There are a lot of great resources out there for people who want to learn about IT, but they can be quite pricey. Here are some great resources to learn a ton – for free!
IT can be a pretty expensive field to be in – you might realistically spend $50 for a book on a topic you’re trying to learn about, drop $2,000 on a bootcamp to get up to speed on a topic in a matter of days, or even pay $3,000 to attend a conference each year. If you’re already in the field and (presumably) making beaucoup dollars, you may not worry about it too much and chalk it up as the costs of continuing to be in the field.
But what if you’re broke or on a budget?
They say the second best price for something is “free.” (The best price is actually getting someone to pay you for the product!) With that in mind, let’s take a look at resources available to you right now without having to shell out a single penny!
Free books on Amazon
It’s no secret that I love PowerShell and have frequently recommended PowerShell in a Month of Lunches as a great book to get started. But, there are tons of free books that can be found for free on Amazon if you don’t mind reading them on your Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? Get the free Kindle app on your phone! This book will teach you PowerShell basics for free! Or, if you’re looking for a more niche book about PowerShell, how about this one about using PowerShell within AWS?
To find free books, simply set your Amazon filters to search for Kindle books and look for the ones with a price of $0. Note: Some will only be free if you have a Kindle membership, so make sure to look for the ones that are just plain free.
You probably know about this one already. I’ve previously recommended Mike Meyer’s Total Seminars Channel but there are tons of other videos available. The downside to YouTube learning is that it can be a bit scattershot, which brings me to one of my favorite free resources…
Your local library
For more regimented learning paths, try your local library. Did you know that many libraries will make paid sites available to you for free? For example, my local library system in Arlington, Virginia, allows me to access Lynda.com for free. All you need is a library card, which itself is free. You sign up for Lynda from the library’s site, and anytime you want to use it you go through the library portal instead of going to Lynda’s site. It’s free to you as long as you have a library card! Lynda and sites like it have tons of learning paths, so if you want to learn Azure, for example, you could just take all their beginner Azure courses, then move in to intermediate, and so on. There’s enough content on there to keep you busy for years, and they’re always adding more!
To find out what’s available with your library system, try doing a Google search for the name of your system along with the name of an online learning resource. If nothing pops up, try the search with another resource. For example, in the case of Arlington’s library, you could try these searches:
Arlington Virginia library Udemy
Arlington Virginia library Coursera
Arlington Virginia library Lynda
The first two would not have brought back any results and the last one would have gotten you the result you’re looking for. Try it now with your library system!
If you’re already working, see if your job will provide reimbursement for learning. You don’t actually need to be working in IT yet; many jobs in other fields might reimburse you for learning more about tech. For example, if you’re a teacher your school might be willing to reimburse you for taking a coding class if you express interest in teaching a coding class. Ask around to see if there are any educational benefits at your workplace!
If you’re between the ages of 16 and 24, look into Jobcorps. They will give you room and board and train you in a variety of different fields, several of which are IT fields. This is great if you’re in a tight situation (such as having gotten kicked out from home) because not only will they prepare you for a great career, they’ll also give you a place to stay and feed you while you’re in the program. Wow!
There are tons of free resources out there for you to learn, many more than I’ve listed here. (I’ve got to leave myself some material for future posts, after all!) Before you spend any money on your education, first ask yourself: “Can I learn this for free?”
The answer is probably “yes!”
With each post, I cover a new topic to help you get your start (or keep progressing) in your IT career. If it’s your first time visiting this blog, start here. Or, see all my posts about interview questions you should be able to answer.