On countless occasions, you’ve likely said to yourself “I wish I knew how to do ______.” Then, of course, life got in the way and you put it off until you could find the time. Maybe you wanted to become fluent in a language, learn a new instrument, start performing your house repairs, or master a myriad of other skills. With the vast amount of knowledge online, you’re now your only excuse. Here are the top 10 most highly desired skills that you can teach yourself — and should.
#10 Repair Just About Anything
So how do you teach yourself? We’ve outlined loads of repairs you can learn on your own to get you started, but if you’re looking for something specific there is no shortage of how-to videos available on YouTube and VideoJug. There will be occasions when you do need to call a professional, as you’re not going to be a master repairman (or woman) instantly, but do remember that there is an opportunity when things break: you can learn how to fix them.
#9 Pick Up An Artistic Skill
Although it often won’t earn you the big bucks, artistic skills are highly desired because they provide you with the technical abilities required to create something beautiful. You’re going to have to find your own inspiration and subject matter, but the skill you’ll need is really just a matter of technical aptitude and practice.
Picking up a book of anatomy and drawing different bones and muscles will teach you how to draw people. Drawing grids over photographs can show you basic perspective. Obviously it isn’t as simple as that, but focusing on learning to draw one simple thing, like the petals of a flower or the human hand, will help you learn how it works and get in a reasonable amount of practice. When you’re ready to move on from the basics and start illustrating on your computer, check out our digital painting lessons. For those of you interested in photography, we have lessons for you, too.
Whatever you’re looking to learn, just set aside 15-30 minutes every day to practice a very small part of that skill. It’ll take a while to teach yourself how to draw, paint, take better photos, make hamburger sculptures out of clay, or whatever it is you want to do, but breaking the daunting task into pieces and practicing each part slowly will do the trick. Plus, it’s a really nice way to unwind at the end of the day.
# 8 Learn To Defend Yourself
notoutlined several moves
#7 Improve Your Design Skills (Or At Least Acquire A Sense of Style)
learn the basics of type and layout
These are skills you can employ in your everyday work to make it look a lot more attractive. This may seem like a nearly-useless skill — spreadsheets aren’t getting entered in any beauty contests — but when something looks good it can have a greater impact. That’s always a plus in your work. If you want to take things a bit further, you can bump those skills up a notch and apply them to website design in Photoshop. Your sense of style is even a useful thing when choosing a great wallpaper and creating a clean and organised desktop on your computer. If your home is boring, just follow these guidelines for awesome interior design.
You don’t have to be a pro, but learning the basics of design can make your life a lot brighter.
#6 Pick Up Just About Any Subject You Missed At Uni
rounded up every great source of online education
#5 Build And Hack Electronic Hardware
what you can hackLearning to build a computerunderstanding the basics of arduinoreally neat stuff
One of the best ways to get started is to pick a project and learn by doing. If you’re not sure where to start, our DIY tag page can offer a few ideas.
#4 Play A (New) Instrument
The internet can also teach you piano, drums, and even orchestral instruments like the flute and violin. Just like with repair skills, you can find a lot of how-to videos on both YouTube and VideoJug.
In addition to the instrument, you’re also going to want to learn a little music theory. Ricci Adams’ musictheory.net offers a bunch of free lessons to get you started. When you’re starting to get good, you can put together a home recording studio on the cheap to start capturing your talent and sharing it with others.
#3 Cook Like A Pro
many of which we’ve covered
First, these tips and tricks for budding foodies will make your learning process easier. Second, follow this station-by-station kitchen guide to stay organised and efficient when cooking. Finally, these must-know recipes will help you round out your arsenal of cooking knowledge. For more, we like recipe and how-to sites Epicurious and How2Heroes. And, of course, you can always check our how to and kitchen tag pages for more great tips.
#2 Become Fluent In A New Language
we asked you which skills you really wanted to learnthis clever technique
#1 Make A Website, Create An App, Or Just Learn To Code
the basics of programmingmaking a website
Both sets include further resources, but there are plenty of others that we’ve learned about or have cropped up since. For starters, commenter mistermocha suggests using the “learn ___ the hard way” series. For example, if you wanted to learn Python, you could visit learnpythonthehardway.org. If you just fill in the blank with the language you want to learn and put that into a web search, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for. (You can also find most of the series here.)
If you prefer more interactive lessons, you’ll want to check out one of our favorites: Code Academy. I learned by subscribing to online learning site Lynda.com (and through a few basic classes back at uni), which is still excellent, but I’d probably have gone with Code Academy at this point since it’s in the free category. Regardless of how you decide to learn, programming skills are becoming more and more useful as time goes on. Code is not as complicated as you think, so go get started!
This article has been updated and modified.