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How To Learn Basic IT Skills 👨🏽‍💻

10 minute read | April 8, 2024
Monica J. White

Written by:
Monica J. White

Ready to launch your career?

Basic IT skills are useful in all sorts of industries and roles, from software development and cybersecurity to IT support and data management. They can help you secure a higher salary, enter a new industry, or both! 

But how do you actually go about learning basic IT skills, and is it as easy as some people claim? 

The answer is different for different people. It depends on how much time you have, how motivated you are, what natural aptitudes you have, how much money you want to spend, and what you want to learn. The good news is that there are study methods out there that fit all combinations of circumstances, which means it is possible to learn no matter who you are. 

The trick is to find out what kind of skills and IT sector you’re suited to and which study methods help you learn the best. In this article, we’ll help you figure that out! Our helpful list will show you the skills you need for different jobs, so you can find out what looks most compelling to you. 

Let’s get started!

Is It Easy To Learn IT?

Learning IT skills can be both challenging and rewarding. While the complexity of IT concepts and technologies may seem overwhelming initially, with dedication, persistence, and the right resources, anyone can learn IT skills. Complexity really just means there’s a lot to unpack and learn, not that the difficulty level is high. If you take things one step at a time, you’ll see how these previously unfathomable concepts break down into ultimately simple ideas. 

The availability of online courses, tutorials, and communities makes accessing educational resources and support more effortless than ever. Additionally, hands-on practice and real-world experience are crucial in mastering IT skills. While the learning curve may vary depending on individual aptitude and prior knowledge, with determination and effort, acquiring IT skills is achievable for anyone willing to put in the time and effort.

How To Learn IT: Different Learning Paths To Consider

There are a few different options to consider when it comes to studying programming. They all cover various cost levels, commitment, flexibility, support, and accessibility. 

Formal Degree

Studying IT through a formal degree program offers in-depth theoretical knowledge, hands-on labs, and guaranteed opportunities for networking. A degree is the most traditional way to enhance your credibility with employers and gain a well-rounded education. Many courses also include an internship year that allows you to gain essential practical experience as well. However, college education requires a significant time and financial investment, and the curriculum may not always align perfectly with quickly changing industry needs.


Online bootcamps offer intensive, focused training in specific IT skills or technologies, often with hands-on projects and mentorship. They are shorter and more affordable than traditional degrees, targeting working individuals who want to start a career change, ideally within a year. To help people achieve this, bootcamps specialize in training students in the day-to-day tasks and projects that professionals work on, so they can transition into an entry-level job right after graduation. However, bootcamps generally require strong motivation to complete, and not all courses meet the same standards of quality.  


Professional certifications validate specific IT skills and knowledge and are often recognized and respected by employers. Big names such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM all offer certifications in their own technologies and the areas of IT they’re related to. They can be obtained relatively quickly and affordably compared to degrees and bootcamps, especially if you study independently and only pay for the exams. If you’re willing to spend a little more money, many also offer courses and study resources to help you learn the exam material. However, certifications are generally too niche to constitute an overall education, so they typically have to be complemented with other study methods. 

Self-Taught Route

Independent study offers unbeatable flexibility, allowing you to tailor your learning path to your specific interests and schedule. However, it requires a significant amount of discipline and self-motivation to stay on track, and since you’re the one deciding the curriculum, it can lack the structure and guidance provided by formal education or training programs.

  • Online Courses

    Online courses provide structured learning paths, comprehensive content, and often interactive exercises or assignments. They offer flexibility in terms of pace and schedule, allowing learners to study at their own convenience. Additionally, many online courses are taught by industry experts, providing valuable insights and practical knowledge.

  • YouTube Channels And Videos

    YouTube channels and videos offer various free educational content on IT topics, ranging from tutorials and demonstrations to lectures and discussions. They provide visual and auditory learning experiences, making complex concepts easier to understand. Additionally, YouTube allows for interaction through comments, so you can ask questions and engage with creators and other viewers.

  • Books, Blogs, And Podcasts

    Books, blogs, and podcasts explore IT concepts, trends, and best practices in-depth. They offer a wealth of knowledge in various formats, catering to different learning preferences. Books provide comprehensive coverage of topics, while blogs and podcasts offer timely insights and discussions on emerging technologies and industry trends.

  • Online Communities And Forums

    Online communities and forums enable you to connect with peers, ask questions, share resources, and collaborate on projects. They provide opportunities for networking, mentorship, and peer support, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the IT community. Plus, they allow you to stay updated on industry news and developments.

What to Learn: IT Skills Based on Industry

When you’re looking into IT for the first time, the easiest thing to do is look at broad categories. This section will show you some of the most common areas in IT and the kind of skills you need to succeed in them — which looks most interesting to you?

IT and Technical Support

IT and technical support is all about maintaining and troubleshooting computer systems, networks, and software applications for organizations or individuals. These professionals handle issues ranging from hardware malfunctions to software glitches, ensuring smooth operations and minimizing downtime.

Essential Skills

  • Technical troubleshooting: Proficiency in efficiently diagnosing and resolving hardware, software, and network issues is fundamental in IT support roles.
  • Customer service: Strong communication skills and empathizing with users’ technical difficulties are essential for providing practical support and maintaining client satisfaction.
  • Problem-solving: The capacity to analyze complex problems, identify root causes, and promptly implement solutions is crucial for effectively addressing various IT challenges.

Learning Resources

Web Design and Development

Web design and development involves creating visually appealing and functional websites or web applications. Professionals in this field utilize various programming languages, design principles, and development frameworks to build interactive online experiences for users.

