The Astounding Google Digital Garage: Learning Digital Skills Online

Google Digital Garage entry point
Courtesy Google

Google started the Digital Garage in 2015 as a non-profit organisation aimed at helping people tool up in a rapidly changing digital world.

The Google Digital Garage offers over 100 online courses on various subjects, categorised as Data and Technology, Digital Marketing or Career Development. All the courses are free, and some of them offer certification to show to a potential employer. Or see some alternatives, discussed below.

The content is made available to you after you sign up (and you don’t have to suffer endless marketing emails) and you are taken to a dashboard where you can filter the courses according to your preferences and find what you are looking for.

Digital Marketing in Google Digital Garage

Courtesy Google

There are 32 courses in the Digital Marketing section, headed up by their flagship course Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, which is accredited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University. This course has 26 modules and accreditation is achieved by passing a 40-question exam at the end.

Courtesy Google

Each module is delivered by a set of embedded videos that you can take at your own pace, followed by a quiz at the end.

Other courses cover how you can make yourself visible online, expanding your business to other countries and marketing analytics.

Career Development in Google Digital Garage

Courtesy Google

This section is for you if you are between jobs, trying to expand your role, or looking to balance yourself. There are 67 courses, covering topics such as Build confidence with self-promotion, Effective networking and The Science of Well-Being. Google has worked alongside a number of organisations to produce the content – for instance the The Science of Well-Being course was created by Yale University.

Data in Google Digital Garage

This section is where it gets technical, and you can learn the nitty-gritty of how a site is put together. There are 61 courses in this section, covering all sorts of aspects of digital technology, including how to Improve your online business security, Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure and Building AI. Some courses can be done in an hour, so can be fitted into a working day. Others need more commitment, and take 18 hours or more, but all of them are broken down into modules, so can be done at your own pace. And because they are delivered in small videos, they can be watched several times if the concepts can’t be absorbed the first time through.

Courtesy Google

Digital Garage’s Webinars

Courtesy Google

Google also presents learning opportunities through webinars. These are also free of charge, and students can either attend live or register to take part in what is on the schedule for the future. The dashboard page allows users to select webinars by time, place, event type and who it is aimed at, namely career growth, jobseeker, small and medium businesses and students. They cover quite a range of topics, for instance there’s one on Writing for Social Media on 1st September that might be interesting. Then there is a Digital Skills course that is an in person course, being held at a number of locations, including Leeds, Darlington and Ellesmere Port.

Alternatives to the Digital Garage

As comprehensive as it is, it is always worth looking beyond Google’s offering for learning digital skills. The internet has given rise to unprecedented opportunities for remote learning, and there is a vast range of resources out there, whether you are looking to learn to crochet or delve into advanced mathematics. Here are a few related to digital marketing, career building and websites.


HubSpot claims to offer everything you need to know about the most sought-after business skills. Its courses are free, though you have to sign up to the HubSpot Academy to reach them. They are also based on bite-sized videos, mainly of people talking, but they are professionally presented and produced. They have courses on SEO, business analytics, powering your website with CMS hub enterprise, and e-commerce marketing, among many others.

As an example, their Instagram Training Course: Learn How to Use Instagram for Marketing opens by discussing Instagram engagement and how it can impact your business, who you are targeting and what you want them to buy. Authoritative stats about Instagram users are presented and elements of a strategy outlined. The course has 9 units, which will take about 3½ hours.


CareerFoundry offers a free short digital marketing course, consisting of 5 daily lessons of 15 minutes each. These cover an introduction to digital marketing, what it really is, and which channel is most important to you. You can then discover techniques to determine your target group, messaging, and imagery and learn the most common metrics marketers use to set goals and measure success. You can then try to produce your first creative for your marketing campaign, and optionally, take the final test.

You have to sign up for this, and they are trying to get customers for longer courses, but this will give you a sound introduction.

CareerFoundry offer a range of courses for people looking to change career in the digital world, over a range of subjects such as UX design, data analytics and web design. Their introductory courses are free, but their main ones require a serious commitment of time and money.


Coursera provides a massive range of online learning, in line with its vision of

“a world where anyone, anywhere has the power to transform their life through learning”.


They started in 2012 and now partner with over 275 universities and companies to provide flexible, affordable online learning worldwide. As usual you have to create an account, but no money is required. The range of material is actually a bit daunting at first. Do I want to dabble in Indigenous Canada or The Science of Well-Being? But narrowing the search down to digital marketing brings up an impressive array of options, including Small Business Marketing Using Facebook, Increase Engagement to your Instagram Business Profile and Google Ads for Beginners.

This is just a taster of the goodies that can be found in Google’s Digital Garage, and behind the doors of others’. I hope this encourages you to go out there and find resources, either in the offerings described above or in ones you discover yourself, that help you maximise your potential and achieve your goals.

If these options seem a little too daunting to begin with, or you have a particular interest in learning HTML and CSS, why not read more about the free beginner-friendly HTML and CSS course here?