There is a growing industry of online education platforms that provide the opportunity to learn valuable skills and advance your career, often at a fraction of the price of traditional education options.
Continuing education in the IT industry offers a wide range of certifications to add to your resume. From industry organizations like CompTIA to vendor-specific training, IT professionals have a ton of options to improve their education and boost their careers.
If you’re an IT pro and are looking to expand your knowledge base, check with your supervisor about your training plans to see how you can also help your company while you’re studying. Most technology vendors require partner companies to have their staff complete a certain number of courses each year, so see if you can line up your next certification to fill in any of the missing spots for your company.
You can learn more about almost anything. Online education doesn’t have to be just for work. Courses that cover almost any skill you’ve ever been curious to learn can likely be found online, from coding to clinical hypnosis to wood carving.
The options for tech-related courses are especially deep. Networking, information security, CSS, HTML, web development, and a number of other useful skills are all available online from a wide range of providers.
Classes are affordable. You’ll find a wide range of free demos and classes on YouTube, but the quality of the information can be questionable. Most name-brand course providers like Lynda.com or CBT Nuggets charge a monthly fee that gives you access to a catalog of courses you can take at your own pace. Other providers like CreativeLive offer individual courses at a fixed fee per class.
It’s easy to fit online learning into your schedule. Online learning doesn’t interrupt your work day by making you attend a set schedule of classes at an offsite location. If you use public transportation, you can tackle your course on your way to and from the office. You may need to download class files to preserve your data plan, so take some time to look into if and how the platform you select offers content through your phone or your tablet.
You don’t have to get approval to get started. One major advantage to the courses being offered online, and their relatively low price tag, is that you can get started without any HR paperwork to see what’s left in the training budget. It never hurts to ask your boss to see if your company can help, but you can use these online resources to create your training program. In-person training in a classroom can be very effective but it often comes with a hefty price tag and time out of work. Online training courses are often broken up into multiple segments that are rarely more than a few minutes long.
Having more skills under your belt makes you more employable. All the skills that you pick up from an online course can go a long way in making you a more valuable employee. Stepping up and learning a skillset that’s currently missing in your office can help you carve out a new niche at your job and make you a more valuable employee.
You can also use online courses as a bridge into a new position that you think would be interesting. If you have your eye on a new role, but don’t have some of the requisite skills listed in current job postings, online course offers a fast, affordable avenue to filling in the missing pieces in your skillset.
Whether you’re looking to make yourself more of an asset at your current job, hoping to make the jump into a new position, or just want to pick up some new skills for the sake of getting smarter, online courses offer an affordable and flexible way to educate yourself.