"Our camps and workshops offer a space where girls of color can learn computer science and coding principles alongside their peers, with mentorship from female role models who have established themselves in tech fields where women, and minority women in particular, tend to be underrepresented."- Kimberly Bryant (technologist and electrical engineer at biotechnology field, Genentech)

For most people, learning a new skill is not always as easy or straightforward as it may seem. This is especially true of information and communications technology or computer science.

Check out the best schools to study computer science.

Last year Lloyds Bank released a report stating that 11.5 million people in the UK lacked basic digital skills, and the Office for National Statistics also noted that an estimated 9% of the population had never used the internet.  Even though computers often form an important part of our private lives, do we actually know how to properly use them?

Pinpointing the best way to learn ICT or locating suitable IT training courses is not easy.

Specialised courses, well-established computing and technology colleges and schools, online courses such as online computer courses, online coding courses or IT courses to familiarise oneself with computers and commonly used users interfaces - the possibilities are endless but finding the right one for you takes time!

Learning a Profession in a Specialist IT College

Looking for a career in information technology? Are you passionate about computer coding and software? Whatever the reason, going to a high quality IT college is always a possibility.

Today, there are a number of opportunities open to the younger generation who are leaning towards professions that are based around digital technology and computing. It is also possible for more mature candidates looking for a career change to take a course of study in ICT. The IT sector is still far from being hit by an economic crisis - make the most of it!

But before choosing an IT college, you should identify your targets in terms of learning.

Are you looking for an initial training, a so-called sandwich course or work-linked training or evening classes?

Programming courses to get you your dream job.
Programming courses at professional computing schools usually have a range of state of the art computer resources and enable students to successfully follow their desired career paths. (Source: Visual Hunt)

ICT Courses at Professional Institutions

You may already have some basic IT skills that may be of help in the near future when it comes to selecting one particular domain over another.

To find what sort of institutions for IT training are out there, you could check on the internet to find some of the best ICT and computing colleges in the UK. Many websites offer an in-depth list of information technology colleges and IT education programs.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with some former IT students from any colleges that you come across, which you think may be suitable. Talking to other learners is an ideal way to get some feedback on their experience at the college and whether there is a possibility to do work experience or an internship and get an idea of the program of study, practical exercises, IT teaching staff any other information you might find useful before applying.

Be aware that amongst all the different IT colleges out there, you will find that there are many different approaches to teaching computing. Even if the course of study has the same title the curriculum may be completely different to another IT college.

While they will all focus on the IT industry, some schools will have a more artistic stance (graphic designer, web designer, etc.) whilst others may be more focused towards specialisms such as teaching IT or engineering.

Before you start your search, therefore, you should decide on which profession or career path you are more geared towards, so that the course will help you to pursue your dream job.

Otherwise, you could always choose an IT college or training program that is more general if you have no idea about what you eventually want to end up doing.

A lot of schools offer courses where the first year of training has quite general framework in order to allow students to familiarise themselves with different subjects relating to information technology so that they have a better idea.

Start taking coding courses online today!

ICT Courses - Possible Career Options

In terms of careers, there are a host of professions to choose from:

  • Systems Integrator
  • Web Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Video Editor
  • IT Technician
  • Ethical Hacker
  • Computer Scientist/Computer Programmer
  • Developer
  • Anti-virus and Computer Security/ Cybersecurity Expert (also known as Information Systems Security Expert)
  • Engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Multimedia Specialist
  • Database Design Expert
  • Database Administrator

Computing requires intelligence and develops key skills that involve problem-solving, designing, visualization and analytics. Higher education courses and information technology degrees (both undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral degrees and associate degree programs) will enable you to have a huge selection of career opportunities in a variety of domains.

Your future career may not have anything to do with computing! Here are some of the domains you could find yourself in:

  • Online Education
  • Financial Aid
  • Psychology
  • Humanities
  • Criminal Justice
  • Information Science
  • Business Management
  • Information security and information assurance
  • Forensic Science
  • Mathematics

In an IT college, students learn different subjects such as HTML language, Javascript and Java programming, JQuery, PHP, MySQL, Python, Ruby, different systems and networks, data analysis, etc.

