How to Develop Computer Skills - Learning New Skills and Cultivating Aptitude in Computers
Improving your computer knowledge, cultivating your aptitude, and upgrading your market value
Developing computer skills is like achieving any other goal or objective. It takes time effort and planning to effectively get better at any skill or develop any proficiency. However, it does not have to be stressful or painful in any way. You can learn any skill over time at your own pace.
The most important part to learning new computer skills is to gain actual experience with the technology or program. For instance, if you are looking to get more skills in spreadsheets the best way to learn is to slowly expand you knowledge and get experience with new pieces of information. Start with just a simple spreadsheet that tracks numbers. Get used to entering and manipulating within the software. You can then try and perform math on those numbers like adding or subtracting from other numbers and keeping a running total or balance for an account. From there you should try and branch out and learn more complex computations utilizing spreadsheet such as referencing other spreadsheets within the calculations or performing a lookup of data (vlookup in the Microsoft Excel world).
The point being if you start at the beginning with a use perspective it will be easier to learn information. If you only take courses and do not have the opportunity to use the new skills you will find that all that information will quickly disappear. This is much like reading something and being told information. If you are told something you have the opportunity to become distracted and lose the information, however if you are vested and reading material you have the time to ask yourself questions and put more thought behind the information which makes the learning more permanent.
Now let's take a more advanced topic such as computer programming. Each language has a vast vocabulary and proper syntax. If one were to try and just memorize all the possibilities in programming they might be able to "tell" you what you might be able to do, however they will not have the real world experience and confidence to write a program from scratch. It is in the actual experience and accumulated time programming that a developer can become able to mix different methods and create a preferred style or plan of attack to finding a solution.
In order to learn a new programming language (or computer skill in general) I recommend finding a good book or course with a really good reference manual. The course will provide you with enough background and familiarity to get started and be able to play around with the technology. From there you should use the course book as a reference guide and choose one topic to build aptitude with for a week or so. This will give you the chance and focus to add new skills to your arsenal while gaining precious real world experience.
Here is my recommended plan of attack for learning new and developing new computer skills. First, choose what you need to learn. Secondly, take or find a course to follow. This can be a book, a video, or just a free online tutorial. Stay with this learning until you build some aptitude and proficiency. From there take a break from courses and find a good reference. In most cases as you learn to use the skills taught in classes you will find that problems will arise that will require you to expand your knowledge. Use your new reference guide and slowly integrate new concepts and skills either by necessity from the work that you are doing or by decision where you choose what you want to add next. This should relieve the stress from learning and keep you moving forward on you path to developing computer skills.
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