A lot of people ask me what computer skills they really need to know these days. As in most of life the best answer is usually ‘it depends’. With that said there is core set of skills that everyone needs. While I love social media, Facebook and Twitter are not really skills that are likely to get you promoted in a job or help you find a new one.
Here are the basics:
- Strong foundation in Word processing. Whether you use MS-Word, Write, Google Docs….you have to know how to create and format documents. This fundamental skill also extends to your email as well.
- You need a basic understanding of Excel. Spreadsheets are a vital part of businesses. Everything from budgets, financial reports, mailing lists are usually created in Excel. If you need a number cruncher then Excel is the tool to use. Using Excel isn’t rocket science but it does take some training and practice.
- If you are in a management position you will likely be required to hold meetings and give presentations. We have all had to sit through awful PowerPoint slide shows. Don’t be one of these people. Learn how to effectively communicate your ideas and resist the temptation to read your bullet points.
- Email/Calendar/Scheduling applications are critical in planning and organizing your day. In the corporate world you will be using either Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes. Since many executives and other business people who spend a lot of their day on the run these applications synch with your mobile devices like iPhones, Blackberries, and other smart phones.
- Good Internet skills. Most companies have their own internal websites that post everything from HR docs to social events. Having confidence to navigate around is crucial. For general web browsing you need to understand web security, bookmarking, basic browser preferences.
- The most intangible skill of all: The ability to pull all of this together and to be able to seamlessly integrate all these technologies and skills in such a way that you increase your productivity. Confidence in using software and the ability to ‘figure things out’ is something that only comes through practice and more practice. This is why hands-on learning is still the best way to learn anything new.