I have taken a Google IT Support course on the Coursera platform.
Where do you want to go? That’s really the first question, and from that you decide where to start. Do you want to get into general IT support? I would probably diversify your curriculum a bit. Look into specific courses on other aspects of technical support. I see on Coursera they have a wealth of additional options. Power user, technical support fundamentals, system administration, IBM Customer engagement, etc. These are all valuable to enhance your position and your resume.
It doesn’t end with one class though. Technology is ever changing, and I have to spend an inordinate amount of my time remaining current enough that I can keep an eye on the future trends and potential development ideas. If support is your short-term goal, then take as many courses as you are able, be hungry for the knowledge and use it as a foundation to learn more. As I told someone else on here, passion is one of the most important aspects I would look for.
Having come from the "trenches" of IT support and a continuous learner I can say that Microsoft offers tons of free training leading to any number of certifications. And having spent 17 years supporting Microsoft's premier platform (SharePoint) Azure is very near and dear to my heart as I can see Newco (the GTS spinoff from IBM) moving for more partnering with Microsoft for Cloud computing. There in Azure you can get into any of your wildest dreams of technology. If you want to learn containerization (no server applications) you can get it. If you want security, Azure is incredibly powerful and has tons of things to learn. If you want the business side of IT operations that can be found there as well. Ditto for Machine learning and AI. IBM (the GTS portion anyway) is increasing it's focus on architects and Azure solution Architect certifications. And again so much of the training is free.
But, basically discover what your passion is and move into that. And I ditto Anthony also, so if you want more info contact me.
Microsoft Training link: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/.
And to begin your exploration today here is the link to the actual portal: https://portal.azure.com. Signup is free, and you can play all you want with a free 12 month subscription and $200 of free use for a month.
To answer your follow-up question, I will restate, that it depends where you want to go. While I am a big fan of formal education (college, graduate studies, post-graduate), I also know the value in practical capabilities. If your short term goal is to perform IT Support as a means to get the proverbial foot in the door, then I would say a BS in Computer Science is probably not as necessary as a passion for the work. Certifications show that you wanted to learn about a very specific subject. The paper indicates you followed a prescribed study plan and subsequently passed an exam designed to test your retention. That is often more than enough to obtain an entry-level role. After that, you need to decide where to go next. The key is always move forward. Maybe the next big step is to obtain the BS, maybe even go on to graduate school. It's more about a passion for learning at that point, and yes, about what benefits that passion may reap for you in terms of opportunities.
Hi Robert -
I always like hearing from others in the Aviation community. I agree with Johnathan above - what is your passion? I know with your background in aircraft maintenance and nondestructive testing plus working toward a degree in business, you definitely have some skills to work with. Coursera is a great resource for learning more about some specific topics, and that is where I've been working on my technical skills. I'd like to know what really motivates you and where you really want to go in your career. Feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to learn more about various roles and pathways at IBM.
I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!
This past June, I completed my IBM data science certificate with Coursera. While this set of courses and the associated certificate pushed me through the steps and hands-on experience to get the basics of data science and use of the Python libraries, you didn't get the experience of having a professor challenging me or answering my questions. I was for the most part on my own. The people that develop the course material do not update it to match with changes to the technologies, and you might find yourself, like me having to debug the steps that are supposed to work according to the course developer. Even seeking help from the monitors of the Coursera courses can take 4 - 5 days to get a reply, and often times you just have to rollup your sleeves and debug the course's material itself.
I finished my last college degree program (information systems and communications) in 2013. For half of the program, it was distance learning for me via VTC because I was deployed with the Army Reserves, but I still had the experience of my professor "teaching" the classes and interacting with my fellow students in my program. You will not have that with Coursera. I was also able to interact directly with my professor and communicate with my peers to quickly receive a response. I felt that the personal interaction between all of them very helpful and motivating. I don't think I need to be physically present with my peers or the professor, but I felt that I was interacting with a human, rather than the computer/website that I experienced with Coursera.
I personally think that hiring people put more value to the experience you gained through a traditional college. However, the traditional college provides a formal credential, rather than the micro-learning achievements that are typical of Coursera. On the other hand, the Coursera courses will likely give you skills that are more closely aligned for the positions to which you are applying.
You will find that many people working in IT, have degrees that have nothing to do with IT. Those persons gained their IT skills through courses like those provided by Coursera or hands-on experience. However, the college degree is a differentiator when selecting the person. Similar differentiators with formalized programs might be completion of IT bootcamps or certifications.
If you wish to discuss further, send me a message.
Hi Robert, after my four-year enlistment in the Navy I started as a contractor for a technical help desk and worked my way up into consultant, system administrator and architect roles. I also crossed over to the Navy reserve which I found was a great way to network with many other folks. Later, I used my GI Bill to get an MBA in Technology Management.
Robert - thank you for your service. I am going to cover some general thoughts on IT and your question. Information Technology (IT) is a very broud industry and people working in the industry hold a large number of varying college degrees. For the education that you are taking, it is important to focus your job search on positions in IT that align with the course education. In addition - I will highlight that a computer science degree from many universities provide education about the development of software solutions whereas an electrical engineering degree may design the chip that a computer runs. It is considered that a computer Scientist develops and produces the hardware and software. Conversely if your interests lie in with solving business problems and improving a variety of business processes, a Information technologist can apply the end result technology to fit a businesses need. Thus - I would encourage you to consider what is your desire? Do you like to develop the code to run an IT system or are your interests in understanding a variety of technologies to help identify, integrate and implement a solution to a business process problem. Evaluating your preference can help guide you to the course work that will direct you to thse interests...
How does taking courses on Coursera or the IBM platform compare with an IT degree from a traditional college with regards to gaining employment.
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