Boost Your Computer Skills Quickly with These Simple Strategies
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Computer skills are crucial, whatever you do to earn a living.
But if you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s worth developing your knowledge beyond the basics.
So whether you’re aiming for a change of job, a promotion or a brand new career, read on to discover the strategies that could transform you into a software supremo.
According to Microsoft, in the next two decades
of jobs will require some level
of digital proficiency
Which computer skills do you really need?
To bag your ideal job, you need to find out which computer skills are really worth mastering, so start by checking out a few industry job sites. Once you’ve found some relevant job descriptions, we recommend reading them carefully and compiling a list of any software, computer skills or qualifications that are frequently mentioned. You can then decide which ones to prioritise.
Here are some of the programs and technical skills you might come across.
Many employees use Microsoft Word on a daily basis, so to stand out from other job seekers you’ll need to understand the program’s more advanced features. One example is the ability to use and edit styles, which will enable you to quickly change the feel of an entire document. You could also become familiar with Word’s table of contents generator and learn how to create your own keyboard shortcuts.
of enterprises use Microsoft Office
If your ideal job description mentions Excel, you’ll definitely need a sound understanding of how to format spreadsheets so that the fonts, sizing, colours and spacing are completely consistent. But to really impress potential employers, you could also do with mastering:
There’s a vast difference between a basic PowerPoint presentation and one that uses animation, media clips and clever graphics, so make sure that you’re able to us these more advanced features. Being able to work with custom slides and templates is also essential if you’re keen to impress.
Graphic design software
If you can create, edit, format and optimise images for websites, social media and posters, you’ll be very popular with employers, as they won’t need to hire a freelancer. So whatever industry you’re in, it’s well worth learning to use design software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
Used to track customer payments, create purchase orders, bill payments and complete payroll tasks, this flexible software is useful in a range of jobs including accounting, reporting, bookkeeping, and payroll. It could also come in handy for admin and sales roles.
Basic coding skills
There’s a reason why every five year old is now learning to code. Without code, applications and websites simply wouldn’t function properly, so knowing the basics of HTML, Python or Java will give you an advantage in the job market.
Junior Developer Salary
Junior Developer Salary
Instead of using email as their main form of internal communication, some companies are using collaboration apps like Slack and Trello. As well as enabling employers to schedule and track workloads, these visual platforms allow their employees to collaborate on tasks from anywhere in the world. So if you fancy working flexibly, we recommend becoming familiar with a couple of collaboration tools.
Social Media Skills
Most companies now have a social media presence, so it’s worth developing your skills in this area, even if you don’t want to become a social media marketer. Skills that will impress employers include the ability to create original content for a variety of platforms and a sound understanding of management tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Buffer. Being able to analyse the effectiveness of social media campaigns is also a sought after skill.
people in the UK have no basic digital skills
How to Improve Your Skills
Now that you’ve decided which new skills to focus on, you’re ready to get going.
We’ve come up with five fast ways to gain the knowledge you need.
Install a trial /free version
Did you know that most software companies offer a free 30-day trial installation of their software? To find a link to the trial or downloads page, simply type the name of any software into a search engine and hop onto the manufacturer’s website. Once you’re there, you’ll find either an installation guide or an automated wizard that will help you to install the software.
While thirty days is plenty of time to learn the basic functionality of most software, we wouldn’t recommend downloading lots of trial versions simultaneously, as the clock will be ticking.
Watch video tutorials
Some companies provide their own tutorials when you download their software. For example, the Adobe website includes Photoshop tutorials that teach users how to carry out a wide range of functions from photo editing to creating composite images. The Quickbooks website also features detailed video guides.
If you head over to Youtube and search for your chosen software you’ll find video tutorials covering a multitude of functions. Some of the videos are introductory, while others teach more specific skills.
Use help menus
Most software apps have a help menu, which you’ll either find on the menu bar or by pressing F1 on your keyboard. Once you’ve located the menu, search for any function you need help with and you’ll be presented with a number of detailed articles. Some menus also link to web based demos.
Take free online courses
While you’ll find plenty of free beginner’s courses online, it’s also possible to pick up more advanced skills for free. For example head to FutureLearn’s website and you’ll discover a mix of short courses covering topics like Google analytics, web design and social media marketing.
Keen to learn the basics of HTML or Python? Then the Codecadamy website is the perfect place to start, as most of their short coding courses take fewer than eleven hours. freeCodeCamp also offers free online training via their website, which features plenty of useful content.
If you want to improve your understanding of digital marketing, we suggest taking a look at Google’s Digital Garage, as their certified digital marketing course is taught via a series of short manageable modules. Most of these take around thirty minutes to complete.
Take a paid online course
If you’ve chosen to focus on a qualification you can’t gain for free, you’ll need to consider paying for it. If this is the case, why not check out the online training options available? Online course are often self-paced, giving you the chance to study intensively.
Once you’ve found a few relevant courses, find out how they are taught, as you’ll learn more quickly if the course delivery is stimulating and interactive. For example, Hudson Learning Centre’s courses are taught via video, visual illustrations, quizzes, educational games and text. There’s even the option to take part in a live lab, which gives you access to real hardware in order to build up your skills and your confidence.
If you’re worried about funding a paid course, you have a couple of options, which include spreading the cost over a number of months. Alternatively, if you’re over the age of nineteen, you may be eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan. The minimum amount you can borrow is £300, but you won’t make any repayments until you are earning over £25,000. Worth looking into? We think so!