If you deliberately clicked on the link for this post and are reading this now, and you’re a business owner, then you can go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. Showing interest in this particular subject means that you understand the value of information technology, not only for an IT professional by trade, but for yourself and everyone on your team.
That’s why we’re providing the resources in this article because we want you to know exactly where you can go when you’re ready to take your IT game to the next level. This is absolutely an area that everyone, but especially business owners, needs to understand more fully.
Why Do You Need IT Training?
You may wonder why, when you have an IT professional on staff, you would need to train yourself in IT. There are actually a few reasons why you would want to do this. You also might not be able to afford an IT guy or girl in the first place, in which case you definitely need the training.
Most notably, there will be times when you run into a technical issue with any of your systems, software, or other tech, and your IT person isn’t around to solve it for you. Just imagine how it would play out if, for some reason, every computer in your office suddenly shows a pop-up message that reads, “Network Error”, and everything is completely frozen, effectively stopping work until you figure out what’s wrong. Also imagine that your IT person isn’t there.
We no longer live in an environment where most of our work is done offline, without the assistance of computers and Internet. In fact, most businesses are almost completely at the mercy of this technology. So, if the aforementioned scenario occurs, and you have no idea what caused it or how to restore function, you’re going to be in a really tight spot.
As the owner of your business, you really should be well-versed in all aspects of your company, and this includes information technology. As so much of our world is virtual and dominated by tech now, you’re asking for trouble if you don’t have the slightest idea of how any of it works. Many business owners don’t know how to do anything beyond opening the Internet browser on their desktop computer and using their favorite apps on their smartphone, which is basically the comprehension of the basic consumer.
If you have a solid, or at least a basic understanding of current technology, even for personal tech issues, then you might be able to solve it without ever calling your IT person. If for no other reason, you can better ensure that your company has the highest level of cyber security possible.
1. Walden University
We’re starting with Walden University because, of the 4 training sources we’re suggesting in this post, it is probably the top academic level. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990, and its accreditation was reaffirmed by the HLC in 2013. As an accredited school, you can secure federal aid, and sometimes financial aid, as well, which can really come in handy when you’re already struggling to balance the budget of your small business.
Walden also has special accreditation for technology programs by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology). Even if these accreditations don’t mean that much to you, it’s good to know that the training you’re getting has the full confidence of the organizations that oversee these institutions.
If you’re wondering how, exactly, you would be able to attend courses at Walden, the answer to your question is yes—you can attend Walden online from anywhere through their Online Learning section. You may not want to take your education all the way, but they are a full-service university, offering certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and all the way up to doctoral degrees in Information Technology (IT).
They also let you select the track you want to follow for your certificate or degree program, for which you can select only the courses that apply to areas in which you want to specialize. We’re listing this option for IT training first because it’s very high-quality training and education; however, as you may not want to go so deep into your learning, that’s why Walden University is also great because you can choose to simply earn a certificate in IT if that’s what you want, instead of a higher degree.
It’s not the worst idea to take it a little further and go for at least a bachelor’s, even though it’s not your career path. That option wouldn’t be for everyone, but you could learn extremely valuable skills and knowledge that are always going to be useful for your business, regardless of what type of business it is.
2. Global Knowledge
It’s possible that this option could be the best choice for business owners, depending on what you’re looking for in a learning institution. Although the first suggestion, Walden University, is a high-quality, accredited institution, Global Knowledge concentrates solely on providing IT training, so you might gain knowledge that a traditional university would skip.
While a traditional school offers courses in all kinds of different subjects and career tracks, a school like Global Knowledge focuses on one thing only. They are there to give students an education in IT, alone, cutting through all the extraneous subjects that don’t apply to that focus.
You are welcome to train from wherever you are by taking advantage of the online courses they offer, so there’s no need to be physically present at one of their campuses, of which there are many, if that’s just not an option for you. Over 3,200 courses are offered in a wide variety of areas and specialized concentrations, including training for popular technology brands like Adobe, AWS, and Citrix.