Some schools accept students according to their own competitive assessments and candidate qualifications and credentials. But make sure you are aware of individual school fees, which can sometimes be rather high and not colleges offer bursaries or scholarships to outstanding students or those suffering financial hardship.

Why Attend Computer Courses Through an Association?

Computer Courses in Associations

There are a variety of ways to learn computing or IT across the country. Turning towards a specific association or society focused on digital information education projects is a good option for many people as they very often offer a range of IT training courses that allow students to learn the fundamental technical skills needed to use a computer and the basics of IT.

Teaching Standard of IT Training Courses

Who are the IT training courses geared towards?

IT training courses offered by associations and societies allow attendees to get an all-round knowledge of computing and a basic understanding of a variety of different IT subjects. A lot of associations offer IT classes for beginners. The main focus for many IT associations is to increase local and national computer literacy rates and first and foremost, to help those who do not know how to use a computer.

This means that most ICT teachers from associations and societies are not IT professionals, computer engineers or experts in the field of digital technology. Many are volunteers with only a basic understanding of computers themselves who simply want to pass on their knowledge to allow local people to learn the basics of using a computer.

You never know, computer courses may just change your life.
Computer courses run by local societies and organisations teach students the basics of how to use a computer. (Source: Visual Hunt)

IT Courses For Beginners

A lot of elderly people require the kind of ICT courses offered by IT associations and societies.

In today's world, so much of what we do, how we interact with local communities and societies and learn new things are done via the internet, which is why it is so essential to be able to use a computer whatever your age.

However, it is not just elderly people who have a need for beginners' IT classes offered by associations. A lot of people choose to take classes through an IT association or society in order to develop certain digital skills needed to enrich their CVs (video editing, photo editing, using software, computer programming, etc.).

Choosing IT classes like these offer attendees the opportunity to learn at there own pace without the pressure of trying to obtain good grades or a specific qualification. This type of IT training course is best for those who are just hoping to gain a bit more computing experience rather than making a career out of computing.

The program of classes offered varies according to the level of digital skills of the attendees (beginner, intermediate or advanced).

Most beginners' ICT courses will provide the chance to discover the basic functions of a computer, how to use practical administrative tools and certain software, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Publisher, Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, and Editor, etc.

The aim of beginners' classes is to allow you to get by independently using a computer. You will probably also find IT courses like this advertised in your local library.

The advantage of taking computer courses via an association or society is that you can choose the type, of course, that best suits you - fortnightly classes, weekly classes, internships, online computer courses at home, etc.

Now all that is left for you to do is to find out from your local library or community center about local organisations offering computing classes near you.

There are a number of local, national and international organizations, such as the Association for Learning Technology,  the International E-Learning Association (IELA) and the Work Based and Placement Learning Association (ASET).

Is it Possible to Take Online Computer Courses?

Now that we are in an age where everything is done via the internet, it is becoming more and more easy to take online computer courses online. From courses in maths to language courses and sewing courses - anything and everything is possible!

So why not consider attending a computer course online too?!

Mastering how to use certain software and gaining skills in computer maintenance, web development, informatics, network administration, technology management, software development or learning coding languages (Java, Python, C+..) - there are a number of ICT courses that allow you to develop knowledge and skills in IT specialisms.

Online computer courses on the go are ideal.
On the toilet or in a takeaway shop? Online computer courses mean that you can work or study any time, any place! (Source: Visual hunt)

And why not make a career out of it?

Coder, graphic designer, senior technician, developer, web designer, maintenance technician, software engineer, computer engineer - there are a lot of different professions that can offer you an interesting career in the years to come.

Learning the basics of IT will broaden your digital technology skills and your understanding of the digital realm. A lot of people also learn the ins and outs of how to use a computer by teaching themselves.

