In today’s fast-paced, tech-driven workplaces, professional development is no longer optional, and research shows that lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative. For one thing, we’re living longer and working longer as a result. According to a report by the Foundation for Young Australians, a 15-year-old today can expect to have upwards of 17 jobs in five different industries over the course of their working life. With this in mind, workers can no longer rely solely on the skills gained in college for long-term career success.
Employers are increasingly looking for workers who are continuously mastering new skills, and since 2013, the demand for digital skills has increased by more than 200%, critical skills by more than 150% and creativity by more than 60%. On the down side, even though employers are placing more emphasis on 21st century skills, they also seem to be less willing to invest in training their workforces, and 2015 report found that the amount of training received by workers in Britain had almost halved between 1997 and 2009.
Because of this, many professionals have begun to take their learning into their own hands, and research shows that 73% of adults consider themselves lifelong learners and 93% of millennials are willing to spend their own money on further training. Fortunately, technology is making professional development more accessible to those willing to invest their own time in learning, and there are now countless affordable and even free resources available to working professionals looking to keep their learning going and stay up to date with trends in their industry.
So if you’re hoping to focus more on your professional development in the coming years, here are 25 apps that can help.
Although it’s quite likely that you already have a strong presence on LinkedIn, its suite of mobile apps can facilitate everything from job hunting and networking to learning new skills. For instance, the LinkedIn Job Search app makes it easier to find and apply for jobs; while the LinkedIn Learning app lets you stream or download a wide range of courses taught by industry experts.
Glassdoor is another job search site you’re probably already pretty familiar with, but downloading its mobile app can help you get the most out of it. For one thing, you’ll be able to search for jobs while on-the-go and save any interesting opportunities for later. The app can also keep you up-to-date with latest company reviews and salary reports.
Social networking plays a major role in our professional development these days, and each network has its own strengths. Since maintaining a professional presence on multiple social networks can become quite time-consuming, though, using Hootsuite’s mobile apps is a great way to manage multiple social profiles from one dashboard, schedule posts in advance and keep track of relevant conversations.
In addition to streaming music, you can use Spotify to find thousands of educational podcasts on a variety of topics from language learning to science and history. Some teachers have even begun using Spotify in the classroom to introduce students to different styles of music and set the mood.
If you’re hoping to put those hours of your commute to good use, the Lynda mobile app will give you on-the-go access to high quality course materials and allow you to stream videos on topics like design, photo editing, web development and business. Of course, you’ll have to pay for a Lynda.com subscription if you want to use the app, but you could always start with the 30 day free trial and see if it appeals to you.
TED Talks are great whether you’re looking to focus on your personal growth and career development or want to learn more about a specific topic like augmented reality or alternative energy. With the TED app, you’ll get access to the entire TED Talk library in both audio and video format, be able to download talks to listen to offline and get recommendations based on your interests.
7. Good Reads
If you’re hoping to start reading more, downloading the Good Reads app and joining the community could be just the inspiration you’ve been looking for. It will allow you to interact with other readers, find book reviews and review books you’ve read, create a yearly reading goal and share what you’re reading with your friends.
If networking and attending professional events is one of your goals this year then Lanyrd is an app you should definitely consider. It allows you to discover conferences near you or around the world and see what events you friends and colleagues are attending. The app also stores information such as the conference schedule and speaker directories so you can access it even when you’re offline.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of changing jobs, the Switch app could be useful. It’s been called the “Tinder for jobs” due to the way it allows job seekers to browse job openings and swipe right to like a job or left to pass on it. Hiring managers can do the same on their end, and if they like your professional profile and you’ve liked their job opening, you’ll be put in direct contact.
Whether you’re prepping for an upcoming interview or just want to keep your interview skills sharp, Interview Prep Questions is a great app. It uses flashcards to prepare you for the types of questions you might be asked during a job interview and can also come in handy when writing or updating your resume, as it helps you to think about what information employers might be interested in.
