How to Learn Information Technology

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by Bethanny Parker

Published May 4, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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Technology changes exceedingly rapidly. In fact, computer processing speed doubles approximately every 18 months. That's why keeping up to date in your tech skills is important if you work in the information technology (IT) industry.

When it comes to learning the latest technologies and IT skills, you have several options. Some choose to go to school to earn a bachelor's degree in information technology, while others choose to take an online course or coding bootcamp to get up to speed more quickly.

This guide explains how to learn information technology, either through taking online courses or attending a coding bootcamp. You will also learn about the leading information technology jobs.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps offer an intensive learning environment that enables students to learn everything they need to know to work in an entry-level tech job in just a few months.

While you will be hard-pressed to find a bootcamp that explicitly focuses on "information technology," there are many coding, software engineering, and web development bootcamps that teach fundamental information technology principles.

Coding bootcamps are offered both online and in person, full time and part time. Online courses may be held live or operate asynchronously. If you want maximum flexibility, you should be able to find both self-paced bootcamps and self-paced online courses.

As of 2020, the average coding bootcamp cost about $13,580. This is considerably cheaper than most bachelor's degrees but much more expensive than most online courses. Some bootcamp providers offer scholarships, but the amount is typically much less than the financial aid that would be available to undergraduates pursuing a bachelor's degree.

Online Courses

For those who learn well on their own, online courses may be the best option for learning information technology. Online courses are typically much cheaper than coding bootcamps — sometimes even free! The cost ranges from $20 or less all the way up to $1,000 or more.

Most online courses consist of pre-recorded video and/or text-based lessons and are self-paced. The instructor isn't always available to answer questions so you may have trouble getting help if you don't understand the lessons.

The time commitment required for an online course varies. Most courses state the time required either in hours or weeks. The actual time it takes to complete an online course varies depending on how many hours you put in each day and how much prior knowledge you have when you start the course.

Here are five online courses that teach information technology.

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Pros and Cons of Online Courses
Pros Cons
  • Prestigious schools, such as Harvard and MIT, offer online courses.
  • Most online courses cost less than $1,000, and some are even free.
  • Self-paced online courses allow you to fit your education into your busy schedule.
  • Online courses are often a solitary endeavor. You probably won't have the opportunity to work in groups or teams.
  • The instructor may not spend much time monitoring the course to answer questions.
  • You must be disciplined enough to stick with the course through completion.
Pros and Cons of Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • Coding bootcamps typically cost a lot less than a bachelor's degree.
  • You will have an instructor you can turn to for help if you get stuck.
  • Coding bootcamps provide an intensive learning experience that prepares you for a new career in just a few months. Some even have money-back guarantees if you can't find a job.
  • Coding bootcamps typically cost much more than online courses.
  • Most coding bootcamps have live classes, so you have to log in at a specific time to attend class.
  • Full-time bootcamps require 40 hours per week or more, making it difficult to work while attending the bootcamp.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn Information Technology

Columbia University

  • Location: Remote, New York City
  • Program Cost: $13,995
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Columbia University offers a coding bootcamp that can be completed in 12 weeks full time or 24 weeks part time. This coding bootcamp teaches full-stack web development through an immersive, fast-paced curriculum.

Students learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They also learn jQuery, Node.js, Express.js, and React.js. Students practice teamwork by working together with their peers to build complex applications and complete real-world projects.

Visit Bootcamp

Devmountain

  • Location: Remote, Dallas, Lehi
  • Program Cost: $7,900
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Devmountain offers several coding bootcamps, including web development, Java software engineering, and Python software engineering. The web development bootcamp focuses on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while the Java and Python bootcamps focus on their respective programming languages.

Regardless of which coding bootcamp you choose, DevMountain provides career support, helping you build your brand by strengthening your resume and social media presence. The bootcamp provider will provide career advice and help you prepare for job interviews.

