A guide to picking the best IT courses online

A guide to picking the best IT courses online

One of the most important things that you need to do is apprise yourself of all the recent happenings to stay competitive in today’s world, especially if you are in the field of information technology (IT). This is because of the simple fact that IT has been undergoing constant changes and if you don’t keep yourself updated, then you will become stagnant in your field. Given that the world has undergone some major changes over the past year, it is important to upskill yourself. A good place to start? IT courses that can give you the skills to upgrade yourself.

They come in handy when you’re wanting to boost your career and also keep you relevant in your industry. Even with a heavy work schedule, you can aim to dedicate a few hours a day or week to studying these IT courses.

When you equip yourself with these IT courses and implement them at work, you demonstrate your ambition to grow in the field. This can also help you move further up the ladder at work. It is crucial to constantly keep yourself upgraded, because only then will you be staying relevant. This means not stopping just because you have gone up a few steps at work.

Why upgrade?
You might be wondering what it means to upgrade your skills when you have found yourself in a comfortable position at work. Perhaps what you need to ask yourself is how long you will have the safety of your current job. If there is an employee who is better equipped, would they not surpass you if you miss out on a skill upgrade? Organizations like their employees to stay relevant, and this is all the more expected of those in IT. When you start specializing in a field, you end up advancing in it, which can positively impact your work. This also means that you upgrade strategically instead of upping your skills for the sake of it. In order to do this, it is important to understand what consistent development is and which courses actually add value to your particular specialization.

Identify where the money is

This is one of the most important factors that you need to consider before you set off to study an IT course. Analyzing the job market trends and knowing what your organization sees as essential skill sets is a crucial part of the process. When you start going through the information available, you will get valuable insights into the courses that are actually making a mark in the field, versus those that are simply hyped and don’t add any value to your résumé. Some of the certifications that are quite prevalent are project management and cloud-based management courses. The question, however, is whether these IT courses are relevant to you. When you identify these gaps and choose wisely, you will acquire actual knowledge that can not only assist you in the workplace, but also enable career growth.

Where to start

There is a range of online platforms that you can rely on to study an IT course. Most online courses let you access and refer to the course content/study material at your convenience, and get your certificate without hassle. This is the best way to save yourself the trouble of having to find a physical class. Some of the top websites that offer IT courses with certifications are as follows:

  • Coursera
    This is a well-known online learning platform that has more than 3,500 courses offered in affiliation with leading universities from around the world. The platform offers a range of both accredited and non-accredited courses in the field of IT. You can get the full college accreditation only if you complete the entire course. However, there are other IT courses that grant you access to industry credentials, thereby benefiting you in your career. You can look at the university or organization offering the course and read up on the details about its structure to make sure that you are signing up for a relevant course. Note that there is a charge that you need to pay to secure the certification of any course that you choose.
  • LinkedIn Learning
    LinkedIn Learning was previously known as Lynda.com. This portal allows on-the-job learning, and there are close to 16,000 courses listed on the website, which are offered by prominent professionals. The professional network within LinkedIn plays an important role in bringing together course recommendations presented on the page. These courses are easily accessible on both laptops and smartphones. Be it mere basics or advanced learning, make sure that you go through all the details to understand which course is of significance to you.
  • Udemy
    Udemy has been in existence for quite some time now. The website claims to have close to 130,000 courses across a large range of subjects, including IT. One of the main reasons why this website is popular is that it offers several discounts on a range of courses. However, the professionals/institutes listed on the website are uncredited and self-claimed, and there is no assurance in terms of the quality of the content offered. For this reason, you need to vet the course that you sign up for and make sure that you pick the right professional.
  • edX
    edX is a learning platform that was created by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It allows universities to be able to create and share on-demand learning courses for all types of individuals—from high schoolers to professionals. There are over 20 million users on this site, which offers a wide variety of courses from different universities and organizations, including Harvard, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM. There are many professional IT courses with certifications that are available on this site, two of which are offered by the University of Washington and Columbia University.

To begin with, you must explore your options and read up on courses that are of high value today. For example, you can start with a trial period to check whether the course aligns with your academic interest(s) and pay for the classes once you are comfortable with the system. It takes a lot more commitment to be able to stick to an online self-study course—if anything, it can be all the more demanding, as you need to inculcate self-discipline and make sure that you complete the course you signed up for. Here is a list of three IT courses that are doing quite well in the market currently:

Google Professional Cloud Architect Certification

This certification was launched in 2017 by Google and has been on the list of top IT courses ever since. It allows IT professionals to get certified on the Google Cloud platform as Cloud architects. When you complete the course, you will be equipped to design, develop, and learn effective management of the architecture behind Google Cloud.

The idea of getting certified in this IT spectrum is to gain a deeper understanding of the possible solutions that can come into play for a wide variety of Cloud-related scenarios. Today, there is a major demand for those equipped with Cloud skills—specifically those who have a deep understanding of Google’s tools and can effectively contain and generate solutions that can solve potentially complex problems. On average, an IT professional who is also a Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect can earn around $175,000 on average per annum.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

This IT certification by Amazon Web Services (AWS) has undergone major changes over time. It is aimed at testing your expertise towards specifically designing AWS systems. If you have experience working with AWS systems or have previously been involved in projects that are used to build distributed systems on a large scale, then this is the course that will help you up your game. In order to gain this certification, you will be required to take an exam at the associate level. One of the prerequisites for the course is to pass the AWS certified exam. In order to study this course, you have to have a minimum of a year’s practical experience of designing AWS systems. The approximate duration of the exam is 130 minutes, and the test is available at many PSI centers across the country. Once you have this certification, you can easily earn close to $150,000 per year.

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The main focus of this certification is to enhance your knowledge of information security management, which is one of the highest-paying disciplines in the IT field.

A certified information security manager both designs and engineers a security protocol that boosts and sustains an organization’s existing security. The main task of an information security manager is to come face-to-face with the stakeholders of the company for building security throughout the company line. You can easily register for this certification through ISACA’s website. One of the perks of getting this certification is that you get a good remuneration once you have qualified. It is estimated that a certified information security manager can easily earn up to $200,000 per year. The biggest challenge, however, is clearing the exam, which contains about 200 questions centered on the topics of information risk management, information security governance, and incident management, among others.

These were the three IT highly regarded courses that have been in demand currently. There are also other courses that you can explore. Some of them are:

  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
  • VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV)
  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

If you are an entry-level candidate in the IT profession, then this is the time to upskill yourself and excel in a specialization that is gaining momentum in the IT field. Learning any of the above-mentioned courses can prove to be a game-changer. If you are someone who’s still exploring their leanings towards a sub-field in IT, then you can get some help from your peers and mentors, who can study your strengths and assist you on your journey. The same is true for an experienced professional too. When you have been around for a few years, you are quite aware of the developments taking place in the industry. Studying an IT course gives you the advantage you need to set yourself up in an up-and-coming field, thereby enabling a scalable future in terms of career. It is, however, important to note that the options discussed in this article are not exhaustive. So make sure to conduct extensive research and validate the course’s accreditation to ensure that you are on the right track.

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