The Best Courses for Freelancers Looking to Upskill

The Best Courses for Freelancers Looking to Upskill

Stay competitive and attract clients by learning in-demand skills and adding them to your profile. Choose from free and paid courses for freelancers like you looking to stand out by upskilling. Learning platforms help you develop the skills that clients on Upwork are looking for right now. Don’t forget to add these new skills to your profile! Keeping your profile active with the latest skills that clients are looking for is how to start receiving more invites from clients and winning proposals. These are some of the best freelancer courses to upskill your profile so that you can win more proposals.

Best freelancer learning platforms for upskilling:

Creating a great profile and updating it regularly with in-demand skills is helpful for getting noticed by clients. As you learn a new skill, be sure to add it to your profile. Many of these learning platforms have projects at the end of a course that you can use as work samples and add to your portfolio. Once your profile is ready, follow these tips to start winning proposals during interviews.



Skillshare is an online learning platform with over 20,000 video classes to choose from. There are four main class categories: creative, business, technology, and lifestyle. All classes are video-based and include a project at the end, which is perfect for upskilling your freelancer profile by adding to your portfolio.

Search popular courses and read reviews to find the ones that align best with your goals. Follow a learning path to master a skill. You can even learn on the go with the Skillshare app. If you have skills to offer others, you can become a teacher on Skillshare and earn from conducting training.

Popular courses for freelancers:

Pricing: Skillshare has free videos available. Premium memberships cost around $32 per month or $168 annually ($14 per month). Team memberships are also available.



Courses on Coursera are taught only by universities and top companies, with more than 275 currently participating. You can complete some courses in a day or take a series of classes called specializations that you will work on over months at your own pace.

To upskill as a freelancer, you can receive professional certificates from IBM, Google, Meta, Intuit, and more. If a subject interests you, take a course from a top university, like the Science of Well-being from Yale. Learning how to be productive and stay healthy while freelancing may not need to go on your portfolio, but it can help you be more successful as an independent professional.

MasterTrack® certificates let you take portions of master's programs from top-rated universities, broken down into smaller modules. If the program accepts you later on, these courses may count as credit toward the degree. You can earn an online bachelor's or master's degree through the Coursera platform.

Popular certifications for freelancers:

Pricing: You can take courses for free on Coursera, but you will need to pay to receive a certificate. Memberships are $59 per month for Coursera Plus, and you can earn unlimited certificates.



Udemy is an online learning platform for in-demand skills, with a combination of free and paid courses. Skilled practitioners can become teachers on Udemy. The model is pay-per-course, with over 204,000 classes available. Udemy's courses tend to be shorter, faster-paced, and more specific to a particular skill set, like a program or software. You can also take classes on the mobile app.

The Udemy platform features a variety of categories, including development, business, finance and accounting, IT and software, design, and marketing. Udemy has a great selection of courses for more technical topics like coding and software. At the end of a paid course, you receive a certification of completion.

Popular courses for freelancers:

Pricing: Udemy offers thousands of free classes. Paid Udemy courses can cost anywhere

from $11.99 to $199 per course.

Upwork Academy

Upwork Academy

Freelancers looking to upskill on Upwork can find on-demand courses through Upwork Academy to learn how to be more successful as independent professionals. Upwork Academy courses can help you optimize your Upwork portfolio and submit winning proposals.

Learning Paths take you step by step, guiding you through the Upwork process and how to grow as an independent professional. If you've been invited to complete an Upwork Skills Certification, you can do it through the Upwork Academy and receive a badge for your profile.

You can get extra guidance on how to build your freelance career with Upwork Academy Coaching. No matter where you are in your Upwork journey, the coaching team is ready to help you grow.

Popular courses for freelancers:

Pricing: Upwork Academy courses, learning paths, and group coaching sessions are free.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning has over 15,000 business, creative, and technology courses. Freelancers looking to grow their skills in fields like graphic design and software development can follow specific learning paths. Subject matter experts who excel in their field can apply to become LinkedIn Learning instructors. Compared to other platforms, the courses on LinkedIn Learning focus more on soft and professional skills for upskilling as a freelancer compared to highly technical hard skills.

