Technology has become not just a tool, but a big part of our daily lives. From the time you check email in the morning to signing off at the end of the workday, a big part of our productivity, time, and energy is tied to how well we use our computer and other devices.
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Good computer skills are often a basic request on resume templates everywhere. They also factor into ongoing personal development and just how well we can pick up new applications and computer services.
Something as simple as knowing the basic keyboard shortcuts for Windows can help you work more efficiently in just every program you use.
How do you get started building a strong foundation of computer skills?
We’ve got several tips and website resources below to put you on the right path.
Build a Strong Computer Learning Foundation
Identify What You Need to Learn
First, you’ll want to consider which base skills are most important to you. More often than not, they’ll be tied to your job or a career position that you’re eyeing for the future.
A great way to understand where you may be lacking in skills for a particular position is to take a look at LinkedIn for people with your position or desired career and review what skills they mention. You can also use Resume Assistant in Microsoft 365 to find this.
One other place to look is on job search sites like Indeed. Take a look at job openings for your position and see what computer skills are requested.
What Slows You Down?
Another way to zero in on the exact PC skills you need help with is to consider what is slowing you down.
Does it take you forever to add a chart to an Excel sheet? Do different browser settings trip you up?
Whichever activities are taking you the most time in the day-to-day of using your computer, these are prime targets for learning.
Start with the Basics
If you jumped into working in different applications without having any real foundation of understanding of the Windows or Apple operating system, you may want to start there.
Knowing the basics of your operating system and how computers work in general, ensure that everything you learn after that is set on a solid foundation.
Here are four free resources you can try to learn more about computer basics:
- Computer Basics for Absolute Beginners – from GCF Learn Free (Free)
- Computer Science 101 – from Stanford University (Free)
- Windows Basics – from GCF Learn Free (Free)
- OS X (Apple) Basics – from GCF Learn Free (Free)
Gain More Understanding of How the Internet & Browsers Work
Many applications are now accessed via internet browser, which makes it important to understand how those online connections work, as well as browsers, plugins, and browser settings.
Understanding these basics can translate into better cloud computing skills. Here are several free resources to try:
- Internet Basics for Absolute Beginners – from GFC Learn Free (Free)
- How the Internet Works – from Khan Academy (Free)
- Chrome Browser Training & Help – from Google Workspace Learning Center (Free)
Dive Into Application-Specific Training
Many applications have multiple features, and beginner-level users only scratch the surface of them. Once you learn more about the applications you use daily (Slack, G Suite, Microsoft 365, etc.), you’ll become more productive and find short-cuts that make your work easier.
Make a list of the applications that you spend the most time in when you’re using your computer at work or at home. Then, look for courses specific to training on those tools.
You may find that even though you’ve been using an app for years, there is a lot more it can do that you never knew!
Here are several free resources for application-specific learning opportunities:
- G Suite Training Center for Google Apps – from Google Workspace Learning Center (Free)
- Microsoft 365 Training – from Microsoft (Free)
- Zoom Live Training Webinars – from Zoom (Free)
- Slack 101 – from Slack (Free)
Put Your New Skills to Use
As you gain more computer skills, you’re becoming more valuable to your organization. Make sure that your manager knows that you’re taking the initiative to boost your skills. You may even find that your company offers training incentives.
You can continue your journey, once you get beyond the basics by looking at learning opportunities (some free, some paid) through sites like:
Get the Computer Support You Need to Be Successful
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