ENTER THE CYBER WORLD
Smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, digital cameras, car entertainment systems, and so many more gadgets – The digital revolution is not going to stop, and it sure is painful to be left out of the cyber world these days. It affects personal lives, not being able to communicate with friends and family, but most companies these days will also expect one to able to perform the basic “digital tasks”.
So just what are the necessary basics and where to start? Where can we learn all of these from? Are paid courses better or should we just go for the free ones? Read on to find out!
WHAT TO LEARN
The digital universe is absolutely massive these days, and nobody can give an exact list of “learn these things in this particular order”. But personally, I will recommend the following, and please feel free to use it as a “mini checklist”:
- Basic types of computers.
- Basic computer parts & how to operate.
- The Internet, and how to do some simple research – Which you are already doing great.
- A little bit of networking, at least know which technologies exist – Bluetooth, WIFI, mobile networks.
- Basic Windows.
- Smartphones and Tablets.
- Basic communications – Email and social media.
- Office productivity – Word documents, spreadsheets, and presentation slides.
There are a lot more to learn than these, but these should pretty much cover most of the essentials.
P.S. If you are interested in a more “complete knowledge list”, please do check out my list of basics to be computer literate.
WHERE TO LEARN
Thankfully, there are plenty of places to learn all the basics with the help of the Internet itself – Here is a list of places that provide knowledge and tutorials to complete your quest to master basic computer:
The number one video sharing site on the planet Earth. Where else better to learn from? There are plenty of channels teaching all sorts of computer stuff, and here are a few that I will personally recommend:
- Technology for Teachers and Students – A YouTube channel dedicated to creating contents for both teachers and students. A good place to get started.
- Computer Hardware & Software part 1, part 2. A rather old tutorial, but explains the basics perfectly.
- Linus Tech Tips – One of my favorite channels, all sorts of tech tips.
2) BLOGS & WEBSITES
- TutorialsPoint – A good old reliable website that offers all sorts of computer tutorials. Be advised, their tutorials are a little more on the “technical side”… Probably not that interesting to read, but still good information.
- GCFglobal – Goodwill Community Foundation. A not-for-profit organization that provides tutorials for all sorts of tech topics, for free.
- Computer Hope – Another good old tech website that has been around for a long time. Has a lot of contents on computer basics and tips.
3) ONLINE COURSES
Why go through all the trouble of looking for a school, signing up, and going for classes? There is the Internet these days, and we can learn from the comfort of our own homes, any time we want. Here are a few of the more reputable sites that provide online courses (may need to pay for some of them).
- Udemy – This is a website where instructors from all over the world make their own training videos and offer them for a small fee. There are a lot of different courses and instructors that you can choose from. Some of them are even free.
- Lynda (LinkedIn Learning) – Another old reliable on the Internet, offering various training courses. One good thing is that Lynda is actually kind of recognized in some places.
- Khan Academy – A massive website offering all sorts of tech-related courses.
4) MOBILE APPS
Ah, the wonders of technology. If you are using an Android or iPhone, simply open the app store and search for “basic computer”. There are a ton of apps available that can help you to learn, and the better part is the convenience of being able to learn wherever you go.
5) OFFLINE COURSES
Well, if online is not your cup of tea, then I am sure there are schools in your area that offer basic computer courses. Do a search for “basic computer courses” on Google, and take your pick.
Finally, here is the old school way, just go to a library and look for books on basic computing. But please do be careful about which books you read – The digital world of technology changes fast, and you do not want to be reading dusty books that are 5 years old and outdated.
FREE VS PAID
Free and paid courses, which is a better choice? Personally, I don’t think many companies will even bother verifying a “basic computing certificate” these days. A simple interview test of “do online research for a topic, create a short report, and email it” will immediately strike out the computer illiterate; The free online courses are good enough in most cases.
But that does not mean all the paid courses are bad and useless. While you have to pay for these courses, the good thing is that there is an actual instructor, and you can ask questions. Certain “proficient in this software” certificates are also very useful – This is entirely up to yourself, and if you are comfortable with learning by yourself.
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to get a good starting point, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.
W.S. Toh is a senior web developer and SEO practitioner with over 10 years of experience in building websites. When he is not secretly being an evil tech ninja, he enjoys doing photography and working on DIY projects.