Constant learning is the name of the game for IT pros. Here are some top IT training providers.
For anyone who works in IT, training is a regular part of life. If you want to stay current, you need to learn about the newest technology. And if you want to advance your career, you often need certifications in order to prove that you have skills in a particular area.
According to a 2015 report from CompTIA, 91% percent of employers believe IT certifications play a key role in the hiring process and that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a successful employee. Due to these kind of employer perceptions, many IT professionals spend a great deal of time and money obtaining training that helps them pass the certification exams.
When it comes to finding training, IT workers have a wide range of options. For example, they can take courses from a traditional university either online or in person. In addition to traditional degree programs, a growing number of colleges are offering free or paid courses that can help technology professionals keep their skills up-to-date.
Many IT vendors also offer free and paid training opportunities. Large vendors that offer certification programs are the most likely to also offer training. Similarly, nonprofit organizations that offer certification exams also frequently offer related IT training.
And there are IT training vendors that offer courses directly to individuals or through employers. Some of these are part of the growing trend toward IT boot camps, which pack a lot of instruction into a short period of time. These paid vendors vary widely in the quality of instruction offered, so prospective students should do their homework before paying any money or investing time in a particular course.
In this slideshow, we feature 10 of the best places to find IT training. Of course, there are hundreds of other places where you could receive IT training, but these are 10 well-known and highly regarded providers. Please note that this is not a ranking; the 10 training providers are listed in alphabetical order.
With apps available through the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, CBT Nuggets offers online IT video training that users can access from any device. Popular courses cover AWS or Azure cloud computing, CCNA certification, Cisco, CompTIA certification prep, Linux, Network+, Powershell, and SQL, with many other courses available. In addition to the streaming videos, the company also offers the Nugget Learning Server, a training library that enterprises can install in their own data centers in order to provide training for employees.
Rather than charge per course, as many training providers do, CBT Nuggets charges a weekly fee. The first week is always free, and it offers discounts for organizations with multiple employees using the service.
The networking giant offers a host of resources for people interested in IT training, including both free and paid training materials, information about Cisco certifications, discussions, study groups, career resources and more. Cisco offers entry, associate, professional and expert certifications in networking, network design and security, as well as specialist certifications in security, data center, operating system software, Internet of things, network programmability, and collaboration.
Cisco Learning Network offers a free basic membership as well as paid premium memberships that add access to more resources. Paid plans start at $11 per month or $110 per year.
CompTIA offers a number of training opportunities for those studying for its certifications. The CertMaster program is an adaptive online test prep tool designed to provide students with instruction tailored specifically to their needs. The organization also offers self-study materials and links to instructor-led training opportunities, as well as free downloads of exam objectives and sample questions. In addition, CompTIA offers a continuing education program for those interested in keeping their certifications up-to-date.
Besides the well-known A+ certification, CompTIA also offers certifications in cloud, cybersecurity, Linux, mobility, network, project, security, server, social media, and healthcare IT.
Part of the trend toward massive open online courses (MOOCs), edX offers courses from top universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of California Berkeley, the University of Texas, Georgetown University, and other schools. Many of the courses are free but require a fee if you want to receive a verified certificate to prove that you completed the course. A few universities also offer courses that are eligible for college credit through the website.
Both self-paced and instructor-led courses are available, and students can access course materials any time day or night. Popular computer science courses cover topics like marketing analytics, UX design, video-game design, Agile development, data science, and Java.
Global Knowledge offers thousands of different training courses for individuals, teams or entire organizations. Classes cover topics such as Agile and scrum, cloud computing, analytics and data management, application development, networking and wireless, virtualization, and cybersecurity. It also has specialized training related to vendors like Cisco, AWS, Juniper, Google, Oracle, SAP, Red Hat, Microsoft, VMware, IBM and others.
Prices vary by courses, but this training isn't cheap. Most courses carry price tags in the thousands of dollars. However, the website does include some free resources, including practice tests to assess your current knowledge.
INFOSEC Institute offers a guarantee that students who take its online courses will pass their certification exams on the first try. It offers 99 different courses and bootcamps in forensics, hacking and penetration testing, auditing, information security, secure coding, reverse engineering, project management and Linux, as well as classes specifically designed to meet U.S. government and Department of Defense training standards.
The company boasts that it has served more than 47,000 students, won 23 industry awards, received 96% positive feedback, and helped 93% of students pass their exams.
Intense School provides IT training to employees at NASA, the U.S. Army, McAfee, Cisco, Ernst & Young, Bank of America, Symantec, and others. Students can choose from self-paced, classroom-based, and live online courses. Some of its most popular offerings include its CISSP boot camp, CCNA certification training, PMP training, ethical hacking boot camp, MCITP/MCSA Server 2008 Administrator online boot camp, and ITIL online training.
The company has been in business for more than 12 years and has served more than 45,000 students. Prices vary by course. In addition to its paid training programs, it offers some free resources related to Cisco, Microsoft, virtualization and project management.
Students interested in pursuing one of Microsoft's IT certifications should check out the company's Learning website. It offers both on-demand and instructor-led courses related to Microsoft products such as Windows Server, Exchange, Skype, SharePoint, Windows, Office 365, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Azure. The site also provides a wealth of information about Microsoft certifications and exams. It has a large library of instructional materials, and new courses are posted every week. Some training is free, while others are paid. Microsoft offers some training directly while other courses are available only through partners.
SANS offers both live and online information-security training including forensics, secure development, auditing, data security law, and secure industrial control systems. Its online training comes in four different formats: OnDemand, which can be accessed anytime; vLive, which features evening classes led by instructors; Simulcast, which are instructor-led and held during the day; and Self-Study, which provides four months of access to materials. SANS courses come with a discount on certification exam fees, but the courses can be quite expensive, with many costing more than $5,000.
Online learning provider Skillsoft boasts that it has served more than 400 million users. Its IT training catalog includes cloud-based courses in software development, operating systems and server technologies, Internet and networking technologies, enterprise database systems, enterprise resource planning systems, Web design, business skills for IT professionals, and project effectiveness. It also offers training for a wide variety of IT certifications. However, unlike most of the other IT training providers in this slideshow, Skillsoft works with organizations, not individuals, so you can't take part in its courses unless your employer offers Skillsoft training.