Coronavirus has brought the world to a stand-still, and predictions for when government and self-imposed quarantines will end are ambiguous at best. In other words, we don't know how long we're going to be unable to step out of our homes. To some, this may be a hindrance to their daily lives but for others, this is an opportunity - an opportunity to learn and improve themselves without the distraction of their daily lives. Here are 4 things (and more) that you can do to up skill, stay productive, keep yourself busy and entertained during the Coronavirus quarantine!
The global pandemic that we are witnessing has locked us up in our houses, and for good reason. While most of us will be tempted to indulge in pure entertainment through streaming platforms, this period of isolation can actually be turned into a massive opportunity to be highly productive. What's more, the intense boredom that we feel because of this abrupt halt in the proceedings of our daily lives can be overcome by being productive!
These are 4 things you can do to stay productive during the Coronavirus quarantine, and actually put on your CV!
- Learn a programming language - learn Python, R, and other easy to grasp programming languages to enhance your career!
- Learn a foreign language - looking to work abroad sometime in the future? Don't speak the language? Start learning today at home!
- Learn MS Excel (and Statistics) - it's one of the most used skills across all industries and functions. Learn it now and make your life easier!
- Start your own website/blog - everyone's at home, online traffic is surging. This is your opportunity to create a digital presence!
1. Learn A Programming Language
Learning a programming language sounds interesting, but how does it really help? Why should a someone who is inclined towards business even learn a programming language? Don't companies have employees for that? Why should an MBA learn how to code?
Mattan Griffel, a professor of entrepreneurship, leadership, and technology at Columbia Business School says, "While it’s sometimes argued that people in business-oriented roles don’t need to know technical skills since they can outsource programming to a development team, this is an outdated and dangerous way of thinking — akin to the CEO who still refuses to use a computer or email. How are you supposed to make effective business decisions if you don’t know what technology is available? Or work with more technical people if you can’t speak the same language as them? Former students have told me that Google, Facebook, and Amazon are all looking for MBAs with knowledge in SQL and Python."
Programming languages, as per this Harvard professor have helped MBA graduates learn how to write software, communicate better with development teams, and even identify talent and recruit better. Besides, companies want MBAs who can code, and as per the World Economic Forum, programming is a hard skill that will remain highly relevant in the future of the work we do.
Which Programming Language Should I Learn?
An important programming language that is preferred by data scientists, business analytics, and web developers across almost every industry is Python. It is one of the easiest programming languages to master, and has numerous applications in the world of business. In the age of companies working with large volumes of complex data sets, Python can become your tool to structure this data and help turn into a goldmine of insights - a skill top companies are constantly on the hunt for.
If you're keen on learning Python, Microsoft has introduced this certificate course on edX for Python beginners. You can also check out Python beginner courses on Datacamp and Codeacademy. If you're looking to begin right from scratch and get introduced to the world of computer science, sign up for the free CS50 course by Harvard Business School.
However, Python is not the only in-demand programming language out there. Other programming languages you can also look at are SQL and R.
2. Learn A Foreign Language
As a nation that speaks 19,500 languages, India is the paragon of multilingualism. If you're amongst the 10% of Indians who speak English, you're already at a major advantage, considering you speak the 3rd most spoken language in the world. So what sense does it make to invest time, and (most likely) money to learn a foreign language? How does it impact career opportunities that will come your way?
Fluency in English is a key skill to work in the UK and the US - economic powerhouses of the world. However, learning a foreign language can help you enter highly sought-after job markets of the world. According to Dr. Prashant Mishra, ex-Dean of IIM Calcutta, "MNC firms recruiting for overseas internship and employment do give due weight to foreign language proficiency in many cases." In fact, alumni of top Indian business schools highly recommend learning a foreign language for this very reason. “When businesses are expanding the world over, business students cannot remain savvy with one language alone in this borderless world,” says Dr. Shailendra Rai, professor at MDI Gurgaon.
Learning a language also helps your CV stand out, as for employers and business schools, knowing a second language is seen a sign of cognitive power, perseverance and a good education. You are viewed as a global asset, and are viewed to have highly valued employment attributes: analytical thinking, conceptualizing ability, working memory, and dexterity.
Which Foreign Language Should I Learn?
Learning a language is a serious time and (most likely) money investment. Once you are certain that you wish to pick up a new language, determine the degree of difficulty of the language you are willing to cope with, and the number of hours you'd have to invest to learn it. This chart should serve as a good guide. Then, determine if you'd like to self-study or enroll for online classroom learning if available in your city.
How Should I Learn A Foreign Language At Home?
There are various resources to learn any foreign language. One of the most popular is the Duolingo learning app which has free and premium services that can help you learn some elements of a language. However, it is recommended by learners to refer to guides or enroll for classroom learning to learn a language. French and Spanish are popular foreign languages that you may be interested in learning. Here's how you can self-study French, and this is how you can self-study Spanish.
3. Learn Everything About Microsoft Excel
Management Consulting, Investment Banking, Accounting, Sales & Marketing, Product Management, Category Management, Content Writing, Human Resource Management, Data Analysts - these are a fraction of all the jobs that require very strong MS Excel skills and without these skills, you're likely to find yourself out of your depth at the workplace. For employers, knowing MS Excel is such a basic necessity that it's perceived as absurd for candidates to include it in their CVs!