If you’re doing a lot of networking or tend to meet new people on a daily basis, remembering their name and other important information can be tricky. Namerick has come up with a solution for this problem by allowing you to quickly jot down a person’s name and make other notes such as where and when you met or what they do. It also creates alliterative mnemonics to help you remember names more easily.
If you’re thinking of changing jobs or even careers, finding a job and work environment that will match your personality and benefit your well being is important. Good&Co is an app that helps you find companies cultures that suit your strengths and personalities, and its personality quizzes might even give you new insight into your own personality and working style.
13. iTunes U
ITunesU is an excellent free educational resource for self-directed learning. Its library has something for just about anyone, whether you’re interested in learning about programming and app development, or just want to listen to interesting podcasts and audio books.
Good learning doesn’t necessarily have to be formal, and the Curious app is a great example of this. You start by telling Curious about your experience and interests and then choose to commit five, 15 or 20 minutes to learning each day. Based on your answers, the app then prepares a personalised learning program complete with learning goals and a daily brain workout.
Like Curious, Howcast is a great app for informal learning and picking up practical skills you can use in your everyday life. The app gives you access to a huge library of professionally-produced instructional videos that cover a wide range of topics from cooking and exercising to home maintenance and even skateboarding.
16. Big Think
Although it’s not an app per se, the Big Think is an excellent platform for learning more about science, technology and sociology. It features over 15,000 video lectures, podcasts and articles written by neuroscientists, thought leaders and economists. If you prefer a more structured style of learning, you can also check out Big Think Edge for actionable video lessons.
Unlike the majority of online learning platforms, Alison focuses more on practical training and aims to provide students with skills that can immediately be applied in the workplace. Topics range from IT to management skills and financial literacy, and students can choose to take a free aptitude test or pay for certification after completing the course.
18. Code Academy
Mobile development is one of the top skills employers will be hiring for in the next few years, so developing your programming skills can definitely benefit your career and help you be more competitive in the job market. Code Academy’s free app provides a basic introduction to coding and is perfect for those who are just getting started.
19. Appy Geek
Technology is where it’s at these days, so whether you’re new to tech or work in the industry and want to make sure you don’t miss any of the latest developments; Appy Geek will keep you in the loop. It’s a sleek app that brings together all the breaking tech news from the most trusted news sources and allows you to personalise content based on your interests.
20. Volunteer Match
Volunteering is a great way to make new connections, learn new skills and enhance your resume, so if you’re hoping to identify volunteer positions near you or even in another country, Volunteer Match is a great place to start. The app can connect you with nonprofits based on your interests and skills, how much time you can commit and where you live or want to volunteer.
Highbrow is a subscription service that delivers bite sized lessons to your inbox each day to help you make daily learning a habit. You can choose from topics like productivity, psychology, languages or science, and each course only requires a five minute commitment each day for ten days, so you can learn while enjoying your morning coffee or during your lunch break.
If you’re looking for a fun way to challenge yourself and keep your mind sharp, the Luminosity app is a good option. It consists of more than 50 cognitive games developed by scientists and game designers with the aim of challenging specific cognitive skills in a fun and engaging way.
If you want to learn about building a blog or even an app, Udacity’s free app can get you off to a good start. It lets you learn about everything from HTML basics to self-driving cars on-the-go and keeps things interesting with a mixture of lectures, quizzes and more.
Looking to brush up on your entertainment, sports, science and math or history trivia? Elementary Minute is a great little app for killing time while waiting for the bus or standing in line at the grocery store, but it can also help you learn new things and provide you with plenty of new material to make future small talk more interesting.
Vocabulary Builder will help you grow your vocabulary one day at a time by enabling you to quiz yourself on words at various difficulty levels, learn new words from experts and regularly practice new words. It includes audio pronunciation, definitions and example sentences, and lets you track your progress and unlock new words as you go along.
Of course, this list only scratches the surface when it comes to mobile apps that can help us advance in our careers and keep our professional development continuous. What are some of your own favourite apps for learning and professional development? Let us know in the comments.