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Learn File Allocation Tables with online courses

Build your knowledge of file storage. Learn about the File Allocation Table (FAT) system with online courses delivered through edX.

What is the File Allocation Table (FAT) system?

Linking software (logic) to hardware (the physical expression of logic) is essential to computer engineering. FAT is a file system that tracks software storage on physical devices. The name can refer to the tables themselves as well as the broader file system. 

Most of the time, files are not stored in a single location on a hard disk; they’re actually fragmented across several locations. FAT makes it easier for the operating system to locate them.Footnote 1 Each file in a File Allocation Table contains the entry point — the location of the first part of the file — and a chain of other locations representing the rest of the file.Footnote 2

FAT’s original purpose was to reduce wear and tear on hard disks by making the process of physically searching for files less intensive.Footnote 3 Although FAT has now been superseded by modern file systems, it’s still used on portable devices like digital cameras, as well as small storage devices like USB drives.Footnote 4

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File Allocation Table tutorial and course curriculum

Are you interested in learning how to use the File Allocation Table system? While most courses don’t focus exclusively on the FAT file system, the tool may be covered in a broader course on Windows administration or operating systems. 

A File Allocation Table tutorial may explore the different versions of the FAT system as well as both the limitations and the benefits of using this type of file system. edX offers a wide variety of learning options for people of all backgrounds and aspirations. If you’re interested in learning about various tech tools, consider enrolling in a course to expand your computer science knowledge.

Jobs that use the File Allocation Table system

Although many companies have adopted more modern file systems, some information technology professionals rely on FAT, particularly in organizations that use legacy systems. Because FAT is supported by most operating systems, it can be useful to have familiarity with File Allocation Table fundamentals and advanced File Allocation Table methods.

Examples of how professionals might use FAT on the job include:

  • Windows administrators may use File Allocation Table to manage files on a company’s internal systems, depending on the Windows version they’re using.

  • Computer engineers may use File Allocation Table when designing an operating system and looking for a file system to implement.

  • Information technology specialists may use File Allocation Table when they need to migrate files from a legacy system to a new system.

Beyond understanding the principles of using File Allocation Table, professionals in these roles often have additional technical training. Acquire the training you need with the educational offerings delivered through edX, including bachelor’s degree and even master’s degree programs. If a full degree program is too extensive of a time commitment, you can also sharpen specific skills with focused boot camps. Find the right course for you. 

Become an engineer who uses the File Allocation Table system

In order to land a job as a computer engineer, data analyst, or another role that regularly uses File Allocation Table, you’ll need to develop a strong background in computer science and engineering technology. It’s important to understand why file systems are integral and how they relate to a computer’s hardware.

The first step is learning about computer architecture and FAT’s physical structure. You’ll need at least a basic knowledge of how computers access clusters and sectors on a hard disk, along with the way that FAT works within this system to manage files.Footnote 5

A bachelor’s degree in computer or data science can help you prepare for a career as a computer engineer or data analyst. For advanced positions, learners may also choose to pursue higher-level degrees, such as a masters in data science. And those who want to develop specific skills can enroll in specialized coursework, like coding boot camps. Explore the different educational opportunities made available through edX that can help you work toward a career in computer engineering.