10 Places to Find Free Online IT Training

  • For people who manage networks and IT infrastructure for a living, staying current on the latest trends and technologies is a never-ending challenge. It can be hard to stay up to date while working full-time to keep a network or myriad IT resources running. How do you find the time, let alone the money, for training? Fortunately, many websites offer classes that IT pros can easily fit into their busy schedules and won't break the bank.

    Free online IT training is available for a broad range of technology specialties, but our list is focused on sites that provide classes for IT professionals who work in networking or infrastructure management. These sites don't just offer free introductory courses or "for dummies" overviews. These are detailed, in-depth classes on coding, cloud, DevOps, and security that other infrastructure pros say they have found helpful for their day-to-day work.

    Some of these IT training sites host actual university courses at the undergraduate or graduate level, and some of them offer optional certificates, usually for a fee. Others are far less formal. All of them offer real-world learning that can help you stay up-to-date and advance your IT career.

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  • edX

    @edXOnline

    This website features free online courses from technology vendors and leading universities, including Microsoft, Red Hat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley, and many others. The interface includes a helpful sidebar that provides information about the length and level of effort required to complete a course, and in some of the courses, students have the option of paying a fee to receive a certificate of completion.

    A sample of some of the courses that might interest infrastructure professionals includes Cloud Computing Management, Windows Server 2016: Advanced Storage, and Fundamentals of Containers, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift. Through a partnership with the Linux Foundation, edX also offers an Introduction to DevOps course.

  • MIT Open CourseWare

    @MITOCW

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been at the forefront of the trends toward open courseware and massive open online courses (MooCs). Fittingly, its website is one of the one of the most exhaustive resources for free online computer science courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Courses of interest to IT infrastructure pros might include Communication Systems Engineering, Network and Computer Security, and Distributed Computer Systems Engineering.

    (Image: Free-Photos/Pixabay)

  • Codecademy

    @Codecademy

    As the software-defined infrastructure and infrastructure-as-code trends continue to gain momentum, more network and systems administrators are finding that they need some basic programming skills. While designed primarily for beginning developers, Codeacademy also has tutorials of interest to infrastructure professionals. In particular, they might want to check out the 10-hour class called Learn Python or the four-hour class on PHP. The site has paid programs for businesses, or individuals can take courses free of charge.

  • LearnPython.org

    This Python-focused site provides a free Python tutorial in which students run Python code directly in the web browser. The organization says this enables more efficient learning. More infrastructure professionals are finding that they need some basic understanding of Python in order to do their jobs, and this website helps them fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

    (Image: Python Software Foundation)

  • Microsoft Virtual Academy

    @MSVirtAcademy

    Microsoft has a huge array of free training resources available in its Virtual Academy, and the tabs at the top of the page make it easy to find the courses designed for IT professionals. It includes courses on Windows 10, virtualization, enterprise security, PowerShell, desktop and device management, Azure, Office 265, DevOps, Windows Server and more. Classes range from beginner-level options like How to Harden Your Enterprise in Today's Threat Landscape to intermediate choices like Modern IT: DevOps to ITIL, Creating a Complete Lifecycle for Service Management and advanced classes like Advanced PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) and Custom Resources. New courses are added every week.

  • Class Central

    @classcentral

    This website acts as a clearinghouse for MooCs. It doesn't directly offer any classes itself, but it will connect you with other providers, including many on this list. It has extensive reviews of the courses it lists, which can be very helpful in deciding whether or not to take a class. In addition, it has a wealth of information about MooCs in general and a list of the 50 most popular online courses. That ranking includes several courses of interest to infrastructure pros, including one on machine learning from Stanford University, Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from the University of Michigan, and computer sciences courses.

    (Image: geralt/Pixabay)

  • Coursera

    @coursera

    Similar to edX, Coursera connects students with university classes on a wide variety of topics. If you want to have your coursework graded and receive a certificate of completion, you'll need to pay for a Coursera subscription. However, you can audit any courses, receiving full access to all the lectures and materials, for free. There is also a free trial period. The website has a large section of computer security and networking courses, including a software-defined networking course taught by Nick Feamster, a computer science professor at Princeton, and a four-course specialization on Google Cloud Platform.

  • Routergods YouTube Channel

    Run by a networking professional who teaches Cisco-related courses, the Routergods channel has extremely detailed videos showing how to install and configure networking equipment from various vendors. Examples include CCNA Route Summarization and ISE for Beginners. The channel also includes a series of Wireshark training videos.

  • vBrownBag YouTube Channel

    This YouTube channel specializes in "free community-generated educational videos and podcasts for people working with virtualization, storage, DevOps, and cloud technologies." Much of the content is highly applicable for IT pros. For example, it includes videos on containers and persistence and a Pure Storage Flash Stack overview.