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Fullstack Academy

  • Location: Remote, New York City
  • Program Cost: $15,881
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
CIRR Member
Evening & Weekend Options

Fullstack Academy's software engineering immersive prepares students for a software engineering career in just 17 weeks. Students learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript during the first four weeks. The next few weeks focus on front-end and back-end development and databases. The program culminates with three real-world projects.

According to data reported to the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, 91.3% of graduates from its 2019 software engineering immersive programs in New York and Chicago were employed within 365 days of completing the bootcamp. These professionals reported a median salary of $82,500.

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Georgia Tech

  • Location: Remote, Atlanta, Peachtree Corners, Savannah
  • Program Cost: $10,000
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Georgia Tech Professional Education offers a coding bootcamp that teaches full-stack web development in 12 weeks full time or 24 weeks part time. Students learn CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. They also learn agile methodology, Bootstrap, jQuery, React.js, and SQL.

Students build their teamwork skills by working with other students on real-world projects that can be added to their portfolios. Graduates receive a certificate of completion from Georgia Tech Professional Education.

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Springboard

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $11,900
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-paced

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options
Money-Back Guarantee

Springboard offers a software engineering bootcamp that features 800 hours of content. The program features hands-on projects and personal mentorship. Students also have access to a career coach for practice interviews and job search strategies.

Students learn front-end development first, then back-end development with Python, Flask, and SQL. Students also learn how to build APIs using Node.js and Express.js. Springboard graduates have been hired by Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Verizon.

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Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at cirr.org.

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.

Methodology

Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

Information Technology Jobs

Software Engineer

Software engineers plan, build, and maintain software programs. They often work with designers to figure out how to make programs user-friendly. They also work with programmers or developers who may help to code pieces of the program.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, April 2022)
$88,540

Information Technology Support Specialist

IT support specialists know how to set up, install, service, and upgrade computers. They also know how to set up and maintain networks. IT support specialists may have to move computer equipment or crawl in tight spaces to reach cables. IT support specialists often work with customers, offering guidance and support.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, April 2022)
$51,210

Information Technology Manager

IT managers oversee their company's computer infrastructure. They manage IT security and network technology. They also manage data storage for the company. IT managers also oversee the communication and data use needs of employees.

Average Annual Salary (Payscale, April 2022)
$89,060

What Are the Benefits of an Information Technology Certification?

There are many different information technology certifications, including CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, and CompTIA Security+. These certifications may be required for some jobs, and they can help the candidate stand out from other applicants even if they aren't required.

Being certified can lead to advancement in one's career, either by moving up within the company or by moving to a better role at a different company.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Information Technology

Is information technology easy to learn?

How hard it is to learn information technology depends on your background and the area of information technology you are learning. If you have lots of experience with computers, you'll have an easier time in an IT course or coding bootcamp than someone who has no experience at all.

It also depends on what exactly you are learning. Setting up a workstation may be relatively easy, but setting up a network may be a bit harder. Depending on what you plan to do in IT, you may need to learn SQL, Active Directory, or VoIP. All of these things have their own learning curve. In general, information technology requires less math and theory than other technology fields such as computer science.

Where can I learn information technology for free?

Online providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a good place to start your search for free online IT courses. You can start with the two free courses listed above offered by Alison and Western Governors University.

YouTube also offers plenty of online video tutorials for students who want to learn information technology. You can find anything from a nine-minute video on 10 things to know before getting into IT to a 3.5-hour fundamentals of IT crash course by Google.

What is the best way to learn information technology?

The best way to learn IT depends on whether you are a strong independent learner or someone who needs more guidance. If you do well with self-paced courses, the online courses listed above may be a good option for you. Keep in mind that you'll need to remain disciplined to stick with the course through the end. It's easy to get distracted and lose interest.

If you need more help, you'll likely find a coding bootcamp to be a better choice. The biggest benefit is that you have an instructor if you need to ask for help. Bootcamps provides a structured curriculum and are designed to help you find a job in the IT field.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/index.asp.


Feature Image: Hinterhaus Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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