In our modern era, there are few skill sets you can learn that is more valuable than information technology. IT skills are in high demand in virtually every sector of the workforce, ranging from finance to construction to cybersecurity and marketing.

No matter what you find interesting or what industry you want to join, having a healthy collection of IT skills under your belt can only improve your chances of getting employed and earning a high salary in the United States.

It also helps that IT skills are some of the most interesting and valuable to learn for everyday life. Almost all of us use the magical devices provided to us from IT technicians, like smartphones or personal computers, every day. But far fewer of us actually know how those wonderful devices are constructed or how they work.

Whether you want to accumulate IT skills for your career prospects or are just interested in learning more about your favorite tech gadgets, it’s always a great thing to find basic computer classes in Chicago.

If you want to use local resources or you have access to a computer for online offerings, there are several ways you can find IT courses in Chicago and benefit from these versatile skills. Similar guides are available for NYC and Philadelphia.

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You can choose the way YOU want to learn.  Image Source: Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

What Skills Should IT Students Learn?

The field of information technology is as varied and broad as any other major subject like English or mathematics. There are lots of IT subjects in which you can specialize or plenty of general skills that will be useful for virtually any IT job and for understanding your daily devices.

The best news is that it’s easy to find both advanced and beginner computer classes for practically any IT subject you can imagine. Some of the more readily available classes you can find will likely cover:

Coding

Coding is arguably the foundational subject you’ll need to learn before you can proceed to other IT concepts. Coding is a lot like learning spelling and grammar before moving on to writing essays and analyzing literature. It deals with how programming works and how it affects the rest of the IT-sphere.

Coding is also quite interesting even though it's a foundational concept within the subject. For instance, you'll be able to find everything from basic computer skills classes to advanced computer classes that teach you different coding languages like Python or JavaScript.

While some coding languages may follow a similar logic, each class you take provides you with another path to mastery of a unique skill that you can put on your resume or enjoy for your own programming copy.

AI and Machine Learning

Chicago is a very modern city, so it’s no surprise that you’ll be able to find lots of advanced computer classes dealing with AI and machine learning within the city. AI and machine learning are newer IT concepts that are likely to affect the field in the near and far future.

As our technology becomes more sophisticated, we’ll be able to program automated “bots” to do the majority of our busy work for us.

This is an incredibly valuable skill to learn in terms of the job market. But it’s also a great skill because it will help you learn to identify bots in your social media spaces. Furthermore, understanding AI and machine learning can let you segue into understanding more about cybersecurity.

Like with many IT subjects, AI and machine learning are deeply integrated with the rest of information technology as a whole.

Virtualization

Another newer IT skill that is just starting to show up across many tutors or schools is virtualization. It’s a key concept for companies of all sizes, and it focuses on increasing IT efficiency and agility. In a nutshell, virtualization emphasizes fluid digital architecture and can even help companies transform to primarily Cloud computing businesses.

Partial view of coding screen on laptop.
Coding is fun when you know how to read it.  Image Source: Pexels.

Lots of Learning Pathways

Regardless of what skill you actually want to pursue, there are plenty of ways to get the knowledge you need and train yourself to become a proficient IT expert.

Online Learning Options

For starters, don't get tied to the idea that you have to go to some form of college just to learn about IT subjects. The reality is that thanks to the Internet and its flexibility, it's easier than ever to find someone who can teach you whatever you like over the web.

Take online tutoring, for example. One of the best platforms for connecting students with capable and knowledgeable tutors is Superprof, which provides a way for students to review tutors and a system for students to search for new instructors based on price or other aspects.

In a nutshell, it lets you take control of finding a personalized tutor for your learning needs. It’s even relatively easy on your wallet thanks to its low prices.

But beyond Superprof, there are also several other online learning academies you can take advantage of. Khan Academy is a great example, though they aren’t specifically for IT. But they do include plenty of IT courses within their catalogs. Some of these classes are free, although you may want to pay for a membership to get the most bang for your buck.

Local Resources

Chicago itself has a series of amazing coding opportunities you can take advantage of if you physically live within traveling distance. These coding boot camps are all either low cost or don’t cost any cash at all, and they provide you with physical locations where you can interact with other students and instructors as you learn how to code in various languages.

This choice is great if you want to shore up your foundational IT knowledge and aren't necessarily interested in a full-on certificate or degree.

Three smiling people in dark office setting.
Coding boot camps are just one example of learning in a physical location. Image Source: Jopwell from Pexels

Colleges

That being said, if you do want to proceed into IT as a career and get a degree certifying your expertise, you’ll need to head to some kind of college. Luckily for you, Chicago is a great place to find IT higher education institutions.

Community college is a great choice for those on a budget or for students that aren’t 100% committed to IT as a career. They offer affordable classes and can eventually lead to an associate degree in an IT subject while providing you with the basics of many IT concepts like cybersecurity or programming.

Meanwhile, four-year universities, like the Illinois Institute of Technology, are excellent choices if you want to commit to an IT profession for your career. Not only does this school and others like it offer lots of advanced adult computer classes in virtually any IT subject you imagine, but they also provide you with many opportunities for networking and for work experience avenues.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, the right IT educational pathway for you should reflect your overall educational goals rather than following the same route everyone else takes.

For instance, we wouldn’t recommend that you spend lots of money on a four-year university if you are interested in IT in a general way.

Four-year universities are really only worthwhile if you are certain that you want to pursue IT as a career. On the other hand, community colleges or finding a tutor on Superprof are both much better ways to check out IT as a subject with foundational courses and classes. You'll be able to see if this subject is right for you in the long term before spending lots of cash.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope this guide has been helpful and has shown all of the resources that Chicago has to offer. It’s truly a remarkable city, and if you take advantage of everything within, there’s no limit to the IT knowledge you accumulate. Good luck!

Thinking about relocating within the United States?  Check out our guides for Houston and Los Angeles

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