4 Online Classes IT Professionals Should Enroll In

The field of technology is constantly evolving: you need to continue your education to stay up to date, if not to equip yourself to move forward. Luckily, though, you don’t need to go back to school full-time to update your knowledge. If you regularly enroll in classes online, you can constantly be learning new techniques and tools.

While online education can take a variety of shapes, massive open online courses (also known as MOOCs) can be particularly useful for IT professionals. You can enroll in classes offered by colleges around the world, as well as courses created by experts in their fields, for far less than you could take such classes elsewhere. You can even take classes on very narrow topics, like using one particular piece of software, that just wouldn’t be offered in person.

Some online classes are available for free. You can also manage your time more effectively with an online class; while some run along a set schedule, many are entirely self-guided. Even with those courses running on a schedule, you can listen to lectures at the times that work for you — they’re available around the clock.

Create a Learning Habit

In order to ensure that you continue to move forward in your career, it’s worth building a habit of learning. Just reading books and blog posts isn’t always enough: you need to make sure that you’re getting a more in-depth look at relevant material and that you’re actually making use of it. Enrolling in online classes can give you a flexible way to continue your education, as well as to actually put some of your new knowledge to work on tests and projects.

Depending on the courses you take, you may have the opportunity to earn the certifications that help you show off your skills. Certain websites offer their own certificates of completion, while others help you prepare to take certification exams through professional organizations. Provided you’re considering a certification that does not require you to take classes through the certifying organization, online classes can offer you a way to speed up the studying process. Some certifying organizations are even starting to offer their own online courses.

Classes Worth Considering

Here are four courses that are particularly worth enrolling in:

  1. Malicious Software and its Underground Economy: Two Sides to Every Story: This course from the University of London covers a variety of security threats that anyone working in IT needs to be familiar with. As an added bonus, the course looks at the underground ecosystem that drives malware, helping you to understand the why, as well as the how.
  2. Software Defined Networking: This class comes from the Georgia Institute of Technology. It focuses on the emerging methodologies behind software defined networking, which can allow a centralized software program to control a network — rather than relying on physical routers and switches.
  3. Learn to Run Linux Servers from Scratch: If you’re new to running Linux servers, this course from the founder of the Linux Academy will get you up to speed. It also doubles as an easy way to study for the Linux LPI Certification Exam.
  4. Managing Teams: If you want to move up the ladder, you need to able to manage a team effectively. This course is from a consultant who teaches management to Fortune 500 clients. It can help you build management skills, both as a first-time manager and if you need to address specific issues with your management style.

These courses are just a starting point, though. There are thousands of courses available online — some of which are specifically geared towards IT professionals and some of which can help with less technical skills. It’s just a question of enrolling.