IT Certification & Training Overview

< An Overview of IT Certification & Training Areas >

IT Certification & Training : An Overview

If you know the certification or vendor that you're interested in, then click on the appropriate category in the right-hand side-bar

If you know the certification or vendor that you're interested in, then click on the 'Search All Courses & Explore Training Categories' button above

If you're unsure about what area you'd like to train towards then you can check out our IT Careers pages, or have a read of our IT Career Outlines, or click on one of the choices below to investigate your options...

I'm Interested in A New IT Career

If you're considering a career-move into IT and have questions...

I'm Considering A Career Change

If you want a career-change, but don't know yet what you want to do...

I Want Office
and/or User Skills

If you're looking for office or user skills to enhance your CV or knowledge...

Or why not just download our FREE comprehensive information pack below? It's crammed with useful IT certification outlines, career information and industry advice. You should also read our guidelines on current certification standards - as these do change every now and then.

FREE : IT Certification & Career Training Guide

There's So Much Information... Where Do I Start?

If you're looking at some type of computer training, then the first thing to consider is what your ultimate goal is: Are you looking at simply improving your ability to use your computer at home, or are you looking for more in-depth training for your CV or job? Then of course, you may be looking to change your career completely and get into the IT industry itself.

So... Begin With The End In Mind

Deciding on what you want to achieve from your training is always your first priority. Then, when you know where you're headed, you can make the right informed choices on what type of training will suit your circumstances. It will also prevent you from making expensive mistakes by choosing an inappropriate program.

Fundamental User-Skills

Essentially, the starting point for an absolute beginner, who just wants to gain a basic understanding of how to get the most out of their PC, is the ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence).

This will cover how to operate the basic components of 'Windows' (which is the system that 'runs' most home computers). You will also learn about web-browsers (so you can surf the internet), and email software (so you can stay in touch with friends and colleagues). You'll also cover the basics of word-processing and a little about what spreadsheets and databases are used for.

Microsoft & Office Skills

The next step is to gain some more formal training to improve your CV or prepare you for additional roles at work. The most common of these is more in-depth training in Microsoft Office. The main qualification is the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).

The MOS 2007 (previously known as the MCAS or Microsoft Certified Application Specialist) is based around Office 2007, while MOS 2010 is based on Office 2010, and MOS 2013 is based on... Yes, you guessed it; Office 2013.

All these certifications contain several individual exams around the key MS Office applications: Word (word processing), Excel (spreadsheets), Access (databases), PowerPoint (presentations) and Outlook (email & communications). MOS 2010 & 2013 now incorporate Sharepoint & OneNote as well. These certifications will show an employer that you're properly trained to use these packages to their fullest extent.

Professional User Support

Going one step further again, you could look into the first level of professional certification: Front-Line or Second-Line Systems/User Support. Typically, if you're going to provide software support to users in a corporate environment, then the Microsoft MCSA Windows 7 or 8 certifications are paramount.

Network & Systems Support

After this, we enter the realms of full professional IT accreditation. The most popular starting point for hardware support, networking & security roles are the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ certifications.

These will cover the basics of hardware and network installation, administration, security, trouble-shooting and support. Study time for someone with no previous experience is often estimated at around 50-100 hours (each), which can be reasonably completed in 2-3 months on a part-time study basis.

A Career In IT?

If you're looking at a career change into IT, then it's likely that you'll need to start somewhere amidst these programs, depending on your current level of IT literacy. Progressing from this point often requires a chat with a professional advisor. Indeed, if you're planning a career move, it's worthwhile having this discussion before you attempt any certification - to ensure you're on the right track from the outset.

Students who don't plan where they're going from the beginning often end up wasting a lot of time and money - that could have been avoided with a simple 20-30 minute discussion (contact us if you'd like to arrange a free consultation).

IT Career Areas

Careers in IT are often broken down into several main categories:

Each area of expertise requires it's own particular skill-sets and certifications, with an array of qualifications from starter to highly advanced.

The Next Steps...

The sheer quantity of certifications available in these areas can be initially off-putting to the new student, but this is where a sensible careers discussion with an advisor can clear the way to what is appropriate for your personality-type, goals and learning-style. Simply contact us if you'd like to arrange a free consultation.

If you browse through the pages of our Free Guide (available below), you'll find dedicated pages covering each of these areas - as well as the certification tracks that are involved - so you can investigate a little more.

FREE : IT Certification & Career Training Guide