LinkedIn Learning has some free courses, but you need a paid subscription to receive a certification of completion. You pay monthly and gain access to all classes. Download courses on the app and use them offline. Once you start learning, you'll receive personalized course recommendations based on your profile and interests.

Popular courses for freelancers:

Popular learning paths:

Pricing: LinkedIn Learning costs $39.99 per month ($19.99 when billed annually). All LinkedIn Premium subscriptions include LinkedIn Learning.



Udacity offers job-ready skills for careers in tech. Freelancers can upskill by taking individual courses or enrolling in a program to earn a certificate. Compared to other learning platforms, Udacity has more technical courses with subjects like artificial intelligence or autonomous systems.

Udacity offers Nanodegrees® in specific skill sets. These certificate programs are self-paced but typically require five to 10 hours of commitment per week and take a couple of months to complete. You could get a Nanodegree in subjects like business analytics or SQL. They are a pay-as-you-go service, so the cost depends on how long it takes you to finish the course.

Instructors on Udacity are leaders at Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies. Udacity breaks its programs and courses into different schools based on the subject material, ranging from cybersecurity to business.

Popular Udacity Nanodegrees:

Popular free Udacity courses for freelancers:

Pricing: Udacity has free courses, but most Nanodegree programs start at $399 per month, and some have the option to pay upfront to save 15%. You can also apply for Udacity scholarships.



Codeacademy is an online learning platform with a wide variety of courses in all major programming and developing languages for freelancers looking to upskill in coding. The platform expanded and offers web design, cybersecurity, and math courses.

Beginners can learn an entirely new skill with a skill path or master multiple skills with a career path. When you complete a path or course and have a paid pro account, you receive a certificate of completion. Codeacademy also has an app so you can learn on the go.

Typically only one course per skill is offered through Codeacademy. The in-house platform instructors, rather than guest instructors, create all courses.  

Coding languages:

  • HTML & CSS
  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • SQL
  • Bash/Shell
  • Ruby
  • C++
  • R
  • C#
  • PHP
  • Go
  • Swift
  • Kotlin

Most popular courses for freelancers:

Most popular career paths:

Most popular skill paths:

Pricing: You can access basic courses for free; pay $29.99 monthly ($14.99 when billed yearly) for pro courses and skill paths; or pay $39.99 monthly ($19.99 when billed annually) to access career paths and interview prep.



EdX is a non-profit e-learning platform that offers free courses from top universities, non-profits, and NGOs worldwide. You can take classes from MIT or Harvard for free. Choose from more than 3,000 courses in subjects ranging from computer science to food and nutrition.

On EdX, you can take a single course from a top university on a skill that you want to learn more about or enroll in a bootcamp and master the skill. You can audit a course or pay to enroll and get a certificate at the end and have access to additional perks like graded homework.

Popular professional certificates:

Pricing: You can audit open classes for free, but to receive a certificate and complete assignments, you will need to pay a fee ranging from $50 to $300, depending on the course.

Get freelance work on Upwork’s Talent Marketplace

Whether you're new to Upwork or a seasoned freelancer looking to upskill, learning platforms can help expand your skill set and the services you offer. Companies of all different sizes, from the Fortune 500 to startups, turn to Upwork as the place to find highly-talented independent professionals with the perfect skill set for their next project. These clients post over 10,000 jobs per day on the Talent Marketplace. All you have to do is create a profile and start submitting proposals for jobs. Win more jobs by learning a brand new skill or becoming an expert in a skill you've worked on for a while. Upskilling as a freelancer is how you stay competitive, attract new clients, and demonstrate expertise in your field.

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation. Prices are current at the time of writing and may change over time based on each service’s offerings.

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Author Spotlight

The Best Courses for Freelancers Looking to Upskill
Cassie Moorhead
Content Writer

Cassie is a storyteller and content creator with over eight years of experience helping brands communicate to their customers through different channels. She enjoys finding new coffee shops to work from and spending time in nature with her dog, Sweeney.

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