10 Mar 2015

Five websites to enhance your IT knowledge and skills

Technology requires constant learning. With the rate of change in this industry, the IT professional that is constantly developing new skills and competencies is the IT professional that will find themselves the most in-demand and with the best job opportunities.

That doesn’t mean that you need to take time out to do additional formal courses at university or colleges, however. There are numerous web-based resources out there that IT professionals can use to enhance their knowledge, understand what kinds of technologies are on the horizon, or simply inspire them into learning more about technology. Below are five of our favourite websites for IT learning.

Exercism.io (http://exercism.io/) – For people interested in coding, exercism.io is one of the most useful resources on the Web. Users upload sections of code that they write, and then other coders provide useful feedback about how it could be improved, or alternate solutions to the problems. It’s entirely crowdsourced learning, but with a large and robust community of hardcore coders, it’s difficult to imagine a better place to learn how to code hands on than this one.

Google Analytics Academy (https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/explorer) – Google Analytics is for many organisations one of their most critical resources, giving them deep information about how their website is performing, and helping them to understand their customers and business challenges. With technology taking an ever-increasing role in the marketing efforts of an organisation, IT professionals will be expected to understand how to work with Google Analytics. Luckily, Google itself has provided in-depth training tools to help you self-educate.

Building Mobile Experiences (https://www.edx.org/course/building-mobile-experiences-mitx-21w-789x#.VOphovmUcdZ) – This edX course is based on MIT classwork, and as its name suggests, it’s focused on building a killer mobile experience. From the design, to the usability, implementation and field evaluation, this course will take you through all the key stages of mobile design. Given that mobile apps and the customer experience are one of the most in-demand areas of expertise in IT at the moment, completing this course will help you stay right on top of where modern technology is at.

Microsoft Virtual Academy (http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/) – Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft offers IT professionals a well-stocked digital library of educational content. The Microsoft Virtual Academy offers courses and information on every Microsoft product that you can think of, which will in turn prepare you to field and questions and challenges about the technology that you may encounter. For organisations that heavily use Microsoft products, having the IT team spending some time in this academy will be of immense value.

TED (http://www.ted.com/) – You won’t learn anything with hands-on value from watching TED talks. That’s not the point of them. The TED talks are there to gain the insights from visionaries in every industry and from every walk of life, and present them in an easy-to-watch, short form format. This applies to technology too, with TED hosting a massive range of stories about how technology is being used and the innovations that it is bringing into the world. Professionals in any field do well to keep an eye on the kind of visionary thinking, because it helps inspire their own thoughts and give them an idea of where things might be heading in the future, and IT is no different.