From basics like arithmetic operations and sorting data to more complex operations using pivot tables and conditional formatting, MS Excel can go a long way in making your life much easier at work.
How do I learn MS Excel?
To begin learning MS Excel, you can start with this free MS Excel learning course. You can also refer to this free MS Excel learning course. You can also reiterate and supplement your learnings with these tutorials provided by the Microsoft Excel Help Center. If you want to learn MS Excel through a book, you can do that too! You can buy the Excel Bible - one of the most revered books on MS Excel and its concepts.
Interested in mastering MS Excel? You know what'll knock your socks off? These 100 most useful MS Excel tips compiled by the Harvard Business Review. It's absolutely free of cost to download! Also check out these 10 useful Excel functions everyone should know.
If you work a lot with data and need to understand basic concepts of statistics, you can supplement your MS Excel learnings with this course by Stanford University, or this course by Khan Academy. You could also refer to this handout, and this handout, and this handout.
4. Start Your Own Website
Did you know, Netflix and YouTube have had to reduce their default video quality due to a massive surge in traffic? Websites such as Reddit and Facebook have also seen a major surge in traffic. This is logically consistent with the self-imposed and government imposed quarantines across the globe - more people are home with time to spare. Given that online traffic is surging, now is the time to create that website or blog that you always wanted!
Starting your own website can have a major impact on your understanding of the digital space. You'll find a unique opportunity to learn about SEO, working with online ads, analytics, crawling algorithms, social media tactics, important digital tools, and marketing strategies. You can create your own audience and serve them with fresh content created by you! You can even aid your digital marketing learning experience by completing free online certifications from Google and/or edX.
Here's What Else You Can Do To Stay Productive During The Coronavirus Quarantine
Up skilling and getting CV points is not the only way to spend your time wisely during the Coronavirus quarantine. Here is how you can keep yourself busy and entertained during these tough times:
Get Onto Reddit
Reddit is one of the world's largest online communities. It has over 100,000 active subreddits, and so much to offer on a wide spectrum of topics. If you're looking to cut through the clutter and discover knowledge one day at a time via Reddit, you can refer to the following subreddits:
Discover your own favourite subreddits - from a subreddit for woodworking with 1.9 million members to a subreddit for daily news with over 20 million members, you'll definitely find something you love and that'll keep you busy!
Get Smarter Through YouTube
Looking to become smarter and more aware through YouTube? Check out these channels:
- Vox (Also checkout the explainers section on their website, and their Netflix series)
- Minute Physics, Minute Earth
- Tedx Talks
- Sam O' Nella Academy
- It's Okay To Be Smart
Have some more recommendations? Mention them in the comments!
Make The Most of Wikipedia
There are two ways to use Wikipedia - one, where you know what you're looking for and do a deep dive into the subject and related topics. The other is that you let Wikipedia take you on a trip!
To access random pages on Wikipedia, you can click on this link or copy it and paste it in your URL search bar. Every time you click on this link, you'll be redirected to a random page on the website! If you want to be more specific about the type of random content you want to consume, you can also search for random pages within categories of your choice!
If you're feeling a bit silly, you can also refer to the massive compilation of unusual articles on Wikipedia!
Stay Ahead of The Curve With McKinsey Insights
McKinsey Insights are articles published by McKinsey & Company on the issues that matter most in business and management. Their reports cover topics such as innovation, business trends, and the future of work. If you're inclined towards entering the corporate world, or are already there in a management position, McKinsey's featured insights are a must-read. You can begin with this report on the implications of COVID-19 on businesses.
Similar to McKinsey Insights are Thought Leadership Publications by the Boston Consulting Group. If you're willing to pay Rs. 7,500, you can also get an annual subscription to the unparalleled Harvard Business Review - the one-stop shop for even top-level executives at multi-billion dollar companies!
Learn Everything About Anything With ThoughtCo.
ThoughCo. is one of the world's top-10 information sites, and has hundreds of writers who have produced over 40,000 articles and have advanced degrees in their subject areas. The platform has very detailed and captivating insights on topics like Science, Technology, Mathematics, History, Culture, Social Issues, and even Languages!
Jump from learning about Alexander The Great, to the Dunning-Kruger effect, to 10 interesting facts about plutonium, to the formation of ISIS - there's no limit to how much you can learn! If you like what you see, you can also subscribe to their daily newsletter for random but highly insightful reads.
Learn How To Do Your Taxes (Finally)
Do you resent your schooling system for failing to teach you India's tax system? Do you want to better understand the recently delivered budget speech? Refer to this amazing guide for beginners by ClearTax which will teach you all you need to know about India's tax system, how to calculate and pay your income tax, and other important related information!
You can also refer to their list of tax guides to better understand concepts like income tax slabs.
Get Some Quality Reading Done With Scribd
Scribd is an e-book and audiobook subscription service, with over 1 million books in its data base! Under normal circumstances, they charge a subscription fee of $9.00 a month, but they have recently opened up their entire library for free for a period of 30 days, enabling you to access an unlimited number of books and audiobooks! If you're a bibliophile or are looking to become one, this is your chance to read top quality titles for free!
Did you know - many organizations have opened up their otherwise paid resources to the general public for free? This is the complete and exhaustive compilation of these resources that you can use today!