It’s no surprise that eLearning’s on an uphill trend; with Australia’s edtech industry set to grow to $1.7 billion AUD by 2022. As the popularity of online learning continues to highlight its massive economic, educational and environmental benefits, students are turning to such platforms more than ever.
Of course, with ICT among the nation’s leading industries (acquiring a worth of nearly $100 billion AUD), the field has increasingly drawn aspiring professionals for its lucrative job and training opportunities. The rapid growth of the sector, paired with its primarily digital nature, has made it a popular choice for online education providers and its learners alike.
If you’re looking to sharpen your tech skills online, here’s what you’ll need to successfully take up a virtual IT course.
A computer and stable internet connection
It goes without saying, but a quality laptop or desktop computer, along with a reliable, stable internet connection – are non-negotiables for succeeding in an online IT course.
eLearning courses will generally supply their students with all-digital resources, from PDF documents and PowerPoints to lecture recording and video libraries. This selection of multimedia content is, in fact, an advantage online courses have over their traditional counterparts; proven to result in participants learning five times more material due to its adaptability to various learning styles.
However, one can only access and optimise such content through the proper hardware and internet speed. Since general IT courses are software-heavy, and typically require you to work with varying content management, operating, and cloud systems – these tools are considered vital requirements, whether an online learner or otherwise.
Quality digital communication tools
Just because you’re studying online doesn’t mean you’ll be studying alone.
Most online courses require regular communication among course peers and their trainers, so be sure to have reliable tools on hand for keeping in touch and coordinating chats when necessary.
The internet has fortunately holds a wide selection of free, online communication apps and platforms; such as Skype and Zoom for videoconferencing, WhatsApp and Slack for instant messaging, and a wide range of social media avenues for making permanent online connections.
While online learning portals are staple among most eLearning providers – web-based study environments that include discussions forums, messaging platforms, and recorded or real-time workshops – it helps to go the extra mile to keep in contact with coursemates and lecturers.
This not only helps in alleviating the isolation from studying online; it also helps you exchange, discuss, and work on new ideas far more closely with like-minded people. Reaching out this way also helps in forming valuable industry connections for future career ventures and opportunities.
Additionally, having go-to communication tools allows you to easily seek help or promptly receive feedback when needed.
A set schedule and established study goals
The flexible delivery of online courses enables its students to tailor their studies around work, family, and other personal commitments. Because of this, online learners are responsible for establishing a proper schedule that fits in the hours required and deadlines set by the course.
It can also help to set personal study goals to keep you on track of the coursework. Students are recommended to align their training goals according to the “learning objectives” set by the course. Setting benchmarks that ensure consistent progress allows you to manage your time wisely as an online learner; and prevents you from falling victim to procrastination or cramming.
Plenty of IT courses involve the understanding and use of various coding languages and software systems; skills generally mastered through constant practice, experience, and examination. Having a clear-cut schedule and checklist of goals can ensure such needs are met to successfully upgrade your technical skills.
Of course, it’s also important to set limits for yourself, and allow for breaks when necessary. Studies show that a quick mental rest every 50-90 minutes is effective in refreshing one’s attention span and focus. Should all your coding start wearing you out, you’re likely better off kicking back for a bit – rather than wasting time trying to be productive.
A willingness to participate in online communities
Aspiring programmers and developers have a generous selection of online communities and societies to take part in; virtual hubs that enable budding and established IT professionals to share their knowledge and collaborate on projects across all regions of the globe.
As you complete your IT course online, it can help to put your training to practice (and expand your industry network) by joining one of these communities. Not only will you have the opportunity to share what you’ve learned in your program thus far – you’ll also have a chance to learn from developers, coders, and engineers who have mastered their craft throughout the years.
As stated by an African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
As of now, aspiring techies can select from a wide range of diverse communities, each tailored to specific needs and interests. These include Women Who Code, a non-profit organisation that provides a space for women in tech to support, share, and discuss each others ideas; StackOverflow, a general Q&A site for programmers to assist one another in fixing bugs and coding issues; and SitePoint, a community of forums for web designers and developers to exchange tips, tricks, and new information.
The drive to pursue personal projects
Finally, the motivation to pursue your own personal IT projects can sharpen your competitive edge when seeking future career opportunities.
Working on your own creative endeavours as you study allows you to build a substantial portfolio to share with employers, helping you stand out on the job market. Rather than simply stating your skills in a job interview, you can instead show them what you’ve got – whether it’s an impressive archive of past websites you’ve designed, a program you’ve coded all on your own, or improvements made to an existing one; portfolios showcase your skills in ways a simple, cold resume can’t.
Additionally, these allow you to shape your personal brand, as it’s often recommended to add a twist of your own unique personality and character to each project. Depending on your work samples, they may even successfully highlight your soft skills, too.
Tending to personal projects may take a bit more time and effort as you complete your course – but the rewards are well worth it, and may even land you that dream role.
Looking to study IT online?
There’s never been a larger demand for ICT skills, with Australia’s industry predicted to need an extra 100,000 ICT employees by 2024. What better way to upskill in tech than through the flexible, adaptive platforms of online learning?
The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT) offers aspiring IT professionals with courses in web development, cyber security, and general information technology; equipping them with the foundational skills to pursue emerging roles in tech and to “future-proof” their skillsets in an age of automation.
Taught by industry experts with an all-online delivery, students can build the valuable skills required to pursue one of the largest leading industries of the nation.
Enter the world of IT today, and enquire with us on a course.