Free online computer courses, Youtube tutorials and lectures, specialist sites, lessons with a teacher via webcam or whatever learning style takes your fancy. Mastering computer skills is just the click of a button away.

From a basic online course to online degree programs where you can gain a bachelors degree from an accredited institution that provides you with an official certification. The course you choose to study and the technical skills you eventually obtain all depend on the targets you set for yourself in terms of your IT learning.

In order to become a computing expert and find a profession in the domain, sometimes it is worth getting yourself a diploma or even a computer science degree. This kind of qualification will make it much easier to find an employment that suits you and negotiate a desirable salary.

Even though you can attain a really high level of computer literacy through IT courses online, networking and gaining connections to professionals in the industry through learning at national academic institutions and universities will help to better launch your career.

However, if you wish to simply add some IT skills to bulk up your CV, IT courses online will do the job nicely and be relatively hassle-free!

Computer systems, information technologies, shortcuts, website creation, computer architecture, perfecting formatting, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, Open Office, Indesign, Adobe Illustrator - it is up to you to decide your program of study according to your future aspirations.

Every learner is different; if you do not know anything about computers at all and do not even have basic IT skills, it will probably be quite difficult to learn to touch type, use the internet, email or other such computer functions and programs without the help of a teacher.

Learning to compute will, therefore, depend on your current level and your learning goals. Make a list of areas that you would like to learn so that you can make a start in looking for the appropriate online resources.

Where to Find a Teacher for Coding Courses and Programming Courses

Computer Courses with a Private Tutor

One of the best ways of learning any kind of computing - be it taking a basic IT training course, a coding course or a computer programming course - one of the best ways to do so is to find a fully qualified teacher who is an expert in the appropriate field.

Just because you decide to take private lessons or do private IT courses does not necessarily mean that you have to do anything very academic.

A lot of tutors offer private lessons in areas that are not very academic and are much more focused on practical learning, such as sewing, knitting, digital painting, digital and non-digital photography or even IT.

Superprof tutors excel at hosting programming courses!

Private lessons can be a good opportunity to gain personally tailored advice and benefit from a program specifically adapted to your needs.

Where can you learn IT
Anyone can take IT courses online - no matter your location or even your age! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Computer Courses - Subject Matter and Curriculum

Apart from learning general subjects, you can also choose to study more specialised subjects, such as programming languages, word processing and text formatting, algorithms, computer networks, IT tools, free software, new technologies, etc.

Whatever your level, the tutor will adapt their teaching their different students to create personalised courses. However, it is still important to know how to find and choose the right computing teacher.

The first lesson with your teacher is very often a trial lesson and is usually an opportunity for you to let your teacher know your expectations for the course and for him to do the same so that you can exchange ideas and create a program of study that suits you.

This is a good way to avoid disappointment later down the line! Don't hesitate to let your teacher know your aspirations and apprehensions when you start - it will be beneficial to both of you!

Above all, it is best to establish a relationship built on trust before you undertake the course - this will ensure that your courses run much more smoothly.

Computer Courses - Teaching, Resources and Curriculum

Whether you are in the comfort of your own home or in a professional computing suite does not make much difference, what matters the most is that you are able to benefit from their presence so that you can gain advice on how to improve your ICT skills in time for your next project!

You will, however, still need the right tools for the lessons ahead. For example, it is impossible to do professional video editing on a very basic old-school computer! Not only will downloading large video editing software programs reduce the speed of your computer, it will probably also slow down the pace of how much you learn each lesson too!

Now all you need to do is decide the pace of your IT classes. Some students prefer to only study one subject area and take only one weekly lesson whilst others prefer to work at a much faster pace and cover many subject areas over several classes each week.

How many classes you choose to take will ultimately depend upon your personal budget and schedule!

Make sure that you find a teacher who is experienced and qualified. Having a teacher who knows how to explain the same coding or computer programming problem in different ways to help you understand will really come in handy. However, be careful - you do not want to find a teacher who spends too long explaining and never moving along to study new course content.

Some IT courses are not suitable for everyone, take your time to find the best IT training course for you. 

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A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.