HOWseGuest: Keeping it Fresh

HOWseGuestKeeping it Fresh
By Shannon Stull Carrus


It’s easy for in-housers to get swept up in the “same ‘ol” routine of working in-house; same brand, same colors, same logo, same projects … day-after-day (and sometimes year-after-year). It’s time to shake things up a bit!

Just as developers need to brush up on their coding and certifications ever so often, in-house designers and writers should also be learning new skills. Not only does this keep our minds challenged and fresh, but it also keeps us relevant. If you’ve been thinking of learning a new skill like SEO, WordPress, After Effects, or even the latest version of Creative Suite there are a number of resources available that will get you up and running in no time. Let’s explore them, shall we?
I know, I know. Lynda has been around forever. And for good reason! This site has comprehensive and clear video-based lessons on everything from photography to Excel. Did you also know that has made partnerships with various libraries like New York Public Library as well as Orange County (Orlando) libraries to offer their lessons for FREE? Yep, totally free. Instead of paying $375 a year, you can sit down at any of their library kiosks and knock yourself out with copious amounts of kick-ass knowledge. Check out your library system and see if Lynda has partnered with your local branch.


Can I just say how much I love Market Motive? I had a chance to take graduate-level SEO and Conversion Optimization classes that were developed by them, and have been advocates for their brand ever since. The main reason for this is that unlike many of my colleagues, I lack the discipline to sit down and teach myself something on my own. I need structure, assignments, feedback and, most of all, deadlines. Market Motive provides this more traditional classroom format online, and I find that the knowledge they share is incredibly valuable. In fact, I brought my own ad agency’s website from being completely off the radar to a first-page Google ranking, thanks to the SEO knowledge I learned from their course.


Udemy and Coursera
Udemy and Coursera both have similar structures in delivering their online course, though their subjects seem to vary from one another pretty significantly. I have not personally used these yet, although I have signed up for a PPC class on Udemny, so I’ll keep you updated on that in the future.

If you’d like to get involved faster than I, you can use Udemy to teach yourself practical skills like coding or kinetic typography for After Affects. Classes range in price from $29-$99, and there are also many coupon codes available online for these courses.

Coursera delivers courses developed by well-respected universities like the University of Virginia, Cal Tech and even some Ivy Leagues. Ranging in length from four weeks up to a full semester (12 weeks), Coursera provides a range of classes that can help enrich your knowledge on subjects ranging from robotics to data management, arts, design and more. Some courses are also part of their “signature track”, which provides certification upon successful completion. That way, you can brag to all of your friends that you took classes at Princeton (even if you graduated from the local community college).


Hubspot provides a wide range of white papers, articles, and webinars on tons of different internet marketing subjects. Recently, I downloaded one of their white papers on social media and found it easy to get through and very informative. Most of their content is totally free, and there really is a great wealth of info on this site regarding A/B testing and analytics, social media, and lead generation. I highly recommend this resource for those looking for a brush-up, but who don’t have time for full courses.


Where else have you guys been doing your learning lately? Do you have any sites, books, or services that you have found incredibly helpful in regards to brushing up on or expanding your skill sets? I’d love to hear about them!


Editor’s Note:
HOW Design University (HOW U) is an excellent resource for keeping your skills fresh as well as acquiring new skills. HOW U provides in-depth learning opportunities for busy creative professionals, on your own schedule and in a variety of formats. HOW U’s online learning workshops, independent study programs, Design Tutorials and On-Demand Video Tutorials explore topics that are key to your career growth and success.


HOW U provides professional-level continuing education to help you sharpen your skills, strengthen your client partnerships and improve your value to your employer. HOW U’s will give you the right tools to prepare you for today’s most popular graphic design and web design jobs (see our Job Growth Areas for Creatives Infographic).

Shannon Stull Carrus is a principal and Creative Director at WHOISCARRUS, a full-service Orlando advertising agency. She has experience on both agency and in-house teams in various roles, including; copywriting, art direction, and creative direction. In her spare time, she is working on a new time-tracking software for the staffing industry called ClikClok.