Different Ways to Become an IT TechJuly 2, 2021 No Comments
Featured article by Jenna Christine
Degrees, certifications, and self-paced courses are all possible avenues for becoming a skilled IT technician. But with so many options to choose from, it can be tricky deciding the right path for your career. The biggest question is how much money and time you have to invest. The most expensive option in both of those cases is an undergraduate degree, which takes approximately four years to complete. During that time, you can possibly gain some paid experience on the side, but you likely won’t be able to even fit in additional work responsibilities until you’ve completed your course.
One of the most attractive aspects of the technology field is the fact that non-traditionalists can still become highly successful. Rather than being forced to follow the traditional college route, there are many business owners and freelancers who set their own hours, choose their own clients and live happily doing what they love without spending years of their lives in school. But that doesn’t mean opting out of the college experience means less work. In order to compete with other candidates, you’ll need a strong portfolio that demonstrates your skills. Any certification you can provide is a plus, especially if you want to work for companies that are accustomed to candidates with both academic and professional credentials.
How Much Does an IT Degree Cost?
A bachelor’s in information technology costs between $8,000 to $35,000, but these prices will vary depending on where you go to school and whether you live on campus. You can study on campus or online. The latter offers greater flexibility, making it ideal for students who have families, work or other responsibilities. If you’re looking into IT as a career change, then an online degree is the best way to expand your knowledge and skill set without having to compromise your income.
Even if you are currently working, college is an investment, and most people don’t have enough funds in reserve to pay for their entire program on their own. This is where financing options come into play. Scholarships are available and worth pursuing, but most of them won’t be enough to cover your entire tuition. Exploring student loans is the best choice if you know you’ll need to borrow money to pay for your degree. Private student loans can help you attend college without financial worries, regardless of your current employment status or how you choose to study.
Are IT Certification Courses Worth It?
You will have no problem finding coding bootcamps and IT classes online and in person but be wary. Some of these courses run as much as a degree, and while they may offer guaranteed employment, there’s a catch. When a school says you aren’t responsible for tuition until you get a job, you are entering an agreement to allocate a certain percentage of your future salary to repayments. This can nearly half your starting wages, which leaves you in a tough financial spot even if you’ve landed a good-paying job.
Certification programs do have their merit, though, so long as you know which ones are really worth paying for. Many professionals acquire additional IT certifications to learn additional skills and qualify for new positions. Beginners who are looking to break into the field will need a fundamental, validated program. Two of the most widely recognized are the CompTIA A+ and ITL Foundation courses.
Can You Teach Yourself IT Skills?
With so much information available online, you may think it is a waste of money to pay for any type of formal instruction. While there are some experts out there who are entirely self-taught, you will likely face difficulty securing a good position if you have no professional credentials validating your knowledge and skills of new tech trends, which evolve at a rapid pace. Browse listings for IT jobs near you and look at the preferred qualifications or requirements. In 99 percent of the posts, you’ll see some type of certification and/or a bachelor’s degree as well as one to three years of work experience listed.
Although you should get started learning what you can on your own, the best way to start your career is to invest in a proper education. It’s expensive upfront, but the money you can earn thanks to the increased job opportunities is worth it. Not to mention the fact that a forma degree often comes with more opportunities to network and build a strong resume.
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