8: Resources you might need
Before you start a course, it’s a good idea to consider whether you have the appropriate resources. The main resources we will cover are computer hardware, a space to work at home, internet connectivity and (if doing an on-site course) access to transport.
Many learning institutions will have a workspace, internet connection, and devices for you to use on-site. However, if you are studying virtually, you will need your own setup.
Either way, we recommend getting your own setup if possible. This allows you more time and flexibility to practice for your new role.
For people who will be learning about engineering, data science, or UI/UX, you will need a laptop or computer that can run all the necessary software tools you’ll need to practice.
If you are trying to save on costs then a refurbished Lenovo Think Pad like the ones PB Tech offer are a good starting point, and can cost as little as $700. These are second-hand ex-lease computers that have been serviced to a high-standard before being re-sold.
If you have a bit more to spend, then Lenovo has a number of new options at different price points for you to consider. We recommend going for an option with at least 8GB Ram, a 128GB SSD Hard Drive, and a 14” screen.
Most designers, and even many engineers, prefer using Apple products over PC. So, if you can afford it you might want to consider getting an iMac (starting from $2,150) or a MacBook Pro (starting from $3,400).
For other roles, such as product management or customer success, an entry level computer will be fine. A Lenovo Chromebook costing less than $500 is a good example of a decent quality entry-level Chromebook.
If you have a bit more cash after sorting a computer or laptop and want to be as productive as possible, then consider adding a second monitor, separate keyboard, and mouse or trackpad. These are ‘nice-to-have’s’ but can increase your productivity by as much as 40%.
Having a calm and comfortable space to learn improves your ability to focus and be productive.
Most of us don’t have much free space at home. It might be that your dining table or couch is all you have to work with. If so, then that will do just fine.
If you can find a small space, even if it’s next to your bed, then consider adding a small desk. You could get yourself a foldaway laptop desk for less than $100, like this one from iFurniture.
If you are interested in a more permanent setup, you could get a dedicated compact/laptop desk. They start at 1.2m wide. Having a dedicated space could make a big difference, especially if you are sharing a house with other people and/or noisy kids. Here is another affordable option from iFurniture that also has shelves.
Going with a mechanical sit/stand desk like this one from PowerCore gives you the option of standing while working. While this is more expensive, it is good for your physical health.
If you prefer to sit, then having a good office chair such as this one from Warehouse stationery, or options like these from PowerCore are worth considering. Worst case scenario grab a chair from the dining table. As long as you are comfortable - that’s the most important thing!
Having a stable high-speed internet connection will be important, particularly if you are doing a virtual course. Virtual courses will likely include on-line video calls and on-line assignments.
Basic wireless broadband or fibre is available from organisations like Spark or Vodafone. Prices start from around $45 per month, and often include the cost of installation and the hardware you’ll need to get up and running.
Access to transport
If you are attending a course on-site you will need access to transport to get you to and from the course.
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