5 Basic IT Skills Anyone Can Master (& Everyone Should!)
An old friend of mine called his computer Fred. Fred was not his friend. In fact, my friend loathed Fred.
We worked in the same shared open office space day after day and he was constantly cursing at Fred and asking me for help.
My friend, like so many others, thought technology was beyond him and didn’t bother to learn basic IT skills. He was sure that Fred was out to get him and there was no way he could ever come to understand how to get what he wanted from the machine. If he only put in a little effort to do so, he could have made Fred his best friend.
Having basic IT skills is not only helpful but required to do the job in almost every profession these days. “There is way too much to learn. How do I know what skills I need?” Relax and read on to learn the 5 basic skills that anyone can and should master.
Why Master Basic IT Skills?
Technology, by its very definition, is here to help you do something easier or faster. Mastering basic IT skills will improve your work performance and efficiency regardless of your chosen career.
In today’s work culture having these basic skills is expected and you will not be able to get by for long without them. Gone are the days when you can say “I’m not good with technology,” and expect your boss or co-workers to understand and accept it. Here are the 5 basic IT skills anyone can and should master:
Chances are you have asked someone a question and they responded with, “I don’t know. Why don’t you google it?” The internet is literally a superhighway of information and misinformation.
Search engines are the tool for finding the information you need or want. Learning how to better use them will make finding relevant and useful information quicker and easier.
Study up on how to do advance searches to find high-quality relevant information to help you with your work assignments. Google advanced search is a good place to start. Give it a try and you will be a search engine master in no time.
Early in my career, I worked as an onsite tech support for a call center. Easiest job I ever had. “Easy for you to say. You have a degree in IT and have studied and worked with computers your whole life,” you might say. What if I told you I could train you or anyone to do 99% of that job in a half-day, no problem?
It’s true. Most everyday computer issues can be solved with basic knowledge of troubleshooting. Study up on the basic hardware and software of the computers and devices you work with, the common things that go wrong with them, and the suggested troubleshooting steps. For Windows Computers, this guide is a good place to start.
Word processing is a skill that is easy to master. Digital documents have all but replaced ledgers, memos, and handouts in the workplace. Google Docs is a free service by Google that anyone can use to create professional-quality documents.
Google offers a wide selection of templates for many different types of documents. You can even share a link to your document with anyone without the need to send the file. All you need is a free Google account and a project to get started mastering the basic IT skill of word processing.
You have a good idea. You want to share it with your boss, colleagues, or clients, but how? You could call them up or bring it up at the next office meeting. If your idea is good then why not present it well?
Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful visual and audio presentation tool that is simple to use. Watch some of the many free PowerPoint tutorials on YouTube and you will be wowing them in no time with your tech skills.
You don’t need to be a software engineer to learn how to leverage open-source software to solve problems at the office or job site. Git is used by coders to work together on the same software project. Think of it as Google Docs for coders. “I don’t Git it (haha, sorry I couldn’t resist). Why would I need to know this?”
If you work with computers then you work with software, usually software designed for the unique needs of your business. Software engineers often are limited in their understanding of the actual use of their software because they are not the ones doing the work.
Often the user, you, will come across issues or have ideas on how to improve the software. How impressive it would be if you not only had a good idea on how to improve your software but also did a Git search and found open source code that could do it? I guarantee the software engineering team at your company would be more inclined to listen if you learned to speak a few words in their language.
You can start learning basic Git by understanding Git best practices. The basics of what Git is and how it works is IT know-how that is easy to learn yet likely to impress your colleagues.
Make Fred Your Friend
IT skills, unlike people, are fundamentally simple to understand because they follow the rules bound by science. Start by learning the basic IT skills and advanced concepts will become less intimidating.
If you don’t learn to crawl you will never learn to walk and run. Stop staring at Fred with awe and introduce yourself. Technology is your friend.
Check out other Tech skills articles on this website to learn IT easily.