Almost 75 percent of Americans say they’re ready to learn something new, make a lifestyle change, or set a personal goal in 2021. If you’re one of them, you may be focused on developing career skills like computer skills or even learning something new for fun.
One popular choice to learn or upgrade these days are your computer skills. Since computers are always evolving, it can be tough to stay on top of them. Even if you were on top of your skills a year ago, you might start to feel a little rusty.
This guide is here to help. With it, you can improve your computer knowledge and stay on top of all the best technology has to offer.
Start With What You Know
As with anything, the first step to improving your computer skills is to start with what you already know. You may have been using a computer for years already, so you know some basics.
You may not know what everything is called, or you might not understand all the processes behind how things happen. Use the gaps in your knowledge to guide your learning. What do you want to know more about?
You might want to learn how to make your computer run faster. Maybe you’re angling to learn a particular program better. These are great places to start because they build on skills you might already have.
Seek Out Answers With Search
Once you’ve assessed your current skills, you can start searching for answers. Simply searching “tips for making your computer faster” will turn up some informative articles.
Many tips will be basic, so you might already know some. If you’re just starting out, this information is crucial. It helps you build a solid foundation to work from.
Even if you know a little bit, use this information as a sort of refresher course. There may be tips you know, but you’ve forgotten how to execute them. You may be reminded about proper terminology or even learn something new.
Don’t forget to look at how-to videos. These can be excellent step-by-step resources that walk you through whatever it is you want to learn.
Look for Books on Topics That Interest You
Your next step after consulting the Internet is to look for some books. Books are more in-depth than articles most of the time. They can help you get a more comprehensive view of any subject you want to learn about.
There are many different computer skills you could learn. You may want to learn about hardware and how to build a computer from scratch. On the other hand, you might find programming more interesting.
If you want to learn a particular programming language, then finding a book about that language makes sense. If you want to learn computer repair and maintenance, then you may want to start with hardware basics.
There are also plenty of guides that will teach you how to use specific programs efficiently and effectively. There may even be some books that look at computer theory or the foundations of good coding that will help inform your practice.
Practice Makes Perfect With Computer Skills
Next up, you’ll want to take everything you learned and put it into practice. For computer skills, practice really does make perfect.
Once you’ve read a tutorial or other instructions, you’ll want to try it out for yourself. Whether you’re learning social media, graphic design, or web coding, practice is the only way to get better.
How do you practice? If you’re learning any kind of coding, then writing a small, simple program is the best way to get started. Try it out, then troubleshoot your mistakes.
If you want to learn databases and spreadsheets, then you’ll need some specific software to try out. You may want a guide to the program itself. Then you’ll walk through, step by step.
For something like social media or blogging, you’ll need to learn in a bit more of a trial-and-error way. You can read plenty of theories about social media and “how-to tips.” An example would be learning how to do hashtag research for Twitter or Instagram.
Once you know how to do the research, though, you’ll need to test out the hashtags. If you want to see what posts get more interactions or try to grow a following, then you’ll need to put all these tips into practice.
If something’s not working, then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
Enroll in an Educational Course
Another step you can take to improve your computer skills is to actually enroll in an educational course.
Computer knowledge courses come in all forms. You may be able to take a continuing education course designed for adults to improve their computer skills. There are also college courses and even university degrees dedicated to computer science.
There are also webinars and online courses aimed at particular skills. You can learn and master a new skill from the comfort of your living room.
If you just want to improve your keyboarding skills, then an online course or a continuing education course might be the best bet. If you’re interested in going deeper and learning to engineer software or computer hardware, then you may want to look into a degree program.
You can always start small. Take a few different short courses to discover what interests you the most.
Look for a Computer Skills Mentor
If taking a course doesn’t interest you or you still haven’t achieved mastery, then you may want to look for a mentor.
This person can be a peer involved in a community. For example, you may be able to learn from the community of programmers on Github. They can help you troubleshoot problems you run into with your code.
There’s already a wealth of knowledge there too, so you can begin learning from the experts right away.
You can also look at your school or work community. Maybe someone in the IT department is willing to take you under their wing. At school, you may find a teacher or even an older student who is happy to help guide you.
Mentors can help you understand more than just the practical skills. They can present you with new problems and help guide you toward new solutions.
They can also help you better understand the culture, etiquette, and ethics of computer science. This is sometimes just as important as having the right skills.
Do Some Volunteer Work
Now you’ve read up on computer skills, taken a class, practiced, and worked with a mentor. What else can you do to improve your computer skills?
Volunteer work is a great way to keep improving your skills. You may be able to help family or friends troubleshoot common problems. You might even be able to help in the office environment if someone else is having trouble with the printer or their laptop.
Depending on the skills you want to build, you may want to work on some volunteer projects. A non-profit may need help with their social media. Maybe they need a website built, but they don’t have the money to hire a pro or the skills to do it themselves.
Since you’re still learning, volunteer work is a great way to get some hands-on experience while also giving back to your community. Be upfront and honest about your skill level when taking on volunteer projects though.
Doing volunteer work goes back to the idea that “practice makes perfect.” You can experiment with your own programs or web design. Taking on a volunteer project is another way to get experience with writing code or designing websites.
You can get experience fixing computers, building computers, and even doing social media or blogging this way as well.
Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment
Trying to learn a new program won’t go very well if you don’t have the right software. Even writing code means having access to a good coding interface.
You’ll also want to make sure your computer is up to the task. It’s hard to edit videos on old or outdated computers. Newer software may not run on older devices.
You can always take a look at new computers versus what you’re running now. This can be a great way to familiarize yourself with components. You may also realize that what you’re using right now isn’t the best computer for the skills you want to develop.
Prepare for Ongoing Learning
Finally, you’ll want to make plans to stay on top of your computer skills. As technology advances, you’ll need to learn new things.
Look at social media. It’s only existed for about 15 years, and it’s changed a lot in the last decade or so. It will continue evolving as well.
Computer coding also changes and evolves. Constant learning is a great goal to set for yourself. Improving your computer skills is an ongoing task.
Keep Learning With Insightful Articles
Upgrading your computer skills is a great goal for almost everyone. With this guide, you’ll be ready to get started and master all the skills you want in 2021.
Looking for more tips on advancing your computer education? You’re in the right place. Our informative articles cover everything from which courses to take to how-to-do almost anything.
Learning something new is just a click away!