Learn Information Technology: The Best Courses and Resources
Though it wasn’t always this way, it’s now almost impossible to run a business without at least one computer. Major companies have thousands of devices connected via servers, as well as thousands of employees leaning on IT departments to keep everything in working order. By learning information technology, you too can help the cause.
Maintaining, managing, and upgrading these computers, servers, and software is a huge job. This has led to a growing demand for information technology personnel in a variety of industries and roles.
What Is Information Technology?
The term information technology (IT) refers to the building, maintenance, and implementation of computer hardware and software, as well as networks. When people think of IT, they usually envision a department within a workplace.
There are several disciplines within IT that involve very different duties depending on which type of technology the IT employee has been trained to maintain.
What Jobs Use Information Technology Skills?
Because IT covers such a broad range of tasks related to hardware and software, there are plenty of jobs that call for individuals with these skills.
- Software engineer. Software engineers develop and maintain the programs that we use every day. Even if your company does not create its own customized software, engineers will have enough basic IT knowledge to solve almost any software problem.
- Systems administrator. Systems administrators, also known as sysadmins, have one of the best jobs in tech. They are responsible for configuring and maintaining computer systems. Generally, sysadmins are in charge of servers and how they operate within a company’s ecosystem.
Sysadmins make sure that servers are running smoothly, and that they’re accessible to all employees who need to use them to complete their tasks.
- IT specialist. IT specialists have the broad task of implementing any technology that a business needs. They provide tech support to employees and ensure that all machines are working properly. They are also often called upon to troubleshoot computer problems, in addition to completing tasks such as maintaining data storage.
- Help desk analyst. Help desk analysts serve a similar role to IT specialists. However, instead of working on-site for the company they support, they usually work from a centralized location that multiple branches of a company will call in to for help. These analysts often work for either a hardware or software company, and are contracted to make sure the technology operates smoothly.
Steps to Learn Information Technology
The IT skills you need will vary depending on your workplace and job title. So, before you start studying, it’s good to get an idea ahead of time as to the specifics of what you’ll be learning while you study IT.
1. Figure Out Your Specialization
It will help if you decide which area of IT you want to specialize in before you begin learning. In the beginning, you will spend your time studying the basics, but there will be plenty of opportunities to grow down the line.
We’ve covered a few of the basic IT career paths above, but it is a good idea to do a little further investigation based on which one sounds interesting to you. Of course, you can always change your mind as you learn.
2. Take Courses
Many higher education institutions now offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in IT, but some of these skills can also be learned in online courses. You can find classes that will teach you how to maintain different operations systems, or cover the basics of Google Cloud architecture. Other courses can fill you in on how information systems can be used to ease workloads.
As you take training courses, you may come across an area that interests you. Or, you may find that you would prefer to work as an IT generalist. There is no right or wrong path to learning IT, so keep an open mind.
3. Get Certified
To work in IT, you’ll need to have professional certifications to prove that you meet the requirements of a given job. Whether you’re maintaining and updating computer networks or servers, or just monitoring a system’s security, a certification will show prospective employers that you’re a cut above the rest.
Over the course of acquiring a certificate, you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the technology that you’ll use at work, which means you’ll be better at your job.
The Best Courses to Learn Information Technology
Because this field is so broad, there are many topics you can study to hone your IT skills. This might include data science or software development. Below are a few of the courses that may interest you as you work toward becoming an IT professional.
This course from Udemy is an entry-level overview of IT. It’s a great starting point to prepare you for further IT learning. In the class, you’ll learn about the history of computing, and the future of IT, along with some basic software development and networking skills.
Though the course does not include much hands-on experience, it’s great for building a foundation and getting familiar with IT terminology.
This free Coursera offering from the University of Minnesota is more advanced than the previous course, but still very accessible to beginners. In it, you’ll learn about which enterprise systems will fit with a company’s needs, and how to build out IT infrastructure.
As previously mentioned, information systems is one of the many IT specializations, and this course is a good way to learn more about the field.
This Google course will get you started learning systems administration and the cloud infrastructure used in modern IT solutions. By the time you finish the course, you will be able to select the hardware, vendors, and services that will best meet an organization’s needs.
This entry-level course will bring you up to speed on the basics of working at an IT help desk. It will teach you about the most common hardware and software issues that people encounter, and how to help people overcome their struggles with technology. You’ll also establish a nice base of network security, DNS, and DHCP knowledge.
After you’ve learned more about the different branches of IT, it’s time to get a certificate that will make you a more sought-after employee. The Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect certificate has been ranked as the highest-paying certificate for IT professionals since its debut in 2017. This certificate lets people know that you’re capable of building and managing Google Cloud Platform architecture.
This certificate assures prospective employers that you have detailed knowledge of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. It’s the second-highest-earning IT certificate, and for good reason. AWS is the leading cloud platform, used by some of the world’s most prominent companies.
Once you’re skilled in AWS, you will be qualified to work in a vast range of IT jobs. And if this course doesn’t work for you, you can always enroll in an AWS bootcamp instead.
Why Learn Information Technology?
Information technology is a support industry that will always be in demand, and as companies continue to grow, so does the industry. Most modern organizations employ at least one person to make sure that their technology is running smoothly.
Many IT professionals have long, fulfilling careers helping employees with less tech expertise get their jobs done properly. IT jobs change quickly as new software tools and updates that improve productivity are unveiled. These tools and updates aren’t always intuitive, and most companies are willing to pay someone to take on the challenge of understanding the new technology.
So, if you love technology, you should learn IT and enjoy the job stability as you help others while gaining a deeper understanding of technology.