Learn to speak the language of computers, one course at a time
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Written by Dan Seitz
When I started working on my side in the early 2000s, it was just me, a netbook, and an ethernet cable. Since then, however, I have had to learn computer science on the fly. Data, code, and networking are becoming more and more important, even for the smallest of businesses, and I’ve found that the best way to get on top of it is to do what IT and IT pros do. take a certification course.
IT and certification.
Unless you’re in IT, you might not have heard of the Computing Technology Industry Association, commonly referred to as CompTIA. The nonprofit business group was founded in 1982 in part because it was becoming clear to IT professionals at the time that the industry and its requirements were changing faster than technical manuals or in-person training. could not follow.
It was founded to be vendor neutral and to focus on exams and certifications of maximum value to the business. With 2.5 million certifications and more, it has become a key resume line for the IT people I work with.
On my side, it’s just me, my clients and my personal devices. And when I started ten years ago, that was all I needed. I would write the copy, send it to my clients as an attachment, get their notes and rewrite what was needed.
Over time, however, IT tasks began to seep to the periphery. First, a Vundo infection crippled my netbook and forced me to erase its hard drive and replace Windows with a Linux distribution. I had to inform my clients of the risk, have my copy written, and run my business on an unknown operating system.
It only got more complex from there. Now, I’m regularly asked to work on data projects, use multiple cloud systems to share projects and collaborate, develop visualizations, and adhere to cybersecurity provisions in contracts. It is nothing like what IT departments deal with on a regular basis, but I just have to consider its impact on my business and call on friends for informal help.
I was talking with a friend about the last round of updates and she told me she had the solution to my problem. I should take the same courses she uses to stay up to date.
The Complete CompTIA 2021 Certification Preparation Super Bundle is on sale for just $ 49 ($ 4,400).
Learn computer science.
She sent me a course taught by the iCollege team covering the CompTIA’s IT Fundamentals + exam. At first I wondered why I should bother if I wasn’t going to take the exam. Then I settled in for the course and immediately understood it.
iCollege is an Official CompTIA Partner and as a whole has partnered with ITProTV, CompTIA’s Official Video Training Partner. I was worried that I would be overwhelmed by the kind of jargon I needed to remove from the content, but I found the course to be clear and to the point, which made it easy to follow. Divided into short lectures, I was able to fit in a class or two each day, accommodating it for downtime or whatever places I was stuck waiting and doing nothing.
I wouldn’t say taking the course made me my own computer scientist. But it made it easier for me to diagnose issues, reinforce some basic safety procedures, and talk to my friends about any issues I was facing. Since then, I have used the Linux course to be more informed about the Ubuntu distribution I use, and their cybersecurity courses to learn more about the subject when I speak with customers.
Speak the language.
In particular, I found that I could “speak the language” and understand both the needs of my clients and their IT departments. I’ll probably never need to use Metasploit to attack my laptop and see if hackers can get through, or connect a server to stay on top of my data needs. But I also don’t need to ask anyone what they’re talking about or Google’s frenzied terms in a team meeting, either.
It even helped me in my daily activities. When I am asked how to secure the data, I have an answer. And I am able to better determine if I can meet the needs of my clients.
Others, however, go much further. Some of my freelance IT friends are using these courses to add certifications to their resumes and stay on top of technology in a growing industry. I’ve even known people who are considering changing careers in IT, or getting into IT, starting with their certifications.
When you start out, you are your own computer scientist. You are the one who needs to protect your data and maintain your uptime, whether you are working in more creative endeavors or focusing on coding as part of your business. Whether you are looking for this certification or want to stay in touch with the IT team, I have found learning how IT people learn to be invaluable.
Get the CompTIA 2021 Super Complete Certification Preparation Pack for $ 49 (reg. $ 4,400).
Prices subject to change.