In lieu of the rant, I have two articles to help people looking for GIS education. This could be people who are already in the industry or people who would just like to gain another skill. One of my coworkers took a GIS class just so that he would understand the basics and be able to communicate his own needs.
Ten Things You Should Know About Online GIS/Geospatial Education
I have mentioned MOOCs in the past and that I think that it is an excellent alternative to traditional 'brick and mortar' classes. Or even traditional online classes. Is that a thing now? Are we at the point where people look at online university programs as quaint and olde-tyme? The advice is applicable for anyone that is looking into online education. You have to ask yourself what you are really looking for. If you are just looking to sharpen your skills or get a little exposure to a new concept you might not need to go through long term formal education. Maybe just a few webinars. If you would like to move up in your career you might want to enroll in a full degree or certification program through a college/university. I like free webinars. Typically I can put them on in the background while I perform my normal work day. I also like to pick up classes and webinars that offer Continuing Education credits. They help with the GISP certification and they provide a documented accomplishment that you can use with prospective and current employers. Hey maybe you can even get a raise by taking one or two classes.
Options for Students Looking for Access to GIS Software
To help facilitate your continuing online education you are probably going to need software. You do not have to be an expert in any software to be an effective practitioner of GIS, but it really is difficult to get through a career without having a healthy understanding of a few of them. Now if you work for a company that has he software you could probably arrange for time at those stations to practice your skills. Many college classes include a student license that lasts several months or even a full year. This allows you to complete your labs and also practice skills once the term is over. If you want to practice or self teach in an informal setting you might want to check out the linked page and enjoy one of the many options. There are many options including open source software.