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Information technology, in simple terms, is the use of computers, storage, networks, other devices, infrastructure, and processes to create, process, store, secure, and exchange all forms of electronic data.
Information technology has a broad scope that ranges from information technology engineering to software development and information technology management. Information technology is very important for organizations because it helps employees create and store data, as well as troubleshoot problems in the storage system.
The high value that information technology gives is the reason why jobs in the field are in high demand. Career opportunities in information technology run from small offices to large multinational corporations, all with attractive pay packages.
Information technology is not new to humans: as far back as the period between 3000 BC to 1450 AD, people communicated by engraving generated alphabets on rocks.
Then the need to store information for future purposes grew: tablets made of clay and papyrus were used to store data. These data were then stored in libraries in Egypt. During this period, the first calculator which we all know as the abacus was designed to help humans make simple calculations.
In the years that followed, there were many technological developments. The printing press, slide rule, Pascaline, Leibniz machine, and the difference machine were the major productions between the 1600s and 1800s.
The early 19th century came with Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine which is known as the first computer. In 1939, Konrad Zuse developed the Z2, the first electromechanical digital computer. In 1951, the Ferranti Mark 1 was created as the world's first general-purpose commercially available computer.
In these times, technology has evolved from the use of heavy devices to smartphones that fit in the palm, to tablets, to touch screen laptops and thinner desktops. The programming languages used have changed over time and unlike in years before, you don't need a degree in mathematics to work in information technology.
Information technology courses are courses designed to help students understand computer usage, data storage, programming, and other information technology concepts over a given period.
Information technology courses are diverse and can be taken in different programs: bachelor's degree program, master's degree program, doctorate program, part-time study, full-time study, and even online.
A bachelor's degree in IT takes between three to four years on average. Other programs may last as short as three months or as long as eighteen months. There may be variations depending on the region.
IT degrees may cost between $29000 to $63000, depending on the university of your choice. Online courses are generally cheaper: platforms like FutureLearn, Coursera and edX offer free online courses and in most cases, a paid certificate at the end of the program.
Choosing an IT training program will depend on cost, job requirement, level of knowledge, location, and employment status. For example, there are IT courses designed for beginners as well as those for workers who have a busy schedule.
Online courses provide an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow in their career. You do not have to commute to a physical location to learn: you can acquire knowledge from the comfort of your home.
Here is a concrete list of information technology courses that you can register for online and take at your own pace.
1. Google IT Support Professional Certificate Course: Available on Coursera, this online course is designed for entry-level IT professionals. It promises to teach you debugging, customer service, troubleshooting, cloud computing, etc, and have you job-ready in six months. You can apply for financial aid and start the program if you are new to information technology.
2. Udemy Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate 2021: This $9.99 course boasts a student population of 365, 765, and a 4.7/5 review. It is an Amazon-based web service cloud training that involves the AWS fundamentals, the serverless fundamentals, the difference of databases, etc. You can register for the course if you want to learn about the Amazon Web Service Cloud.
3. IBM IT Fundamentals for Cybersecurity Specialization: This online course is provided by IBM and made available on Coursera. It is for people who are interested in working in the field of cybersecurity. In the space of four months, you can learn about cybersecurity tools and processes, system administration, operating systems, and database vulnerabilities as well as cryptography and digital forensics.
4. Harvard University's CS50's Introduction to Computer Science: Available on edX, this online course is for programmers and nonprogrammers alike. It starts on the 15th of August 2021 and offers topics like abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development.
5. University of Leeds Institute of Coding Decision Making: How To Choose The Right Problem to Solve: This online course is offered on FutureLearn for people interested in business technology. The three-week-long program is part of the Problem-Solving in the Digital Age Track and can be applied in many fields beyond just information technology.
Information technology is advancing: in the years to come there will be new developments in technology all over the globe.
It is a possibility that there will be more online degree programs made available for students who want to learn about information technology. These programs will be more tailored towards job requirements and the future of technology. In addition, since the demand for IT professionals is on the rise and the paychecks are attractive, more people of all ages will consider a career in information technology.