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How To Learn Information Technology Skills

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By: Hiroshi Keing

February 12, 2021

What are IT skills?

The first step is understanding what skills are needed before finding which part we are going to learn.

Information Technology skills are sets of abilities that allow us to carry everyday activities using computers, software, Smart devices such as smartphones & tablets, and more.

Trinity College of San Sebastián’s definition of technology skills is: “To develop abilities to search, process, communicate information and transform such information into knowledge, and incorporate different abilities that vary from accessing the information until the transmission of information into different supports once treated including the usage of information technology and communication as an element essential to be informed, learn and communicate.” This is a very broad definition because IT skills depend on the general context of each person’s course of study. Still, we can list a few examples of how we can use information throughout smart devices, depending on if we are, for example:

  • Professionals develop typing skills and office tools to optimize working time and spend less time figuring out if the typing has grammar errors.
  • Students finding ways to integrate different information resources to be delivered and reviewed by a professor/instructor to pass a text or have better notes successfully.
  • Domestic users are optimizing time by spending less time doing groceries and more time relaxing or spending time with the family.


Once we have identified our environment, we need to set a goal. A question one could ask is, “What is the activity where I spend the most time?” For example, if we spend a lot of time typing reports in the office, we may want to develop tools that allow us to create reports and graphics. We also need to consider the fact that there are two ways to learn:

  • Empirical, when knowledge is acquired through hands-on experience and repetition.
  • Theoretical, when knowledge is acquired through knowing how things work before trying them.

Ideally, a learning environment, such as Cybrary, allows students to do both. The most common ways to find information for skill development are through media like videos, labs, forums, communities (like chats, groups on social media, etc.), and blogs.

General skills that may be helpful;

Domestic users:

  • How to make a shopping list using tools that help keep track of the items needed.
  • Using GPS information to plan routes and share locations.
  • Creating budgets and lists to track expenses and prepare taxes.

Professionals:

  • Being more proficient with tools like Microsoft 365.
  • Using calendars to optimize and organize schedules.
  • Properly taking advantage of the tools provided by Excel.
  • Foundational knowledge of printing.

Academic users:

  • Using the internet to identify academic information and resources to take courses and research successfully.
  • Fully take advantage of tools like Zoom, Google Meetings, or Microsoft Teams.

Other sources of information may be relevant to other skills, such as basic knowledge on using a computer or smartphone (in which case you should look for the manual that is likely available with the original packaging of the device) and software from legitimate sources (which also include resources and manuals to get started). Later on, curiosity may sparkle, or the need to get more “juice” out of them may occur, in which learning platforms like the ones previously mentioned may be handy.

Summary:

1. Take the fear out of the equation:

  • It is not very likely that you cause severe damage to a device if you follow a lead.
  • Mistakes are lessons, too!

2. Understand your environment:

  • Different skills fit different needs.

3. Identify your desired skills:

  • Find what you do more often, and ask for ways to carry them to IT.

4. Find a learning community:

  • Communities like Cybrary have many resources for free, waiting for anyone who wants to learn.
  • You will likely find people willing to help, so DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK!

5. Practice is key.

6. Always improve:

  • IT provides ways to continue finding ways to perform activities faster and easier, so be on the lookout for new skills, or improve the ones already learned.
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