Welcome to Part 1 of The Google IT Support Adventures, where I take on the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program on Coursera. This is a part of my Programming Adventures series, where I take various courses mostly related to computer science and share my experiences.

Today, I’ll be talking about week one of the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. More specifically, we’ll start in the first week of the course, Technical Support Fundamentals. Ready? Let’s go.

Coursera’s Google IT Support Professional Certificate

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is one of the most popular programs on Coursera. Google partnered with Coursera to create a pathway for anybody to enter the IT industry. Google and Coursera designed this program to get people ready for an entry-level IT support position within about half a year.

But that’s not what I set out to do. I didn’t set out to get myself an IT support position or do much related to the IT industry. So why did I start taking the Google IT Support Professional Certificate? Well, I don’t know.

I guess it was mainly for fun. That’s what I put down when Coursera prompted me to write down my motivations for taking the course. I think it’s more than just for fun, though. As I’m writing this blog post, I realize that I also want to learn, experience more, and share it with everyone. The more knowledge I have, the more I can do.

Starting With Technical Support Fundamentals

There are five courses in the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. The first course is called Technical Support Fundamentals. There are six weeks in the Technical Support Fundamentals Course:

  1. Introduction To IT
  2. Hardware
  3. Operating System
  4. Networking
  5. Software
  6. Troubleshooting

This blog post is Part 1 of The Google IT Support Adventures. I’ll share what I learned and my experiences in the first week of the Technical Support Fundamentals course, Introduction To IT.

So far, this course has been a great break from the Harvard CSBinar50 course I had been taking on edX. It’s like a review session. For those of you who are wondering when my next part of the Harvard CS50x Adventures is coming out, it’ll be after I feel confident and comfortable enough to tackle the problem sets in CS50.

Currently, my abilities are lacking. Hopefully, programs such as the Google IT Support Professional Certificate are more manageable and will help me gain the abilities to tackle complicated problem sets. Do make sure you check out The Harvard CS50x Adventures, though!

A Brief History Of Computers

The first week of the Technical Support Fundamentals course begins with a little introduction to the brief history of computers. The content was straightforward and short. It was basically talking about how computers were just calculators before and how over time, new technological developments allowed computers to turn into the machines we know them today.

What you really need to know is the idea of transistors and how they can only be turned on or off. To create the complex applications we see today, it comes down to using combinations of ons and offs to represent various things such as letters and words. It’s crazy how we can put simple true or false logical operators together to create something so powerful as the computers we have today.

The Main Focus: Binary Basics

The true or false logical operators are dictated by binary code in a computer. A computer will see things as either ones or zeros. These ones and zeros are ordered in groups of eight called bits. Then these bits are grouped to form bytes.

Each bit can represent a number up to 255. I talked a little about the computer’s number system in Part 1 of The Harvard CS50x Adventures. Typically, we count in a base-ten system. We have ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on. Computers, however, have different place values. For each bit, you have 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1. Computers place a zero or one at each of these place values to create desired numbers.

If a computer were to output the number 5, it would put a one at the 1 and 4 place values and leave everything else as a zero. It would look like this: 0000101.

For the number 37, the computer would put a one at the 32, 4, and 1 place values and leave everything else as a zero. It would look like this: 0100101.

To create the advanced computers we have today that are capable of doing things such as play videos, we use combinations of bits and bytes to represent different things. We have systems such as an ASCII chart, which will correlate numbers to other characters. For example, “A” would be the number 65. Thus, if a computer is put into the ASCII chart context and produces the binary for 65, it will output the character A.

By stacking multiple different representation systems together, we can create complex computers capable of producing the things we see today. For example, ASCII tables have expanded to allow for more characters. Nowadays, we even have other systems that enable multiple bits and bytes to represent more complex characters, such as emojis. Pretty cool.

On To The Next Week

That was it, though. The first week of the Google IT Support program was a quick and easy introduction to computer topics. It was stuff that I had already learned before, but it never hurts to review it. Plus, it’s a good break for me to check my fundamentals to get back onto more challenging topics.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below, and I’ll do my best to get back to each and every one of them. With the first week of the first course in the Google IT Support program finished, we go on to the next week!