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Working a 9-5 job is basically a supervillain training program. But until the wardens of the future abolish money in exchange for some form of forced communal living oriented around lottery-based blood sports, we're all stuck having to serve The Man. Still, it doesn't mean you have to work on the cheap. Having specialized skills allows you to command some pretty hefty fees. And who knows -- with the right fit, maybe you'll actually put down your newly constructed freeze ray and start enjoying your job. To become the most ruthless mercenary in our digital economy and start working from the couch (or Hawaii), take a look at the following skills and the courses that teach them to you:
Analytics isn't just the line graph that tells you how many of your friends looked at your meme without hitting the like button. No, it's actually a super critical component of pretty much every modern business. In fact, LinkedIn listed Analytics Manager as one of the most promising jobs in America, with 49 percent YoY growth. Meaning? Opportunities to contract or work remotely are finally out of the "lick these envelopes for untold riches" scam territory. The Ultimate Data & Analytics Bundle has a vast amount of content to teach you how to see through the vertically scrolling green numbers and spot the proverbial Lady in Red, using tools like the R programming language, MongoDB, and Hadoop clusters. Get this big data bundle here for $39.
Serious Excel Mastery
Some companies have entire floors devoted to data analysis. Other companies run off of a single Excel spreadsheet and a box of instant coffee. But regardless of where you work, every business needs someone who can coax dark pivot table formula magic out of number grids, especially in the finance department. "Financial Analyst" also made LinkedIn's top 20 promising careers, and with some major Excel skills, you could become a generously paid contractor. So putting "Excel" under the "technical skills" section finally means something besides "This resume is only 47 words long, and I need to pad it." Pick up this Excel boot camp for $35, 85 percent off the usual price.
College is now more expensive than ever. We know so because we're writing our student debt into our will and hoping our grandkids don't have to write it into theirs. This goes doubly if you're thinking about getting into a STEM field like computer science. Thankfully, computer science is also the only STEM field that consistently pays well and doesn't require lab time to learn (suck it, physics!). Learn the real deal and open doors to a variety of careers with a mixture of high- and low-level programming languages, databases, algorithms, data structures, and software architecture. Black leather trench coat is optional. Get this complete CS education for $39.
If you want to cut right to the chase and learn the most in-demand tech skills, then allow us to point you to web development. Getting armed with full-stack knowledge of web tech will prepare you to make everything from mobile-responsive e-commerce apps to the next Facebook if you so choose. Will they one day have a gripping drama made about you starring Jesse Eisenberg? It's hard to say (though we'd suggest that you demand Samuel L. Jackson). But at the very least, these skills will allow you to build you own site from scratch and be your own boss. Pick up this web development course for $14.
Those little rounded rectangles (graphic design nerds call them "squircles," because they collect face punches as a hobby) on your iPhone screen aren't gonna make themselves. Well actually, Apple's XCode development environment does do like 95 percent of the work, but you still have to learn some magic computer words in the Swift programming language. You'll build projects like a Pokemon Go app, Snapchat clone, and a soundboard for some Y2K-era prank phone calls so you'll have a portfolio to score yourself a freelance gig. Grab this iOS 10 app development bundle for $35.
White Hat Hacking
The term "hacker" can range from someone who infiltrates secret Area 51 alien databases to one who steals someone's Facebook password and changing their relationship status to "pudding." But knowing how to break into computer systems doesn't mean that you have to live a life of petty cybercrime. Tons of companies need skilled digital cat burglars to help them harden their own defenses, and they'll pay a pretty penny to do have it. Black leather trench coat is mandatory. Learn some 1337-ass network penetration techniques with this course package for $19.
Buying ad space in local newspapers and on bus stops is about as useful for getting new customers as standing on a street corner and yelling "Extra, extra!" Since everyone's eyeballs are glued to various screens all day long, it makes sense to venture into cyberspace with social media, email campaigns, search engine optimization, and copywriting. Whether you're preparing to launch your own business or get into the consulting biz, get this crash course in digital marketing for $19.
Photography & Photo Editing
Nowadays, everybody is an amateur photographer, which means the bar to become professional is that much higher. What we're saying is, no one is going to hang your blown-out Instas in MoMA, unless you can convince Richard Prince to paint them for you. To use #nofilter unironically and snag a freelance gig as a wedding or portrait photographer, you're going to have to learn about light, composition, post-production, and how to use a camera that isn't attached to a selfie stick. Fortunately for you, this course bundle teaches you all the tricks and just the right amount of theory. Pick up this photography masterclass for $20.
Design & Animation
People don't usually get jobs watching cartoons, but they sure as hell can get paid to make them! Sadly, it's a little more complex than in the halcyon days of Steamboat Willie and Edweard Muybridge's old-fangled zoopraxiscope. There's a lot more 3D rendering, Bezier curves, and motion tweening to deal with. Those concepts may sound like daunting mumbo-jumbo now, but it's just a matter of going through the process. Hell, even Harry Potter had to learn the terminology before casting spells. You could learn it all by getting an expensive degree from CalArts, or you could grab this design and animation course bundle for $29.
Since video is just taking a bunch of pictures really quickly, it should be pretty easy, right? Tell that to Scorsese. Making trashy YouTube poop might not require much more than a phone and an ego, but creating a shot that elicits actual emotion requires a host of camera techniques, directorial vision, and precise cutting. That and maybe a background track by Sarah McLachlan. This videography boot camp will teach you everything from flying drone cinematography to green screen editing and so much more. Get it here for $39.
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These stories remind us what unlimited wealth and power can do to a human being.