that more than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be independent workers�freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees. (FastCompany)

-There are now more ways to work remotely than ever before, from devices, apps, and other personal technology that lets us communicate with one another from virtually everywhere. (FastCompany)

-One of the biggest struggles of independent workers is securing enough work for themselves - there�s now a growing rate of companies like Tispr, Contently, and HourlyNerd whose sole platform is designed to match companies with talented people. (FastCompany/Forbes)

-The more diverse your skill set, the more opportunities come your way. (Forbes)

-The demand for skills is changing more rapidly than ever, resulting in a growing need for continuous education and re-education. No one is a �specialist for life� in any one thing any longer. You always have to be ready to make a switch. (UpWork)

So, whether you move towards a freelancing job or an office job, having time to develop skills is crucial. Both office and freelancing jobs require skills; you may just use those them differently. We are not saying that you have to be part of the �gig-economy� to have the career you want. We are saying is that learning new skills with your saved time could help lay a foundation for a future career, which is exciting!

If learning a new skill to you looks more like building a surfboard (Yeah...Cal Poly is cool), de-stressing while learning an instrument, or creating pottery, we�re all-in for that too! We put a list together of opportunities to learn new skills at some of our schools across the country. We also listed a few ways to learn right from your laptop computer - enjoy!


Get your hands dirty

Surfboard Shaping

Learn more >

Pottery Classes

Learn More >

Coding Classes

Learn More >


Ice Skating

Learn more >


Learn more >


Learn more >


Code Academy

Learn more >


Learn more >

Lots more

Learn more >

Freelance References:
Fast Company Article | Forbes Article | UpWork Article