How to Find the Right IT Courses for You

Maybe you’re looking to start fresh with a career in IT, or you’ve decided to polish up some existing skills and add more punch to your resume. Either way, IT training programs are the best way to achieve those goals. 

The good news is that things have changed for the better. Now you don’t need four years of formal training to land your dream tech job. Today’s professionals’ backgrounds vary from the formally trained to the self-taught.

 IT professionals today need to possess the ability and flexibility to adapt in this ever-changing field. Those qualities reinforce the fact that the traditional four-year path is either unrealistic or unnecessary. And it is most apparent in the cybersecurity market where hackers are constantly moving at warp speed to stay one step ahead of the countermeasures being deployed.

Along with the speed of change that comes with technology, the need to fill these specialized positions has accelerated. Employers are increasingly hiring skilled workers that don’t possess a bachelor’s degree, provided they are qualified and experienced. 

To meet the demands of employers, universities, colleges, and trade schools have stepped up to offer a myriad of options that can vary in everything from the time it takes to complete, to the depth of the skills offered, area of focus, and even the structure of the program. 

To successfully find an IT course that fits your needs, you’ll have to draw up a set of goals, determine a time frame, and decide how much of a commitment you’re comfortable with. 

Bootcamp Courses

Bootcamp programs typically last between three to six months, and they are intensive, requiring students to be focused on immersive training. Bootcamps have a long history of success rate in cybersecurity, software coding, and data analytics. 

Bootcamps were once exclusively found in trade schools; today, universities and colleges have harnessed the bootcamp model to quickly educate and train students for real-world careers. Most have partnered or launched proprietary programs to provide their own bootcamp offerings. 

With the popularity of coding bootcamps, other areas have also gained traction, such as cybersecurity bootcamps, which provide training on how to safeguard computer networks.

Courses like these usually require some level of experience and a general understanding of networking (typically one or two years). These bootcamps afford IT professionals the ability to sharpen existing skills or to extend into part of the market with an abundance of job opportunities. 

Bootcamps have become renowned for their success in placing qualified workers in the tech industry. This success comes from the ability to create programs that are highly focused on the latest advances in technology and security developments while providing extensive hands-on training designed for real-world success.

What’s it going to cost you? Well, the good news is, whether you’re considering the cybersecurity, coding, or data analytics bootcamp, one thing is for sure: the cost will be significantly less than the traditional four-year path.

Although student loans may not be available for every bootcamp, some do offer payment deferrals or income sharing agreements that can significantly help with the cost. Additionally, many programs offer the opportunity to get scholarships or grants to help ease part of the cost. 

Bootcamps aren’t a decision to be taken lightly as they’re known to be an intense undertaking, but the payoff is worth it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the computer and information technology job market will experience a seven-year annual growth of 13%.

Online IT Training

The Internet has made it possible to take training courses from anywhere with a good connection. These courses are geared towards the self-directed learner and the DIYers. 

It’s important to note that these programs don’t work for everyone, as they’re designed for highly disciplined, motivated, and driven individuals who are okay forgoing hands-on training. They can be an appealing option for individuals needing the flexibility that an online program provides. 

College Courses & Trade Schools

Although the four-year option might not be right for you, it can still provide a path to gaining the training you need. Plenty of flexible programs have been developed by higher education institutions catering to student needs including full-time working students.

Some pros and cons of the traditional path:

• Pros: Since you’re required to take other courses outside of IT, you’ll gain a well-rounded set of skills including your ability to think critically and communicate effectively. Additionally, if you’re unsure of where you want to direct your future, a college experience can provide you with time and exposure to more options while you decide.  

• Cons: If your end goal is to make money, this path will delay that. The bootcamp route might be right for you if you want to quickly jump into your IT profession.

Getting Started

As the demand for IT jobs continues to grow the thirst that companies have for highly-skilled tech workers to fill those positions will only increase. If you want to be in one of those highly sought-after positions, you’ll need the proper training and certifications. How you get that training is your decision. 

Either pursuing a four-year degree or immersing yourself in an IT bootcamp will provide you all the in-demand skills that will make you a very desirable commodity in the job market. 

Think you’ve got the drive to take the next big leap and launch your career to new heights? Put yourself in the IT game today and check out the University of Central Florida’s Cyber Defense Professional Certificate Program.

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