How to get into IT (on a budget)

    In the past few years I’ve noticed a trend that some people might be able to take advantage of if they’ve been wanting to break into IT as a new career path or people currently in IT who want to branch out to something different. I’ve noticed a demand for people with cloud knowledge and it’s pretty easy to get that knowledge these days for cheap and, in most cases, completely free. If you have a pretty good understanding of how computers and the internet work already, it’s one of the easier paths to take in IT because it’s all still fairly new and developing so with just some basic knowledge it’ll put you at an advantage.

    Cloud computing

    While a lot of start-ups immediately dive straight into the cloud, a lot of existing companies are still mostly on-premise (meaning they have their own hardware). This gives people with cloud knowledge an advantage once these companies start transitioning into the cloud because I’ve found a lot of the existing IT staff don’t really know about it because they don’t need to since their primary focus is on-premise infrastructure. Getting that knowledge can make you a valuable resource when those companies start posting job openings for people to help move and manage their new cloud environment along with helping guide and train their existing staff.

    Here are some free and cheap resources to get you started on this path and once you start learning the basics, the more advance stuff does get easier to understand also. And while every cloud platform is different, a lot of the core principals are the same (sometimes just different names and lingo, but usually very similar to setup and manage).


    Okay, so not “technically” the cloud, VMware does have its own cloud platform so learning how to manage VMware is a double win because you’ll be learning about how to manage their cloud while also learning how to manage one of the most popular on-premise virtualization platforms out there so this is just a bonus. Managing VMware is pretty simple in terms of IT skill difficulty (the GUI is very intuitive), so with a little training you should be able to get the basics down. While VMware’s cloud platform isn’t as widely used, they have been pushing for it heavily over the past few years so it can’t hurt to learn it, especially when VMware offers you a bunch of free resources.

    • VMware Learning – $0 – Video training, technical slides, documentation, and other options from VMware. Free account required
    • Hands-On Labs – $0 – Access to VMware sandboxes for learning, no need to setup anything yourself. If you learn by doing, then this is for you. Free account required
    • Lightning Labs – $0 – Same as the Hands-On Labs but these are quick 30 minutes or less training sessions. Free account required

    Amazon’s AWS

    Amazon’s AWS cloud is probably the most popular cloud platform out there so it’s a good one to know, in my experience though it’s probably one of the more complex ones though so it’ll take some time to understand everything it has to offer. Fortunately, Amazon is offering A LOT of training free of charge on their learning website including some AWS certificate prep training so you can get some actual certificates to add to your resume and give you that edge when you go job hunting. Additionally, Amazon offers a free tier for AWS so if you learn better by doing the work you can get hands on for free (with limitations of course).

    • Amazon Online Learning – $0-? – Amazon offers online learning options for lots of topics, but it looks like all or most of their AWS training is completely free (at the time of writing this). An Amazon account is probably required

    Microsoft’s Azure

    And last for this post, but definitely not least, is Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform which is in my opinion one of the easiest to learn and manage. It’s probably not as widely used as Amazon’s AWS, but it’s definitely up there (along with Google’s GCP). I find that a lot of places that currently run Windows boxes tend to gravitate towards Azure so if you’re already familiar with Windows then this might be the logical path for you. Like AWS, Azure also has a free tier so you can get hands-on with it and learn that way if it better suits you. While I’m sure Microsoft offers some great training on Azure, I couldn’t really find whether it was free or not. To be honest, the resource I’m going to share might be better anyways because it’s from PluralSight which I’ve been using for other training and it’s been very good. This is the only paid training on this list but it’s on Humble Bundle so it’s a really good deal for some high quality training.

    • Humble Bundle’s Master Azure Bundle – $1-$25 – The $25 bundle includes 20 training courses, lots of them for beginners but also some advanced training for when you’re ready. 14+ days left as of this writing

    So there we have it, just a few resources I’ve found over the past weekend that I wanted to share to hopefully inspire people to jump into IT or the cloud itself. As you may have noticed, I had mentioned but didn’t have a section for Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This was mainly because I didn’t do a whole lot of searching for this platform yet (even though it’s definitely up there in popularity). I hope to research more learning opportunities and share them here as I find them. The ones I mentioned were either brought to my attention and looked really nice or I had already known about them and had good experiences with them.

    If you have any specific questions, requests, ideas, concerns, or anything else please let me know either via Twitter or e-mail.

    Go out and do good things!

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