CompTIA's free online tech fundamental course is a big success

The tech pro association's class, offered from mid-March through May, trained and certified 36,500 worldwide participants in technology basics.

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Image: CompTIA

Technology's relevance--and perhaps necessity--was firmly established by the 36,500 people worldwide who participated in  CompTIA's free CertMaster Learn e-learning "IT Fundamentals" course (TIF+). Offered free-of-charge from March 23 to May 31, 2020, by the non-profit Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), in the early days of the US lockdown due to COVID-19, was timely for many. 

"It's a time of high anxiety and uncertainty about the future," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, in a press release from March 23. "Millions of individuals will be spending extended hours at home over the next several weeks waiting for events on the ground to change for the better. Why not spend some of the time exploring a new career?"

It was an ideal moment in time for people to determine if they had the aptitude, competency, and interest to pursue a career in technology. The course was populated by adult learners and students (30%), evenly divided from 29 countries that included the US, Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The students' backgrounds were varied, with many coming from the retail, food, and transportation industries, among many others. 

SEE: Building the bionic brain (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The customized-for-each-student and flexible course featured technology basics, concepts, and terminology, in areas including devices, networks, software and applications, databases, and cybersecurity. CompTIA described it as including, "interactive learning with flashcards and performance-based questions; videos to demonstrate key concepts and processes; and easy self-assessments and analytics to track your progress through the course."

TIF+ skills teaches IT concepts and terminology, infrastructure, applications and software, software development, database fundamentals, and security.

CompTIA, and its industry partner BenchPrep, provided free 30-day licenses for the CertMaster Learn eLearning course for CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+). The CompTIA IT Fundamentals certificate is good for life and doesn't require renewal. 

"We're heartened that so many people chose to use their unexpected time away from the classroom or the workplace to expand their understanding of technology," said Kelly Ricker, executive vice president for events and education at CompTIA, in a press release. "We hope that many of them will use this as a stepping stone, whether that means exploring new career opportunities in the technology field or using their newly-acquired knowledge on the job and at home."

The current cost of ITF+, per CompTIA's website, ranges from $123 to $349. A pop-up promotion offered a 10% discount to prospective students. 

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By N.F. Mendoza

N.F. Mendoza is a writer at TechRepublic and based in Los Angeles. She has a BA in Broadcast Journalism and Cinema Critical Studies and a Master's of Professional Writing, both from USC. Nadine has more than 20 years experience as a journalist coveri...