5 FREE AND EASY WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR COMPUTER SKILLS FEBUARY,19TH 2020 | BY HAPPINESS
With technology becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace, it’s more important than ever to have basic computer hardware and software skills. An employer will be looking for computer skills on your resume, and you need to be able to walk the walk in addition to talk to the talk—meaning that you need to be able to know how to use a computer when you’re on the job.
Here are 5 free and easy way to improve your computer skills.
1. Identify what you need to learn.
Most likely, you only have so much free time that you can dedicate to learning a new skill. Accordingly, it’s important to use that time wisely. Whether you’re looking to pivot your career or level up within your current field, analyzing the job description of your ideal position is a great way to identify what skills employers are looking for, as well as the tools you should know how to use. The “Requirements” section of a job description is generally a good place to find this information.
Networking is another great way to discover what technical skills other people in your field have, or what software and apps they use on a day-to-day basis. This can be accomplished with a simple question, such as “Have you learned any new skills lately that have helped you in your job?,” or “What’s your favorite software or app that use regularly for work?”
In addition, you can also find much of this information online. If you are a customer service representative, for example, you might search for “customer service software.” Keep an eye out for the specific products that appear in your results. Capterra, a software review company, is another helpful resource for identifying common tools in your trade.
Not sure where to start? The specific skills you need are highly dependent on your position and your field, but you can familiarize yourself with this list of top computer skills to start out. Also review some of the best skills to include on your resume.
2. Start with the basics—and ensure you know how to use a computer.
While this goes without saying, before you learn any specialized technical skills, at the very least you need a fundamental understanding of how to use a computer—ideally, both a Windows or Mac. There are many free resources online. Sites like Lifewire, for example, are very helpful in providing comprehensive tutorials.
These days, it’s pretty common to find free (or affordable) computer training events. Check with your local library, community center or community college to see what they have to offer. In addition, you can take free Mac courses at an Apple store near you.
If you’re working in an office role, consider getting certified in Microsoft Office to improve your skills and add value to your resume.
3. Familiarize yourself with an understanding of how computers (and the Internet) work.
While this goes without saying, before you learn any specialized technical skills, at the very least you need a fundamental understanding of what a computer it is and how it works. In some cases, it can be helpful to learn how the Internet works, too.
4: Just Try It
Don’t be afraid to try something on a computer. After all, there is hardly ever an action you can perform on a computer that will permanently break it. That being said, make sure you have back-ups of anything important.
This especially goes for parents with children who show an affinity for computers. If they like to take things apart and put them back together, or they just like to tinker, find a used computer on Craigslist for cheap. This provides a great platform for kids to learn on.
If you don’t have a computer you want to experiment on for fear of breaking it, checkout my episode on creating a virtual computer, How to Use a Virtual Machine. Just a warning though, you will have to use Google!
A virtual machine allows you to mess up anything you want because you can reset it back to any point in time, or just start over. Plus, this can all be done while keeping your actual computer working perfectly.
5. Apply the knowledge and get hands-on practice.
If a job description requests familiarity with a specific tool, try to see if there’s way to get hands-on experience. For example, say a position requires that you know how to use Trello, a project management tool. You could consider ways you might be able to integrate Trello in your current position. If this is not possible, perhaps there’s a case where you could use it in your personal life—like for planning a trip.
Get as creative as possible. Need to learn how to use Google Calendar? Start using it to plan and schedule your families’ appointments and activities. Need to know how to use Skype? Create an account and use it to make a video call with someone you haven’t talked to in awhile.