Starting an IT training course online or at an educational establishment is a big commitment, especially if you are paying for your instructor or tuition at university with the intention of getting something back from it. This may be a diploma, a bachelor ‘s degree, or other qualifications resulting from taking exams. So, with this in mind, how do you ensure that the course you pick is the right one for you?
Attending a further education course isn’t like starting school. There’s no one school to study at that everyone your street goes to, nor is there just one qualification that you and your peers are expected to pursue, like a GCSE or A Level. Nowadays, for adult learners looking at information technology courses, there are tailored undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, masters, phd, short course diplomas, higher education courses, scholarships, workshops, training courses, as well as an apprenticeship gearing you up for an IT career.
Below, we have put together some tips for choosing a suitable Information Technology course in your area and also searched the web ourselves for some of the best opportunities out there for those seeking computer information training. Consider this some orientation in the world of IT training, or even your learner brochure as an applicant!
1. Think about what you want to gain
If all you want is to attend a casual summer course and add to your general education and IT skills, then you may not be too fussed about what the institution and each lecture can offer you in the way of recognition. However, if your ambition is discovering accredited technology training courses that will give you a credential for your CV, or even qualify you to get a particular occupation in the workplace (like a software development qualification) thus improving your employability prospects, then it is fundamental that you carefully research the programme and accreditation offered within the discipline.
No matter your learning environment, be it elearning from home, a school or college classroom, a university lecture theatre or a quiet corner in the local library, make sure you have some awareness of what kind of technical training you are studying towards.
How frustrated would you be if you were to have undertaken a course or internship for a sustained period of time only to find that the so-called qualification was not worth the paper it was written on? No graduation party for you! The professional world can be ruthless, and some employers won’t take into account your additional training if it isn’t recognised with certification exams.
Another thing to be sure of is that a course you have successfully convinced your boss to let you be a participant of is of value to your employer.
2. Compare two or more courses
The online learning marketplace is absolutely full of numerous courses with varying advantages to those in the IT industry. As such, you must do your homework when looking for a course.
Also, given how easy it is to enroll online and part with sums of cash in one transaction, you don’t want to make a mistake that you’ll regret. Ask yourself: are you paying for just a term of the curriculum or do you get a whole academic year worth of tuition?
Put together a list of criteria detailing your aims from the course, including learning experience, price, and accessibility, etc,… and use this list to compare the various paths you have in front of you.
Research two or more courses to find the best one for you. Photo credit: Nicola since 1972 on Visualhunt.com / CC BY
Each and every course will have varying lengths, and some may include dozens of hours of one-to-one tutor time whilst others may require you to do a lot of self-study at home. For those already working, or people with young families, to manage to find a course that is flexible around your needs and your existing responsibilities could be a deal-breaker.
4. Weigh up the pros and cons of home training vs. a group study session
Thanks to the Internet, we have an infrastructure that provides us with wealth of opportunities when it comes to finding information and learning new skills. While the idea of having a tutor you see regularly on campus can be attractive to some, others may be equally happy to commit to an online course if it means that the learning format works well for them. Be sure to check the timetable when preparing to sign up.
Online courses can be as interactive as being in the classroom thanks to the development of clever applications.
Plus, you find great vouchers and deals for enrolment to online learning courses.
Ok, so the content is very important, but so too can be the convenience of a course. That is why the venue is key. Glasgow may not be the biggest city, but you’ll find courses in the city centre and west end, no problem.
There is no point in signing up for a prestigious course with an excellent reputation but be so far away from it that you miss the first ten minutes of each session because of train and bus schedules. Also, starting a course that is miles away from where you live can make you begrudge travelling to it each week.
Finding a course near to your hometown can be very beneficial as it means that it is no big exertion to go out for an hour or two’s study session and then return to the comfort of your home.
(If you’re unsure if your chosen course is noted for its excellence or not, then read student reviews or check out the top universities rankings and get hold of a prospectus. University rankings will list the organisation in order of reputation, and include opportunities to study abroad if you so wish. No doubt, Glasgow University, Aberdeen University, and the University of St Andrews will be listed as high demand but there’s also the Scottish unis Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Stirling, and the University of Strathclyde for students to think about, as well as some great business schools across the country.)
This is why so many people are now opting for part or full-time online courses because they are accessible at a time that suits you. This means that you could even fit in some studying during your lunch break without having to even set foot out of the building! This is also great for those needing childcare in place, as the work can be studied when their children are at school or with family members.
You don’t want to spend hours of your day hopping from one bus to the next just to reach your chosen course location! Photo credit: Elsie esq. on VisualHunt
As a resident of Glasgow, with the wide variety of renowned universities and colleges at your doorstep, you are never far from a professional course to help you to dazzle future employers. Whether it’s a programming course you are after, a web design one, or a management course, you will find an abundance of choice in the area to give you a solid foundation in the subject matter.
Take a look at the courses listed below for some inspiration.
City of Glasgow College
In the words of the establishment:
“As one of Scotland’s leading IT certification providers, City of Glasgow College is the perfect place to train in IT and enhance your career prospects in an increasingly digital world.”
It is hard to beat a course that is offered and delivered by a renowned scholarly establishment boasting excellent and well-trained tutors. Along with many other courses, City of Glasgow College offers professional courses including the following:
IT Professional Training
This training provider offers an introductory course named Digital Literacy, which has been designed with our new age digital world in mind. Since most of our information is digital, being literate in the various forms of technology and understanding the terminology is vital.
“Digital literacy is the solution to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and analyze information using digital technology. It involves a working knowledge of current high-technology and an understanding of how it can be used. Further, digital literacy involves a consciousness of the technological forces that affect culture and human behaviour. Digitally literate people can communicate and work more efficiently, especially with those who possess the same knowledge and skills.
Research around digital literacy is concerned with wider aspects associated with learning how to effectively find, use, summarize, evaluate, create, and communicate information while using digital technologies, not just being literate at using a computer.”
During this course, you will cover topics such as:
As already brushed upon, online courses can be the way forward for many students.
Online courses are really convenient and as effective as going to a group study session. Photo credit: Johan.V. on Visualhunt
Glasgow Libraries Digital Learning
For those who are nervous around computers, or who want to master browsing the Internet with purpose, or doing online shopping at pace, the Glasgow Libraries Digital Learning team has put together a course for you.
The team offers a range of free training courses and digital support at libraries across the city, including a ‘Getting Started’ beginners course, Introduction to iPad/tablet devices and the European Computer Driving License (ECDL).
Below is a breakdown of the other courses on offer, some of which are free or funded.
Getting Started With Computers
A free tutor-led course designed for individuals who have little or no computer experience. This course runs over 6 sessions each lasting for 2.5 hours.
Topics covered include:
A free tutor-led course which runs over 4 sessions each lasting 2 hrs.
Topics covered include:
An introduction to iPad & Tablet Devices
A free 4 week beginners class to help you understand and learn the basic functions of an iPad or Tablet device.
Certificated by the BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT, the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) is an internationally recognised qualification and perfect for learners who want key computer skills and proficiency in the use of the most common applications.
ECDL has 7 modules and covers the following topics:
• IT User Fundamentals
• Using Email and the Internet
• Security for IT Users
• Spreadsheet software
• Presentation software
• Word Processing Software
• Database Software
This cost of this online course is £200* which includes access to all learning materials, an assessment, and exam per module and access to drop-in support sessions.
*This course is approved for Individual Training Account (ITA) funding, for which you may be eligible.
In addition, there are the following to consider: