Computer literacy is essential these days. Nearly everyone knows how to at least turn on a computer, open a Word document and send an email, but broader skill sets are needed to make it in today’s job market. Work demands greater digital versatility, which means you need to continually educate yourself and build upon your existing skill sets. You don’t have to become a professional programmer or learn any complicated code to boost your computer skills. In fact, many of these skills can be learned in just a few weeks. You may wonder what type of skills you really even need. In today’s society, there’s no shortage of technical abilities that you could invest months or even years developing.
While there are more particular skills that can open the door for endless professional opportunities, these skills are meant to improve your understanding of the most essential computer skills in order for you to succeed. These are skills that you are likely to need to land any job. You can always delve in deeper by seeking out professional advancement opportunities and figuring out what skills are the most in-demand in your field in order to grow in the future, but for now, let’s tackle the essential computer skills that will not only strengthen your resume but will help you be more productive going forward.
1. Master Data Organization in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets
Microsoft Office and G Suite are the two most common forms of computer applications you’ll need in the workplace. Each one contains various programs that perform a wide range of administrative tasks such as word processing, creating presentations and, of course, making spreadsheets.
Although it may seem complicated, Excel and Google Sheets are much more intuitive than you think. They’re designed to be highly customizable and reflect your own needs; instead of compiling data and doing math, you may use them to make calendars, organize events and make color-coded lists. Microsoft’s free Excel training course will help you learn all the basics of Excel in a few hours.
You can transfer many of those skills to G Suite, but you can also study that separately by using a free Google Sheets guide.
2. Social Media Marketing
Nearly every brand has to use a social media platform for advertising in this day and age. Beyond Twitter and Instagram, social media marketing also encompasses paid ads on Google, Facebook ads and blogging. You can learn the ropes for free and get certified through the HubSpot Academy.
HubSpot is the leading digital marketing agency that offers content management software companies use to manage their social strategies. Some of the top HubSpot classes for beginners are:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) training
- Email marketing
- Inbound marketing
- Content strategy
- Ads training: Fundamentals of digital advertising.
3. Graphic Design
You don’t have to be an artist or even consider yourself creative to grasp the basics of photo editing and web design. Learning some of the key principles of graphic design along with the basics of Photoshop can give you an edge that employers look for. Improving these skills takes time, but you can master the fundamentals in a couple of hours.
In the modern workplace, graphic design can be something simple like making a blog post graphic or featured image for Twitter. While most graphic design programs include free templates to get you started, you’ll still need to understand principles and techniques to achieve good results. You need to learn about the most relevant types of design in your line of work. Virtually every industry will have some need for the following:
- Basic web design principles
- Color theory
- Photo editing basics
- Social media graphics design
If you don’t have an Adobe account or want to practice your skills without buying a subscription, there are free alternatives that can be just as powerful. GIMP is the number one Photoshop alternative. It has virtually all of the same features, albeit a slightly less pleasing and intuitive interface.
You may also find that free programs work better in your line of work because you don’t use the more advanced features Photoshop offers. However, keep in mind that when improving your computer skills for work, Adobe software is the industry standard.
4. Faster Typing
If you struggle to put reports together or find yourself slaving over a keyboard, you may want to consider a transcription service. While you practice typing and work on getting faster, a transcription service like HappyScribe can help automate your workflow and transcribe a video or audio file in more than 119 languages in seconds. Whether you’re a journalist, office worker, podcaster or student, typing quickly and accurately is a fundamental skill.
Transcription services can improve your output, though, and you can save time typing things you could say much more quickly through an affordable service. Improve your typing speed by practicing on keybr.com. This site will teach you how to touch type, the process of being able to type fluidly without having to look at the keyboard. Even just 10 minutes of daily practice can help you become better at typing.
5. Email and Content Writing
Anyone who has ever applied to a job knows that communication skills are a requirement, but what does this actually entail? Beyond being able to express your ideas clearly, written communication includes knowing how to research, gathering backlinks and crafting a professional, flexible voice. Knowing your audience, using appropriate verbiage and mastering your spelling and grammar without relying on software to catch errors can all help you become a better writer.
Email writing is an art form, and it’s a full-time job for email marketers. You may not necessarily want to become a professional, but you should learn how to write better emails that are both professional and effective. A Ninja Writing course on Udemy covers four levels of content writing that will help you express yourself better. Being a good writer takes time, but everyone has the ability to learn how to put their thoughts and ideas into words that are genuinely a pleasure to read.