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Basic Computer Skills for Getting Ahead in Life

Basic computer skills.

Once upon a time, a computer programmer drowned at sea. Many were on the beach and heard him cry out, “F1! F1!”, but no one understood. (F1 is help)- Academic Tips While nobody would confuse today’s world with the ones seen in Science Fiction, there’s no denying that computers are an important part of modern living. As technology has improved, working professionals in particular have had to update or in some cases learn how to navigate their computers better. If any of that sounds remotely familiar, here are 6 basic computer skills that everyone should know.  

1. Typing

Whether you’re dealing with reports or e-mails, the ability to type quickly is a skill that’s becoming increasingly valued in the workplace. The best way to succeed at this is to keep your fingers on the appropriate keys. It’ll feel awkward at first, but once you get used to it your productivity will really go up. You can improve your speed by visiting TypingTest or you can start with the fundamentals by taking lessons at KeyBR.  

2. Microsoft Office

Between Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, the Office Suite is one of the most important software programs that a person can learn. In Excel, you can set up your spreadsheet in such a way that the your numbers will be calculated automatically. Powerpoint is a particularly powerful means of making presentations in a professional setting. Finally, there’s Microsoft Word. Between the templates, the page layout options, and the use of spellcheck, there’s no limit to what you can do with your documents.  

3. Search Engines

The Internet is your portal to the world. You can keep up on the latest news, read what people are saying about the latest events, listen to music, and research the information you need for work. Search engines in particular are an invaluable resource. While most are aware of how they can enter their initial questions into Google, many people don’t fully appreciate the power of a quality search engine query. Google Scholar and Google Books are just two examples of how you can nail your search down to specific sources. To that end, Google Products and Dogpile are both options worth exploring.  

4. E-mail

Have you ever found yourself playing "phone tag" with coworkers and clients? Do you find yourself waiting on information often or working with people who don't have fax machines on hand? Whether you're using a free or a paid provide, being proficient with e-mail is another skill that will save you time in the long run. Depending on your provider, you’d be surprised to learn that it’s possible to automatically prioritize e-mails or have e-mails sent to specific folders. Imagine that.  

5. Anti-Virus and Firewalls

An essential part of being online is knowing how to keep your computer secure. The last thing you want is to get hacked or to find that you’ve lost important files. While you can pay for protection from viruses, Trojans, and hackers, there are a few free options available to you like Microsoft Security Essentials. A few ways that you can protect your computer include avoiding sites that could potentially harm your computer and being careful with what you download from the Internet.  

6. Keyboard Shortcuts

Do you want a faster way to navigate your computer? What would you do if the files you wanted were always just a few keystrokes away? Keyboard shortcuts are exactly what they sound like: a shortcut you can use to get where you want to go. You can capitalize words, browse online, and even open new applications and programs if that’s your goal. Simply press the right combination of keys to get the results you’re looking for. Here’s a keyboard shortcut cheat sheet you may be interested in using. At this point, computers can’t be separated from their increasing role in society. As such, basic computer skills can go a long way towards helping you update your professional skills. Internet usage, keyboard shortcuts virus protection, typing, and blogging are fundamentals you can’t go wrong with.