Keeping your skills sharp with free online training and educational resources.
Photo Credit: iboy_daniel
In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges faced by IT and Technology Professionals is keeping up with technology. It’s also one of the most important for any Technology Pro that plans to stay relevant and remain competitive in the field. This is something I can speak on from experience. Technology is in a constant state of change, and everything you’ve mastered today might be less relevant in 6 months or a year. It is important for Tech Pros not only to keep up on the latest technology, but also to revisit and brush up on some of the standard technologies as well.
Add this constant rate of change to the state of the economy, reduced or even no training budgets, or worse, an unemployed IT worker that needs to pick up a new skill set to compete in a scarce job market and you may start to feel a little overwhelmed.
Working for a company that has so far provided no formal training assistance, I have relied on other methods and resources to educate myself and stay focused on tech. The web is full of training, course materials, ebooks and other self-study and educational resources, all available for free. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ones with you here.
HP Learning Center
The HP Learning Center is full of resources and instruction for a range of IT levels and functions from Business and Business Process, to PC Maintenance and Security, to courses specifically targeting the IT Professional.
MIT Open Courseware
MITOpenCourseware is provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is loaded with free courses and materials. In addition to Technology and computer Sciences, you can find courses and materials covering other subjects including Architecture, Biology, Engineering, Economics, Physics, and much more.
Some of the courses date back a few years, but over all the information and materials are still relevant.
Linux Online provides free online Linux training courses broken down into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses.
You will also find a couple additional areas with more focused Tips and How-To’s to satisfy your quick fix.
Academic Earth is a lot like MIT Open Courseware in terms of providing access to a range of educational topics. In addition to Computer Science, you can catch up on subjects including Mathmatics, Physics, Philosophy, Chemistry and more. One main difference is that Acacemic Earth has connected with select instructors at several Universities including MIT, Stanford, Harvard, and Berkely to provide free access to online learning materials and video “class lectures”.
Microsoft Learning provides both Free and paid training courses and materials. I included it here because it does have a lot of free training available if you want to browse through the learning catalog. Courses and resources here cover Office, Server Technologies, Dynamics, Windows OS (servers and desktops) and a few other areas.
Open University has a number of general computer and IT related learning courses
This is a shortlist of some of the more “formal” resources. Let’s not forget all the incredible smart people who share with us what they have learned in countless blogs, online communities and personal web sites. If you know of any other great free online learning resources for technology professionals, share them in the comments.