Ask LH: Are Short IT Courses Worth It?

Dear Lifehacker, I am in a bit of a life/career rut at the moment and want to develop some new skills. I have been stuck in retail for years but I would like to kick start a career in IT. I have been looking at some RMIT short courses which look like they will provide me with some great resources. Upon completion of these courses you obtain statements of participation. My question is: will these matter to potential future employers come interview time? I don’t want to waste my time and money! Thanks, Short Work

[credit provider=”RMIT University” url=””]

Dear SW,

While we obviously can’t speak for all employers, an RMIT certificate will generally put you in better contention than no qualification at all; especially if you have no actual work experience.

The simplest course of action would be to contact the course providers and ask them what graduates have done subsequently. Doubtlessly they’ll have advertising material that fits this purpose, but you may be able to get additional information if you pester enough.

Also check job vacancies to see what kind of skills are being sought and whether they match up with the subjects that the short course teaches.

On another note, simply studying at RMIT’s SAB building could be a great learning curve in its own right. The university has adopted a virtual desktop infrastructure environment which allows students to connect to the school’s network using their personal devices from anywhere in the facility.

This basically puts you at the cutting edge of modern working environments which can’t hurt your employment prospects — if you get a chance, try and liaise with their director of IT services and see if someone would be willing to give you a tour of the facility’s inner workings.

Naturally, if there are any IT professionals reading this post, feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions on RMIT’s short courses — are they a good way to get a foot in the door or do you consider them a waste of time and money? Let SW know in the comments section below.


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