One thing you can be pretty sure of is that the information technology (IT) field isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While the particular type of IT we’re using right now won’t be around forever – maybe not even in a year or two – there are tips you can use to become generally better at IT. By learning about IT and exercising your skills, you’ll have a better intuition for how things should work when you encounter a type of IT you’re not familiar with.
Check Out Tutorials
Perhaps the best thing about the explosion of user-made videos on the Internet is the number of excellent tutorials out there. From Microsoft Windows to Ubuntu and Adobe Photoshop, if it’s a type of technology that’s used fairly widely, there are likely dozens, if not hundreds, of useful tutorials for it on the Web. No matter what level of IT you’re used to, there are tutorials that can accommodate you and get you up to speed. The best part? They’re free and you can watch them in the privacy of your own home at your own pace.
Use Open CourseWare
Maybe you want a more structured learning environment, so you can master a particular type of computer language or other big skill set. The Open CourseWare movement has encouraged many top-rated schools, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University, to put materials for entire college classes online for free. Many free courses have video lectures, class notes, and homework assignments, so you can effectively work through a whole class on your own. The Open CourseWare website lets you search by class title, participating school, or language.
Take a Class or Earn a Degree
If you’ve gotten past the basics or are sure that information tech is something you’re into, then for-credit classes or degree programs can be a great opportunity. Many IT careers are predicted to have solid job growth in the next few years, and IT can be a good choice if you’re just starting out or thinking about switching jobs.
Community colleges and vocational schools offer single classes or shorter certificate programs, if you want to complete a shorter program. Online IT degrees can be useful if you want to keep your current position or can’t commute to school. Degrees in IT are available at the associate degree through master’s degree-level.
Start a Blog or Make a Website
Simply fooling around with a technology you’re not used to is a great way to learn new skills that may be more widely applicable than you think. If you’re not already blogging, consider using Tumblr or Blogger to start your own blog. Many companies, like Weebly and Wix, now offer free website building if you’d like to create an entire site.