Friday, June 15, 2012

The Return of the Novice Networker

Hello everybody! It has been a year to the day since my last entry. I could say that a lot has happened over this past year, but only one big event has happened- I got a new job. Previously I worked in retail and while that is a tough job on the joints, it isn’t a mentally draining job. The new job I have now is the opposite- I help people with their IRAs and taxable accounts and while the learning process has kicked my butt, the sitting down all day has only increased the size of it. Now that I have a handle on that job, my goal is to start writing my entries on technology again.

And I have missed doing this terribly. While some entries could take me four to six hours to write, I enjoy both writing and researching more about the ever changing landscape of technology.  I still want to get my CCNA, but now I’m looking at programming languages too. The amount of information that is out there and to write about is overwhelming, and while I’m diving back into computers, it will take me a couple weeks to start having more entries again.

Until then, I thought I would share the resources I use with everybody who is in the same boat as I- a full time employee who wants to become an expert on computers. What is amazing is that the resources available are improving all the time. Last decade I had books to slog through; this decade is bringing free videos from Ivy League universities. Here are some sites that I am reading through right now:

Coursera- This is a website that has partnered with many universities including Stanford and Princeton to offer courses that are available to the students at the physical schools. There are different topics that are covered, but if you look at the course list, it is primarily computer science. This shouldn’t be a surprise as people who are embracing online knowledge would be computer people. I finished Computer Science 101 and am now dipping my toe into Algorithms.

Professor Messer- I’ve had him linked on my website, but I do want to name check his website here. Back in 2009, I first opened up a CompTia A+ study guide and widened my eyes in horror at what I was attempting to learn. His videos, broken down into pieces, made the inside of computers understandable for someone who mainly used Microsoft Office and Sims games. Thanks to him, I passed my A+ tests.

MITx/Harvardx- Similar to Coursera, these will be online classes that are offered from MIT and Harvard, respectively. As of this writing there is only one course listed, Circuits and Electronics, but the website indicates that more classes will be offered in Fall 2012. What’s also nice about this venture is that, unlike Coursera, you are able to obtain a certificate of completion. It’s free auditing with proof, which is pretty cool.

Oh, and books. I can’t get away from books yet. I love my Kindle, but sometimes it is nice to have something physical, especially when it comes to math problems. I like the “For Dummies” and “For Idiots” series, as their tone is easy going with pretty dense topics.

So I’ll be back in a couple weeks with more articles! I’ll be going over more physical parts of the computer, more current events, and even how my computer has improved my digital piano!