Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. - Chinese Proverb

If you thought that only computer classes, or computer certificate courses, or a university degree can teach you new skills, think again! Believe that the world is your classroom and you can expand your learning of new technology beyond the realms of online and physical computer classes. Education in the 21st century has navigated beyond the walls of the school and have come to depend a lot on self-learning. 

As they say, practice makes a man perfect. And you can only put theory to practice if you test your knowledge in the real world, beyond the books on information technology and video tutorials on software development. When it comes to computing skills, only practice can help your increase your level of efficiency and expertise. Regardless of the subject or specialization in computer science, you can always find time between your computer classes to test your understanding and do a self-assessment. 

There are plenty of options available in computer courses from a training institute or online classes. You will get an entire computer course list if you search for computer classes near me on Google. Here are the top few to get you started: 

  • Basics of Computer Hardware.

  • Introduction to Microsoft Office Suite.

  • Internet Security and Data Management.
  • Introduction to Programming. 

  • Software Development.

  • Computer Engineering. 
  • Cyber Security.

  • Network Analysis.
  • Cryptography.

  • Web Design and Development.

To make the most of the time spent with your personal IT instructor, Superprof recommends that every learner watch specialized online computer tutorials and talk to people you know who work in IT when you are not attending computer classes. Learn more about information technology and its scope.

Self-Learning Between Computer Classes

Become an effective student by believing in yourself
Self-paced learning can be helpful if you invest time to understand concepts beyond your computer class.

It doesn't take rocket science to gain an understanding of computer technology. All you have to do is invest a few hours at home each day or every week, after your computer class and engage in learning through online video tutorials. You can access a virtual video library on YouTube or other MOOC platforms like Udemy or Coursera. Learn about algorithms and computer codes through these self-paced demo videos that support you with the necessary training to apply the skills, while learning. 

TED Talks

TED Talks can also be an inspirational method of learning. TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a space that is designed to facilitate learning through real-life lessons and experiences. TED invites speakers from all walks of life including the likes of Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, and SpaceX curator, Elon Musk. Imagine the exposure you can have to new ideas in technology just by hearing these experts speak. 

There are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube where you can get free lessons on a huge number of things for those just starting out with computers. Do give these a shot:

  • Getting started with your PC

  • Computer Maintenance

  • Using Programmes and Apps

  • Using Emails

  • Browsing the Internet

Equip yourself with the right computing tools to start off.

Read and Explore

Books converted to e-learning resources
The digital devices are the “new-gen” libraries for students | Source: pixabay.com

Your love for computers can go to the next level if you also love books. There are thousands of books available online and in stores, on computer programming, computing languages, software development, Microsoft Office, computers in business management, and many more. Take your pick from amongst the most common themes covered in computer books, that are also taught in computer classes: 

  • Effective use of Microsoft Word, Spreadsheets, and Powerpoint.

  • Basics of Internet Security.

  • Introduction to Computing Languages like Python, Java, C++

  • Introduction to Machine Learning. 

  • Computer Architecture. 

  • Website Design and Development.

  • Introduction to Information Technology and Information Systems. 

  • How to Use Adobe Creative Cloud.

Popular Books on Computer Science

Based on their reviews and popularity, here is a curated list of the most popular books for learning about computer technology:

  1. Data Visualization Made Simple by Kristen Sosulski.
  2. The Soul of A New Machine by Tracy Kidder.
  3. Structured Computer Organization by Andrew S. Tanenbaum.
  4. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy.
  5. Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen.
  6. The Code Book by Simon Singh.
  7. Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design by Bill Buxton.
  8. The Innovators: How A Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.
  9. Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell.
  10. Elementary Number Theory With Programming. 

Some computer courses also use references from these books. The case studies cited in them are also used to support the learning of students. Online versions of the books are also available on the web. You can access the summary for free but have to pay for the full versions. Don't forget to ask your computer tutor for more such useful books on developing IT skills and knowledge of programming. You can also check out your university library for more resources on computer programming and web designing. 

Adopt A Digital Culture and Technology-based Learning

Online learning is more convenient
Students can study their normal books on their laptops in the form of digital textbooks | Source: The Tutor Website

If you want to become an IT expert, you have to live and breathe computers. It might sound silly, but becoming a genuine “geek” can help you think like an IT technician and feel more comfortable when it comes to using computers.

Why not look for TV series and movies that are popular within the subculture?

Given that those working with computers tend to live on the internet, it isn’t hard to find communities and ask people the types of shows, movies, music, and media they like consuming so that you can get a closer look at the culture surrounding working in IT.

You should drop the notion that “geeks” are social pariahs. In fact, geek culture in the modern age is incredibly popular. In fact:

  • 66% of those under 20 consider the term “geek” a compliment.

  • 43% of those asked said that “geeks” were intelligent.

  • 31% of geeks are thought to do well in their work.

It’s becoming more and more common in popular media for the girl to ditch the “jock” and end up with the “geek”. Watch a few modern series and you’ll see that culture is shifting.

There are several studies showing just how important those in IT are.

While often thought of as ‘losers”, these geniuses have been indispensable since the dawn of the digital age. Businesses are taking notice and paying particular attention to the way in which they are subverting expectations: working in teams, innovating, and being resourceful.”

Regularly Do Programming Exercises

Whether your training focuses on programming in languages like Java, Visual Basic, C++, Python, or MySQL (for managing databases), what better way to practice between your tutorials just like a musician does between their lessons?

There are plenty of interesting sites on programming, app development, and web development.

You’ll find IT news sites with recent developments, tutorials, eBooks to read, etc. Unsurprisingly, the internet is a goldmine for information on IT.

You should ask your tutor about the best sites for this kind of information, too. You can also send them examples of your code over Skype, for example, between your classes.

Can't code yet? Find programming courses through Superprof!

Talk with IT Professionals

Just by talking with IT specialists, you’ll get a better understanding of the digital landscape and the opportunities available to those who master it. If you haven’t found your private tutor yet, this could be the way to do it.

They could also help you with several IT jobs:

  • IT Degrees

  • Becoming an IT Technician

  • Leading an IT department

  • Object-Oriented Programming Specialist

  • Troubleshooting Expert

  • Programmer

  • Network Administrator

With the development of smartphones and apps, big data is central to 21st-century IT and digital technologies. Experts in analyzing data are highly sought after. This might be the career change you've been looking for!

If you are yet to find a course to enroll on and want to know how much tutoring costs, see here.

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