Essential Skills

  • Proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: These fundamental languages form the backbone of web development, enabling designers to create structured content, apply styles, and add interactivity to websites.
  • Responsive design: Understanding responsive design principles and frameworks like Bootstrap is essential for ensuring that websites adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes and devices.
  • Version control systems (e.g., Git): Proficiency in version control systems is crucial for managing codebase changes efficiently, collaborating with team members, and tracking project history.

Learning Resources

Software and App Development

Software and app developers design, build, and maintain software applications for various desktop, web, and mobile platforms. They’re skilled at using programming languages, frameworks, and tools to create innovative solutions that address specific user needs and business objectives.

Essential Skills

  • Proficiency in programming languages: Mastery of languages like Python, Java, Swift, or JavaScript is essential for writing code to develop software and applications.
  • Understanding software development lifecycle: Knowledge of SDLC phases, including requirements gathering, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance, is crucial for delivering high-quality software products.
  • Problem-solving and analytical thinking: Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to analyze complex problems systematically are essential for developing efficient and scalable software solutions.

Learning Resources

Data Management and Analytics

Data management and analytics are about organizing, storing, and analyzing large volumes of data to extract valuable insights and support decision-making processes. People in this field use data mining, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations within datasets.

Essential Skills

  • Data analysis tools: Proficiency in tools like SQL for querying databases and data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI is essential for extracting and presenting insights from data effectively.
  • Statistical analysis and modeling: Understanding statistical concepts and techniques and experience with predictive modeling and machine learning algorithms is crucial for deriving meaningful insights and making data-driven decisions.
  • Data wrangling and cleaning: Skills in data cleaning, transformation, and preprocessing techniques are necessary for ensuring data quality and reliability before analysis, as real-world data often comes in messy and unstructured formats.

Learning Resources


Cybersecurity professionals protect computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, attacks, and breaches. They work to safeguard sensitive information, identify vulnerabilities, and implement measures to mitigate risks and ensure digital assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Essential Skills

  • Understanding of networking concepts: Knowledge of networking protocols, architectures, and security mechanisms is crucial for analyzing network traffic, detecting anomalies, and implementing adequate security controls.
  • Threat intelligence and analysis: Proficiency in threat intelligence gathering, threat modeling, and analysis techniques is essential for identifying potential security threats, assessing their impact, and developing risk mitigation strategies.
  • Security tools and technologies: Familiarity with security tools such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and vulnerability scanners, as well as expertise in configuring and managing these tools.

Learning Resources

IT Project Management

IT project management roles focus on planning, organizing, and overseeing the execution of technology-related projects to achieve specific objectives within scope, time, and budget constraints. Project managers are found in all sorts of industries, and they coordinate teams, manage resources, and mitigate risks to ensure successful project delivery and alignment with business goals.

Essential Skills

  • Project management methodologies: Familiarity with project management frameworks such as Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall, along with knowledge of project management principles and best practices, is essential for effectively planning and executing IT projects.
  • Communication and stakeholder management: Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate clearly, negotiate effectively, and manage stakeholders’ expectations, are crucial for building consensus, resolving conflicts, and ensuring project success.
  • Risk management: Proficiency in identifying, assessing, and mitigating project risks, as well as developing risk response strategies, is necessary for minimizing project disruptions and ensuring the achievement of project objectives.

Learning Resources

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

The area of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) works to develop algorithms and models that enable computers to learn from data, identify patterns, and make predictions or decisions without explicit programming. Professionals in this field work on tasks such as image recognition, natural language processing, and predictive analytics to solve complex problems.

Essential Skills

  • Programming languages: Proficiency in languages such as Python, R, or Java, along with libraries like TensorFlow or PyTorch, is essential for implementing machine learning algorithms, building models, and conducting data analysis.
  • Statistical and mathematical fundamentals: A strong understanding of statistics, linear algebra, calculus, and probability theory is necessary for designing and evaluating machine learning models, as well as interpreting results accurately.
  • Data preprocessing and feature engineering: Skills in data cleaning, feature selection, and feature engineering techniques are crucial for preparing datasets and extracting relevant features to improve model performance and accuracy.

Learning Resources

FAQs About Learning IT

Here are the answers to your most pressing questions about learning IT skills.

Can I Learn IT Online?

Yes, you can learn IT online through various platforms offering courses, tutorials, and resources covering a wide range of IT topics. Online learning provides flexibility, allowing you to study at your own pace and access a wealth of educational materials from anywhere with an internet connection.

Can I Start in IT with No Experience?

Yes, you can start in IT with no experience by gaining foundational knowledge through online courses, self-study, or entry-level certifications. Many IT roles, such as technical support or help desk positions, offer opportunities for beginners to gain hands-on experience and grow their skills through on-the-job training and practical experience.

Can You Get into IT Without a Degree?

Yes, you can get into IT without a degree by obtaining relevant certifications, building a solid portfolio of projects, and gaining practical experience through internships, freelance work, or entry-level positions. Employers often value hands-on skills and industry certifications in IT, making pursuing a successful career path possible without a traditional college degree.

What Is the Easiest IT Field?

The easiest IT field for you depends on your individual interests, strengths, and career goals. However, IT support or technical assistance roles are often considered more accessible for beginners, as they typically require more foundational knowledge of computer systems, troubleshooting skills, and strong communication abilities. Entry-level positions in these fields provide opportunities to gain experience and expertise gradually.

Since you’re here…
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About Monica J. White

Monica is a journalist with a lifelong interest in technology, from PC hardware to software and programming. She first started writing over ten years ago and has made a career out of it. Now, her focus is centered around technology and explaining complex concepts to a broader audience.