By Carrie Dagenhard (Tech Writer)
Looking to level up your IT career? Let's explore some of the best online platforms designed to help IT pros expand their tech knowledge and your salary.
As IT pros know, the tech industry evolves incredibly fast. In some cases, the tools, processes, and strategies that were most effective just a few years ago have already become outdated and obsolete. As a tech professional, your career success depends on your ability to evolve at the same pace as the industry — which isn’t always easy.
While education is a time commitment, it has incredible ROI. By continuing to sharpen your skillset, grow program-specific proficiencies, and acquire new expertise, you’ll increase your earning potential and stand out from other candidates.
Best Places To Advance Your Tech Skills:
Luckily, with so many virtual learning platforms, masterclasses, coaching programs, and certifications online, it’s easier than ever to level up your skills and advance your tech and MSP career.
Founded in 2012, Coursera offers courses from universities like Stanford, Duke, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as tech giants like IBM and Google. Topics span everything from computer science and data science to languages and emerging tech like AI or in-demand fields like cloud engineering. Coursera even partners with leading universities to help you earn a master’s or bachelor’s degree online.
The platform also gets results. According to a Coursera survey, a whopping 87% of people using the platform for professional development reported career benefits like promotions, raises, and new jobs.
You’ve likely already heard of Udemy — it’s one of the most popular e-learning platforms on the web. This education powerhouse offers a massive library of more than 150,000 courses in everything from IT and software to business and personal development.
If you’re on the fence, you can always try out one of Udemy’s 6,500 free courses — though you can also find many useful premium courses for less than $25.
Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing tech industry sectors, which means it’s also one of the most in-demand. So whether you’re looking to expand existing cloud skills or start from scratch, Cloud Academy has what you need.
And because tech moves fast, the platform updates its content and offerings every month. From Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS certifications to hands-on labs with titles like “Create Your First Amazon RDS Database” or “Working with Google Cloud Storage from the Command Line,” you have plenty of opportunities to drill down on the topics that make the most sense for your career.
Not sure what route to take or what tech to focus on? Pluralsight helps you choose a path and suggests courses to help you build your knowledge and expertise within a particular field or niche.
For example, if you’re interested in learning or expanding your knowledge of a programming language or technology like Ubuntu or Docker, Pluralsight can help you choose a path. Even better, the platform lets you know which topics and technologies are trending and which are most popular.
If you’re the type of person who’s easily bored, or you find yourself drifting off and daydreaming during a lecture, you might want to check out Katacoda. These courses are hands-on and interactive, allowing you to learn tech using real environments in your browser. And the platform creates a gamified experience to ensure you stay fully engaged — plus, courses are also self-paced, so you can dedicate as much or as little time as you have available.
Like Pluralsight, Katacoda also helps guide you down a path, so you’re not left trying to decide which courses to take in what order. And to sweeten the pot further, more than 250 of its courses are free.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to take a class at Harvard, Berkeley, or MIT? With edX, you’ll have an opportunity to take courses from more than 160 of the most renowned and selective institutions in the world (and for a lot less than an ivy league tuition).
The nonprofit offers more than 2,500 courses across disciplines like computer science, business management, engineering, humanities, languages, and more. So whether you’re looking to upskill or earn a degree, edX has it all.
What do today’s biggest and fastest-growing tech companies want their workforce to know? Whatever it is, you can bet Udacity has a course for it.
This platform is specifically designed to help tech pros level up their careers — whether that means taking on new responsibilities in your current role or finally snagging your dream job. Get premium-quality education in the exact skills that get people employed, learn at your own pace, and get help whenever you need it with access to 24/7 mentors.
Formerly Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning is another career-focused platform where you can choose from over 16,700 courses — or select a learning path and find out what it takes to do the job you want. Once you’ve completed a certification, you can display the badge on your LinkedIn profile to show prospective employers your expertise. And, like many other platforms, it’s self-guided so that you can learn on your own time.
Did we mention it’s free?
Billing itself as “top shield web development training,” Scotch.io offers user-friendly courses and tutorials to help you grow and diversify your tech skills. In addition to its library of courses, the platform also offers monthly coding challenges so you can put your new chops to the test. And once you’ve mastered a topic, you can teach others by becoming a Scotch.io writer.
Though not as robust as some of the other options, it’s a great place to start.
Of course, this list only scratches the surface of opportunities to grow your tech skills. New platforms are constantly emerging to meet growing demand from tech professionals looking to hone their craft, pivot their careers, or launch their own company.
You can also use SherpaDesk's Knowledgebase feature to create a learning syllabus that you can tailor for yourself and your team to help with onboarding and to help keep your team sharp, at all times.
Whether you’re feeling frustrated by a lack of forward momentum in your current role, or you just want to stay ahead of the curve, these platforms offer a wealth of knowledge to get you where you want to go.