There is no shortage of advice for independent contractors in all sectors, including technology, preaching that professional development, skills enhancement, and training are crucial for success. After all, if you’re not growing as a professional in the IT industry, then you’re very quickly falling behind.
In reality, finding both the time and money to sit through courses is increasingly challenging as our days get busier. The good news is that the traditional classroom setting and its high costs are a thing of the past, you just need to find the best resources. To help you out, we put together one of the most comprehensive lists of online learning websites on the Internet. (Note: all sites are listed in alphabetical order and Eagle does not recommend any specific resource over the other.)
Free or Low-Cost Online Sources
There is a variety of websites that offer free or low-cost training courses in practically any subject, and with no shortage of IT-related topics. All of the websites in this list offer at least a few online courses for free or at a cost under $50; however, many also have more extensive training and higher prices or require upgrades to earn their official diploma. Another feature of many of these sites is that they partner with institutions, colleges and universities around the world, ensuring the training is credible and up-to-date.
- Class Central
- Cognitive Class
- How Design University
- Khan Academy
- The Gymnasium
Subscription-Based Online Learning Websites
While not free, these websites offer fantastic value if you’re looking at doing a wide range of training. They offer unlimited training videos and sessions with a monthly subscription, and often there is a free trial available.
If you’re willing to invest in a full tuition but don’t want to enroll in your local school, then either of these sites may be an option for you. They provide access to full diplomas or degrees.
Especially in IT, certifications are a top differentiator between you and other independent contractors. Which certification you work towards fully depends on your skill and specialty, but we highly recommend you get at least one under your belt. Global Knowledge offers training to a variety of the top certifications, but if you’d prefer to get them directly, here are a few more links:
- Agile Advice
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
- Project Management Institute
- Scrum Alliance
Tutorials, Forums, and Reference Sites
Perhaps you’re not seeking formal training or a new line on your resume, but instead some helpful information to brush-up on your skillset or get you through a current project. These free online resources are full of just that information, and provide you the opportunities to network with other IT professionals.
- HTML Dog
- Mozilla Developer
- Stack Overflow
Company-Specific Product Training
Finally, all of the world’s top software and IT organizations offer training to their own products. Here are just a few of the most popular:
- Apple Developer
- Google Developers
- IBM developerWorks
- IBM Skills Gateway
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Oracle University
That’s our currently list of online IT training sources and these types of websites are always growing. If you find more that you love, please pass them along. We’d also love to hear your feedback and experience — positive or negative — about any of the websites listed here. Please share your comments and suggestions in the section below.