In the spirit of this month’s posts centered around education, let’s continue that conversation. We know that the advancement of technology has contributed to a growing IT skill gap, but we also know there are thousands of technology training courses and certifications that can help close that gap.
As members of the technology channel, we’re in a unique and almost unprecedented opportunity to fill our skillsets and advance our careers with the education of technologies that are truly disrupting the norm and making a difference in the world.
Ultimately, what’s the benefit of going through additional IT courses? The answer to that can be anything you want it to become. With so many skills in need, IT professionals can choose their own journey with more clarity than ever before.
While many courses and certifications out there might have unfeasible costs associated with them, it certainly doesn’t always have to be that case. We’ve compiled a list of several resources, both inside and outside of Tech Data, that are completely free, but certainly not lacking in phenomenal content and resources that you can use to advance your career.
How to: Grow with Google
In the words of Google, “We are always inspired to see what people do when they have access to technology. We know that people are changing the world through their own creativity and passion and that sometimes technology lends a hand. So, we wanted to do our part to make sure that technology brings opportunity to everyone.” And true to their word, they created Grow with Google.
Not only are the courses within Grow with Google free, you don’t even need a Google account to watch the course videos (although, it does help to have an account so that you can track your progress and save relevant course materials). While Grow with Google specializes in the broader scope of career advancement and business growth, there’s something for all levels of IT professionals, including software developers that are looking to sharpen or master coding skills, or perhaps someone making their next career step in IT support, data analytics or UX design.
Exploring Grow with Google is as easy as it is robust, but to specifically call out a few actions:
- Go to Google
- Answer a few questions to find training and resources customized to your current career aspirations
- With tailored sections specifically for veterans and military families, job seekers and students, educators, and small businesses, there are customized programs based on where you’re at in your career or the role you play within your organization.
- Explore professional-level career certification options
- Google’s credentials on average take less than 10 hours per week, and more than 82% of Google Certificate graduates reported a positive career impact within six months. Several of their certification programs live in the IT field, such as IT support specialists, data analysts, and UX designers.
- Find live events and content tailed to your location
- There are also live events and workshops (also free) based on your geographic region so that you can hone in on the Google skills you need most.
How to: Skillshare
Skillshare is a platform for designers and creators of all kinds to come together and share their expertise. While it doesn’t necessarily rely on the certifications from the vendors of the tech industry, it’s a great place to grow proficiency from unique points of view. While largely centered around creative professionals in writing, graphic design, music and other arts, it’s a great place for those in business analytics, UX design or web development to find that missing piece in their education.
SkillShare’s free account gets you access to thousands of free courses (some may include ads for those not upgraded to Skillshare Premium). In fact, there are 143 pages of free courses to scroll through, though we don’t advise this; they have great filtering options as well. Software developers or aspiring coders can sort through various coding languages and levels of skill to find courses that fit a specific need.
How to: LevelUp
Let’s talk LevelUp. For those unfamiliar, LevelUp is Tech Data’s way of ensuring our channel resellers have convenient, quality and, most importantly, free access to events, resources, trainings and certifications offered by some of our top vendors and industry partners. Our team of experts at LevelUp are regularly updating the site with content that is designed keep our customers informed and enabled as they grow their technology practice(s).
We know it can be a challenge to stay engaged with the overwhelming amount of content available at your fingertips, so that’s where we come in. LevelUp consolidates content to only the most recent and relevant so that you don’t have to wade through outdated or stale training courses. As you explore the site, you can also get a firsthand look at the vendors that help make this site possible, and the Tech Data contributors keeping the news and resources as up-to-date as possible.
Not to mention, we like to keep it fun with sub-communities like the rapidly-emerging gaming vertical market. You can also track your participation by earning points, achievements and awards that get posted to your profile as you regularly engage.
Here’s our suggestion on the best path to take on your first LevelUp journey:
- Sign into LevelUp
- Using your Tech Data EC ID credentials,
- Check out the recent Expert Edge live cast series
- We’ve brought in experts across Tech Data to hit on key topics, such as the outlook for 2021, building successful e-marketing lists, and our most recent, navigating the public sector and SLED market.
- Explore the various solutions and vertical markets
- We monitor key solutions areas like cloud, IoT and security for top-hitting news, resources and training opportunities, as well as top vertical markets like healthcare and retail, so that you can find the content most relevant to your business.
- Sign up for live or on-demand training courses
- Sign up for any number of the free courses available that are available in on-demand modules or at a live scheduled event. There is also a robust video library with additional tips and tricks.
Tech Data is not sponsored by or affiliated with Grow with Google or Slideshare. We simply want our Authority Blog readers to have any readily available industry training. Have you come across free resources or skills that have helped you in your career? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Mike Fitch is a content marketing expert with more than 9 years of experience in B2B marketing, specializing in marketing automation, branding, social media, and content strategy. Mike currently serves as a Senior eMarketing Strategist for Tech Data’s Americas Communications team.