The Importance of Basic Computer Skills

I had defined in an earlier article computer literacy as the means or the capacity of a person to use computer applications. In other words, a person who knows to use the machine to complete any task is a computer literate. Computer literate often connotes little more than the ability to use several very specific applications (usually Microsoft Word, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Outlook) for certain very well-defined simple tasks, largely by rote.

Let us see what counts as the essential computer skills as understood under computer literate:

Performing basic operations:
Starting a computer may be a very tricky thing to one who has never seen one. Using the mouse, managing various windows, alternating between the use of keyboard and mouse, minimizing windows, opening and closing files, etc can be daunting tasks for the uninitiated ones. In order to learn to use computers, as with any machine, one needs to acclimatize himself/herself first. First and foremost one should familiarize himself/herself with the parts and functions of the computer - in a similar manner you learn about the functioning of your washing machine or DVD player or dishwasher.

Word-processing: This is the most basic of all skills. It involves typing basically, but when using computers it deviates a little from the common typewriter. There is the enter key replacing the career movement and there are commands (simple ones) for paragraph, indent, spacing and so on. The best of word processing is that you can modify with ease any part of the text you entered. The word processing is the minimum one should know because it will be used in each and every application of computers.

The postal letter, though extremely sought after, is on its way out in today's world replaced by the electronic mail or as popularly known, email. The 21st century man does most of his communication through emails. Whether it is posting a CV for a vacancy, or applying for a job - the most common way and the best way is to email it. Email also enables you to keep in touch with all your near and dear ones in real time (instantly). You can send photographs, documents and video clips through email. This is another important and basic skill a computer literate needs to know.

Use the Internet:
The use of the Internet is too vast to be covered in the present article. However, no computer literate is complete without Internet knowledge. Computers and Internet is today almost one and the same thing and one cannot be mentioned without the other tagging along. One will need to harness the Internet in all types of work whether it is research on any topic or plain surfing for information. For this purpose you will need to know what is a search engine and how it works; what is a keyword and how it works; how to open a browser and how to use a link, etc. The Internet is like a huge shopping mall where you are required to navigate with the help of certain guidelines.

Use a Spreadsheet:
One will also need to use a spreadsheet of excel sheet for computing and chalking out financial plans. This is a must in any presentation and knowing the basics on how to use and read a spreadsheet will be extremely helpful to any young executive. As with others, this too will require a lot of hands-on practice and a little theory to master.

Create and use a Database:
One also needs to know how to create and use a simple database. There are million and one information points that one gathers and to be able to interpret it correctly and present it systematically one needs to be able to analyze the data received. Computers are best at throwing up accurate forecasts, analysis and organizing data in a legible and interpretable way; for getting these results you will need to feed in the data by creating a database and then knowing what command to give to ask the computer what analysis you want it to perform.

Create/ Use a Power Point or graphic file:
Every job involves some type of reporting at regular periods of time. The best way to make a presentation whether it is to your peers, subalterns or superiors is by using power point. Hence, one should the basics of this application as well. Side by side, one should know to use a graphic file whereby you can upload (post) pictures, graphs, images in any file (as well as power point files).

Printing of a document:
Whatever you learn to do, you will sooner or later need a hard copy ('hard copy' means 'on a paper' while 'soft copy' means 'electronic copy') and for obtaining that you should know how to print whatever you create with the help of computer.
Use of the peripherals:
You need to know what is a portable drive or a pen drive and how it is used; what is a blue tooth and how can be installed and used; what is an infra-red device and how it can be used and so on. Nowadays computers can be connected with wire and on wireless with your mobile. You need not totally master all the above but you should know sufficient not to look crestfallen when you are encounter the terms verbally or in writing.