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Learning new skills online during the COVID-19 second lockdown

Convert the COVID-19 pandemic “lockdown” time to personal development time

Featured image: courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This article does not have any basis on paid advertisement, affiliation, or sponsorship by any of the organizations or people mentioned below. This article expresses my opinion based on my personal experience and views.

The second Coronavirus lockdown is happening! Despite the fact that COVID-19 remains a huge threat, we need to stay positive and active and treat this situation as an opportunity for personal development.

Courtesy of Queven from Pixabay

With this in mind, I did some online research and found some interesting resources that may help anyone convert the “lockdown” time to personal development time.

The edX® platform

Courtesy of edX®. EdXis a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX Inc. is a leading MOOC provider. The edX® platform is an online learning destination offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. EdX is the only leading MOOC provider that is both nonprofit and open source.

Source: edX Inc. EdX is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved

Courses are offered in a plethora of subjects such as Computer Science, Data Science, Engineering, Economics & Finance, Math, Business & Management, Law, Medicine, Humanities, Language, and many more. edX® offerings are: the MicroBachelors® program, the MicroMasters® program, Professional Certificate programs, XSeries programs, the Global Freshman Academy, and online Master’s degrees. Students can attend courses for free or obtain certificates for a small fee. Tuition for attending Master’s degrees is quite affordable.
MicroBachelors is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MicroMasters is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.
EdX is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Courtesy of Udacity

For those interested in acquiring unique, cutting edge tech skills form technology experts, Udacity is the only online learning platform that offers nanodegrees such as: Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Digital Marketing, Flying Car and Autonomous Flight Engineer, Intro to Self-Driving Cars, Machine Learning Engineer, and Robotics Software Engineer. Additionally, there are numerous other subjects available to study that lead to a nanodegree.

Courtesy of Udacity

Nanodegree courses are interactive, project based and paid (Udacity offers many free courses as well). Projects are real world projects, not toy examples. For instance, when I was attending the Digital Marketing program at Udacity, some modules included Facebook and Google advertising. From my experience working at the Digital Marketing department of an agency, the only difference between the projects at the agency and the projects at Udacity was the amount of money spent by each student on ads. Moreover, Udacity offers one to one mentor support, a personal career coach, and career services to every student. There are numerous examples of successful students that advanced or changed their career completely through Udacity.

Courtesy of Coursera

“Life-transforming learning experiences”

Moreover, Coursera which was founded back in 2012 by Stanford University‘s computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller is also a leading online learning platform, offering numerous courses from top Universities such as Stanford, Penn and many others and organizations such as Google and IBM, and a plethora of others, both free and paid (at an affordable low price). There are several subjects to choose from such as: Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Math and Logic, Business, Health, Arts & Humanities and many more. Potential students may also pursue (full paid) Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in fields such as Computer Science, Data Science and others. Of course there is the option to obtain a verified certificate for a relatively small fee. Since its beginning Coursera’s vision was to provide “life-transforming learning experiences to anyone, anywhere.”

Courtesy of Khan Academy

“You can learn anything”

Another amazing resource for free online learning is also Khan Academy. This resource has been quite popular to mathematics students since this is how it originally started back in 2008 by Sal Khan. Today it offers courses in math for school, high school, and college, science, arts & humanities, and reading & language arts. What is amazing about Khan Academy is that it is nonprofit and relies only on donations (I encourage anyone who finds it useful to donate and help this great organization continue existing and growing). Moreover, Khan Academy recently updated its website and now provides Distance learning resources for teachers, districts, and parents to keep everyone learning. I think during the COVID19 crisis this is a huge offering to the global community.

Courtesy of Real Python

If you are a Python lover like me, and you do not already know Real Python, you need to visit at least once this wonderful Pyhon resource. I am confident one visit is enough for you to make you stick with Real Python forever.

At Real Python you’ll learn all things Python from the ground up. Their tutorials, books, and video courses are created, curated, and vetted by a community of expert Pythonistas. With new content published weekly, custom Python learning paths, and interactive code challenges, you’ll always find something to boost your skills. Join 3,000,000+ monthly readers and take your Python skills to the next level at (Source: Real Python)

Please feel free to watch what Mr Dan Bader has to say at the official Real Python YouTube channel about Real Python’s mission in the video below.

Courtesy of Real Python

Products offered at Real Python

Professional developers and organizations around the world level up their programming skills with Real Python‘s online Python training resources: (Source: Real Python)

Real Python Membership

Members get unlimited access to Real Python‘s library of 1,600+ expert-made Python tutorials and video lessons. Weekly “Office Hours” virtual workshops and the Real Python Community Slack chat provide hands-on support. (Source: Real Python)

Real Python for Teams

Membership access for groups of learners through a single billing account. Team license management and progress analytics helps new developers get up to speed with Python and keeps them up-to-date with the latest best practices. (Source: Real Python)


All of Real Python‘s materials are created, curated, and vetted by a team of expert Pythonistas. At Real Python, developers get the trusted resources they need on their path to Python mastery. (Source: Real Python)

I am thrilled about Real Python not only for the high quality and vast amount of content it offers, but also because Real Python is one of the most friendly connections on social media. Please feel free to connect them or get in touch. Here are all Real Python social media channels: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, for any other info their email is: The Real Python team will respond in the most friendly manner.