One of the greatest things about training with Global Knowledge is that you can learn about topics that actually apply to your industry and your field of interest, so that you’re not just getting general training that won’t even be valuable to you.
Just a few of the topics covered in Global’s courses include: Analytics & data management; blockchain; cloud computing; cybersecurity; data center; IT service management; networking & wireless; project management; and virtualization. There are many more topics you can focus on in your training, too, and you can choose whichever areas are most important to you and which you think will be most valuable to you.
3. New Horizons (Computer Learning Centers)
Like Global Knowledge, New Horizons also provides an exclusive concentration on information technology, so your time and money will definitely not be wasted here. New Horizons offers probably the largest variety of course concentrations, with a ton of training courses in all kinds of subjects for all kinds of platforms and brands that are relevant to current technology. They don’t miss much for IT training.
Online courses are available through their “online live” and “online anytime” programs. To give you a bit more confidence in the quality of education you’ll get from New Horizons, students report that 70% of the skills they learned there were used at work within the first 8 weeks. That’s for those students who are in it for their careers and need those skills for their job because they are the actual IT professionals by trade.
That’s a strong testament to just how valuable it can be to you, as a business owner who simply needs the skills and knowledge for your own purposes or for your employees to be more proficient at what they do. You’ll get an excellent quality of training at New Horizons, and you’ll also find that they offer a very competitive cost compared to other, similar institutions.
To name a few of the training subjects they offer: Agile Scrum; IBM; ITIL; Microsoft Office; AWS; Cisco; Red Hat; CheckPoint; CompITA; Adobe; Java; Apple & iOS; and QuickBooks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. New Horizons’ mission is not just to scratch the surface or to give students a general assortment of training courses. What they aim to do is to, “turn ambitions into marketable skills and organizational goals into tangible results for continuous growth”.
Essentially, this IT training center is designed to help you complete the education that fits with precisely what we’re talking about in this post. They even literally state that a significant part of their mission is to provide professional corporate training, which obviously includes training everyone on your team, as needed. Online courses are available.
4. LinkedIn Learning
Though you can also use the other options already listed here to get only the training you need and work at your own pace, this option is designed to do just that. It’s also designed to help you get it done fast. Formerly Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning now has 100% of Lynda’s instructors and courses, as they have migrated to LinkedIn Learning.
You can take courses online, too. This training platform is perfect for professionals or business owners who don’t want to (or who don’t have time to) make a heavy commitment to their IT training. Of course, the other institutions we’ve already suggested will also suit you for those purposes, but LinkedIn Learning is the quickest, easiest option.
It’s set up almost like some kind of tech service that you would find on because the features (course) they have on offer are laid out in simple categories or sections, and there is even a free trial period. LinkedIn Learning is basically the drive-thru of IT training platforms.
That’s not to say that it’s cheap; the courses you can take will most certainly give you the education you need learn the necessary skills you need to better understand how to manage the technology side of your business. The point is that they just make it very easy to select what you want for your training program and get started quickly.
Some of the areas of training offered at LinkedIn Learning: Data science; network & system administration; software development; mobile development; cloud computing; IT help desk; and cybersecurity. If you have a lot to learn about the technology used for your business and know that it’s something you need to start learning, then it can be a little overwhelming when you start looking into how to begin training.
That’s why this is such a great option because it takes the stress out of getting started with your IT training. Even though you’re not ready to commit to a long-term, traditional degree program or are willing to take the time to do extensive research about what courses you should take, you can take some general courses with LinkedIn Learning to get started fast, and work your way up as needed from there.
5. Get The Ball Rolling
You’re already on the right track by taking the initiative and moving forward with the first steps towards learning more about the technology and computing that applies to your business. It can be a challenge to know where you should go from there, which is why it’s such a valuable thing to have a platform that will allow you to get the ball rolling quickly and start learning what you need to know, instead of deliberating about what resources will be the best to use for your training.
The best course of action you can take is just to act. Pick the courses that apply to what you know will be helpful for you and start training yourself. Once you get started, it will become more and more clear how you should progress in your training.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.