The Best Free Online Computer Courses

The Internet boasts a wealth of free computer training for those who know where to look. Here are some of the best free online courses available right now.

This article will be updated continually with the latest and greatest schools and courses.

Rankings are unbiased; ITCareerFinder receives no compensation from links to the best free online courses.

best free online computer courses

Nonprofit organizations, technology companies, and educational institutions provide free computer courses across all IT subjects and skill levels. Some do this to expose more people to their software or hardware, while others strive to make top-notch education more accessible. Regardless of the training provider’s mission, self-motivated learners can capitalize on this massive cache of free online computer training to grow their skill set, earn certifications to validate their expertise to prospective employers, and gain exposure to new IT careers.

To compile our list of the best free computer courses, we looked at numerous factors including relevance of curriculum, ease of accessibility, course quality, and provider reputation. We also endeavored to represent the top training options across multiple categories and skill levels.

In no particular order, here are our favorite online training providers and their best free computing courses:

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How Important are IT Certifications for Landing that Dream Microsoft Tech Job?

Value of Microsoft Certifications

"Skills gap" is a phrase that anyone working in the digital skills arena will have heard a lot over the past couple of years. The information technology job market is booming right now, with open positions massively exceeding the number of qualified candidates available to fill them.

Job seekers have more choice, and more leverage, than ever before. But just because it’s a candidates’ market doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be pulling out all the stops to put yourself head and shoulders above your competition.

The growing talent shortage offers a tremendous opportunity to tech workers willing to throw themselves into that skills gap and fill it. Transforming yourself into the ideal candidate will not only put you ahead of others in the market, but it gives you leverage to land a higher salary and better benefits.

One of the best ways to bolster your skills and make your value abundantly clear is by earning certifications. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to give you the edge—a recent survey found that 54% of Microsoft tech professionals hold an official Microsoft certification, making it a smart move for those wishing to compete in the market.

Which certification is best for you depends on your career plans and what you’re looking to specialize in, but there’s no doubt that simply having an accreditation on your resume will boost your marketability. It could substantially improve your earning potential too; research by Microsoft found that 23% of Microsoft Certified technologists received a 20% salary increase after earning their certification.

Why do hiring managers value these certifications when considering candidates?

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DevOps: Hot Skills, Tools, & Certifications

A breakdown of the myriad skills, platforms, and credentials that will help you succeed in the red-hot field of DevOps engineering.

DevOps Skills and Tools

What is DevOps, and why is it smoking hot right now?

DevOps is a combination of the words Development and Operations. An approach to software development with roots in Agile, DevOps breaks down the walls that separate the software development side of IT from the operations side. DevOps has many goals including improved communications between software development and IT operations staff, and the better, faster creation of applications that are immediately fit for production use.

DevOps is hot due to its proven competitive business advantages. “High-performing organizations [in this context, organizations that use DevOps] decisively outperform their lower-performing peers. They deploy [software] 200 times more frequently, with 2,555 times faster lead times, recover 24 times faster, and have three times lower change failure rates.” – The Puppet 2016 State of DevOps Report.

To prepare for a career in DevOps, learn what skills are in greatest demand, the tools and technologies you should master, and the certifications that can show employers you measure up.

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Top Paying IT Certifications for 2015

Top Paying IT Certifications 2015

In the rapidly shifting IT landscape, certifications are the most reliable tool employers have to validate your skills in the latest computer systems and IT job roles. These ten certifications will have the greatest impact on your salary in 2015 and beyond.

Technical training leader, Global Knowledge, and respected industry publication turned online community, Windows IT Pro, recently published their 2015 IT Skills & Salary Report -- featuring a comprehensive salary survey of more than 16,300 IT professionals -- giving us valuable insight as to just how much the leading IT certifications can increase your earnings.

Most remarkable this year is the dominance of information security credentials, sweeping the top three spots and representing half of 2015’s top 10 highest paying certifications. Certificates in network design and administration, as well as those that demonstrate knowledge on the business side of IT, in areas like project and service management, are also hot right now.

To reduce statistical anomalies, this list only includes certifications with at least 100 salary survey responses.

Here are this year’s highest paying technical certifications:

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Top 10 Highest Paying IT Certifications for 2014

Alongside marketplace demand, salary is a key factor in deciding which IT certifications to pursue. These ten credentials will maximize your earning potential through 2014.

Top Paying Certifications 2014

In addition to keeping the “lights” on, organizations want an IT workforce that will help cut costs, manage risk and influence smarter business decisions. IT professionals with skills in virtualization, information security, business intelligence, software development and project management are best poised to achieve these goals, so it’s no surprise that credentials in these hot and emerging domains will dominate the top paying IT certifications in 2014.

This post will break down the tech certifications with the highest earning potential, according to the industry-respected 2013 IT Skills & Salary Report by Global Knowledge and Windows IT Pro. To eliminate statistical anomalies, this ranking only includes certificates with 100 or more responses.

Here are the top paying IT certifications for 2014:

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Certification Path for Cyber Security Professionals

Subject matter experts break down a best-in-class certification track for IT security professionals.

cyber security certification path

As cyber attacks continue to escalate in frequency and sophistication, businesses are making it a top priority to acquire talent who can help protect their digital data and infrastructure. In a high-stakes field where protocols change at the speed of attackers' imagination, only those with the latest and greatest skills will succeed. Certifications are the best way to prove the value and relevance of your cyber-security skill set to prospective employers.

With dozens of globally-recognized certifications to choose from, mapping out a cyber security learning plan can feel overwhelming. This post will break down an ideal vendor-neutral certification track for IT security professionals.

Why vendor-neutral? Vendor-neutral certifications demonstrate expertise that can be applied across multiple technologies, as opposed to vendor-specific certifications, which validate skills in a particular product line, such as Cisco network devices. Once you have the job (or have it in your sights) and you know which technologies the company uses, then it’s time to pursue vendor-specific certs.

Here is a rock-solid certification path for general cyber security professionals:

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IT Certification Path for Network Administrators

it-certifications-network-admin
Darril Gibson, certified technical trainer and best-selling author of IT study guides, lays out a rock-solid IT certification path to begin or advance your career as a network administrator. Aspiring ...
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IT Certifications vs. Experience vs. Degree

Scott Skinger, CEO and Founder of TrainSignal, answers the age-old question of aspiring IT professionals; “Which is most important to landing the job: IT certifications, real-world experience or a college degree?”

it certifications vs experience

It’s that inevitable fork in the road for an IT professional. Determining the path that will lead you to the most success when sprucing up your resume to land that next job. What are employers looking for? Certifications? Experience? Degrees? Some combination of the three? It’s a dilemma faced by many looking to launch or advance their careers.

Ten years ago, I founded my company TrainSignal to develop training courses that help IT professionals learn new skills to grow their careers. Over the years, I've spoken to a lot of hiring managers to understand what grabs their attention when evaluating resumes. As it turns out, most are zoning in on those three factors: IT certifications, hands-on experience and education. So how do you determine the right blend to wow your future employer?

Here are some considerations when weighing the value of certifications, experience and degrees:

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Online IT Schools

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