Courtesy of freeCodeCamp

“Learn to code at home, build projects, earn certifications”

Since I started mentioning programming I could not leave behind the freeCodeCamp. This is one of the greatest resources to learn programming. Available subjects are: Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, Algorithms and Data Structures, Front End Libraries, Data Visualization, APIs and Microservices, Quality Assurance, Scientific Computing with Python, Data Analysis with Python, Information Security, and Machine Learning with Python. What makes them unique is that freeCodeCamp offers verified certifications in the aforementioned subjects that the user earns merely by practicing (coding). There are no lectures, each section is presented in small blocks, step by step with examples and exercises. The student starts from a very simple small lesson with an example. To proceed to the next lesson, the student has to submit the answer of the corresponding exercise. What is even more interesting is that there are several freeCodeCamp successful students that advanced or changed their career and achieved their dreams.

Courtesy of Pixabay from Pexels

Those were some available online resources that offer free learning. However, this is not an exaustive list. There are numerous online platforms that offer training in almost any skill one can imagine. We are fortunate enough amid the COVID-19 lockdown to have some time at our disposal. The Coronavirus pandemic soon will be over and the world will return to normality. So, this might be the only opportunity to upgrade your skills or acquire an entirely new skill set or even change your career completely. Therefore, stay safe and happy learning!

The most successful digital marketing campaign of all times!

“One small step for man, one giant step for energy drink marketing” – Felix Baumgartner

Featured image: courtesy of Arek Socha from Pixabay

Back in 1984, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz and Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya created the company Red Bull GmbH. The company’s product was inspired by the Thai energy drink Krating Daeng (Red Bull in English). The energy drink’s superpowers (high performance, increased power and reflex response time) became the focal point of the brand.

Red Bull Logo | Courtesy of Red Bull

During the following years Red Bull became something more than an energy drink, it became part of everyday life. The slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” was now synonymous of activities that required high performance. Red Bull became the protagonist sponsor for sports and extreme sports such as: football, Soapbox racing, rallycross, motocross, MTB, ice hockey, ice cross downhill, skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, freefall, air race, and F1 racing. The Red Bull logo was constantly accompanying the most exciting moments of extreme sports.

Tom Cruise test drives Red Bull Racing F1 car | Courtesy of Red Bull

Suddenly, on Sunday the 14th of October 2012 Red Bull Stratos mission dominated the media on planet earth. That day, millions of people across the globe, saw Felix Baumgartner at the edge of space, performing the greatest skydive in human history, reaching a speed of Mach 1.25, managing to surpass the speed of sound “without being an aircraft”, breaking three skydive records and many marketing records. Red Bull used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, +Google, Foursquare, YouTube, their own dedicated website, 280 digital partners and 80 television stations in 50 countries to broadcast Stratos live. According to AdAge, Red Bull made an investment of approximately $73 million in the U.S. on “measured media” (the brand was an early adopter of social media).

Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k’ | Courtesy of Red Bull

Engagement results were stunning! YouTube reported that “at peak” there were “more than 8 million concurrent livestreams” on Red Bull’s YouTube channel (broke the record of London Olympics livestreams by 500 thousand). SBJdaily reported the channel had 350 million views prior to the jump. Generally on social media, there were 22,000 pictures on Instagram, over 1 million likes on a Facebook photo, 820,000 pieces of positive content created, 400% increase over average length of consumer engagement, 50,000 distinct links shared, and 61,634,000 trusted impressions generated across social channels (per-validated-earned media).

Red Bull Stratos – World Record Freefall | Courtesy of Red Bull

The effect on sales was equally spectacular! According to the research firm IRI, sales rose up in the months immediately following Stratos by 7% to $1.6billion in the U.S. while the sales percentage for the year 2012 jumped to 17%. Worldwide, Red Bull sold 5.2billion cans in 2012, a 13% increase over the year prior.

Supersonic Freefall – Red Bull Stratos CGI | Courtesy of RedBull

Until Stratos mission, no other brand had managed to achieve such a high volume of audience engagement during a single event. The impact of this campaign not only changed the traditional content and marketing landscape but also contributed significantly to science. Red Bull redefined everything, including itself.

GoPro and Red Bull Announce Global Partnership | Courtesy of GoPro

Ever since Stratos Red Bull became the paradigm of engagement with audience. The exclusive collaboration with GoPro in 2016 boosted engagement to the point of Red Bull being in the 71st position of the Forbes list and a brand value of 9.9 billions in 2018.

I would like to thank Corine Blaire for the Case Study: Red Bull Stratos – Transmedia Marketing Through Storytelling. UCI Extension – Nov. 2013 which I used to collect information about the Stratos marketing campaign.

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