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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Summer School: MOOCs for Technologists by Alison Diana

Follow onTwitter as @EnterpriseTek
Alison Diana, Managing Editor, EnterpriseTech reports, "Summer means the end of class for many youngsters, but it’s an ideal time for HPC and IT professionals to take advantage of free and low-cost online educational programs that can advance their organizations and their careers."

Photo: EnterpriseTech

Organizations want technology professionals to be knowledgeable about business, something they can attain via collaboration at work and via education on the larger trends and pressures facing their overall industry. By proactively studying complementary technology or business courses, IT and HPC professionals help their organizations address the skills gap: This year, 38 percent of employers report a talent shortage and 54 percent said this lack of appropriate staff affects their ability to serve client needs, according to Manpower Group’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey.

One-fifth of employers provide more training for existing staff, the report found. In 13 percent of cases, they use training to develop new skills; 12 percent rely on training to enhance employees’ existing skills, Manpower found. Massive open online courses or MOOCs give employees an opportunity to expand into areas of interest that complement their capabilities and prepare them for new roles or responsibilities.

As high-performance computing technologies wend their way into enterprise applications such as big data, analytics, and storage, savvy IT experts delve into these solutions to learn their inner workings, integration challenges, and determine how they can leverage these products to benefit their organizations. Likewise, HPC adopters can better equip themselves to advocate the benefits of these technologies for applications beyond the lab or engineering department.

Authorities in both HPC and IT seek new methods of using HPC to garner the most from their investments in big data and analytics. And technologists continuously seek new knowledge in their ongoing efforts to stay ahead of the latest tools and techniques available in their field.

Free or low-cost MOOCs are accessible, low-cost ways for technology and business professionals to garner insight and training into new techniques, solutions, and practices to complement their existing skills. Options grow each year, with an increasing number of traditional education institutions such as Harvard (HarvardX) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MITx) offering MOOCs and an expanding base delivering certifications at the conclusion of their programs.

In a recently released study of the past two years of its MOOCs, HarvardX and MITx determined of the 57 percent of students who intended to earn a certificate, 24 percent accomplished this goal. And of the 43 percent who were unsure or did not plan to pursue a certificate, 8 percent received certification upon completion of the online course.

Across a dozen courses, those who paid between $50 and $250 for ID-verified certificates earned certifications at a higher rate than other participants: 59 percent versus 5 percent, the report found.

Whether they choose to pursue certification or not, those seeking additional education to further their careers and improve their organizations’ success can find a plethora of options, both live and on-demand.

Here’s a summer sampler of MOOCs starting soon. Which courses have helped your career? What classes would you like to see offered online? Let us know in Comments.

Source: EnterpriseTech