Why Computer Application Skills Are Vital in the Workplace

ICT & Data Analysis

Why Computer Application Skills Are Vital in the Workplace

Posted 05 January

Whether it’s mastering higher-level spreadsheet use, being comfortable with productivity and teamworking applications, finding a document on the system or being able to troubleshoot an offline printer or dodgy internet access, basic computer literacy is vital for anyone who wants to succeed in most jobs.

ICT skills aren’t just important at work, but in education, at home and in our everyday lives.

Everyone had a crash course in meetings software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and Houseparty in 2020. Within days, these previously niche programmes became the way in which we kept in touch with friends and relatives, worked and learned during the pandemic. Home computer connectivity has been at the heart of our shopping, socialising and survival, accelerating change and forcing all age groups to embrace technology. 

Could your ICT skills do with a polish? Would an ICT skills course put you ahead at home and work? Let’s find out… but first, the basics.

What does ICT stand for?

The generally accepted definition is Information and Communications Technology, although there are variants including information communication technology and information and communications technologies. 
There are plenty of explanations as to what ICT actually means but no universal definition. The simplest definition is that ICT is a term covering all devices, applications, systems, internet and mobile technologies which enable people and organisations to communicate.

What does the term computer literacy mean?

Computer literacy is having the knowledge and ability to competently use computers and similar technology. Basic computer literacy might mean being able to browse the internet, and possess computer applications and office skills covering spreadsheet use and word processing. However, computer literacy can also include advanced ICT skills such as computer programming.

Why is ICT such a powerful tool?

Ask anyone what the world was like before the internet, or before everyone had a smartphone in their pocket, and you’ll begin to understand. The UK’s Independent newspaper says of the 1969 Apollo moon landing: “The iPhone in your pocket has more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that landed man on the moon 50 years ago.”

Research was done with books and encyclopaedias in libraries, information was circulated round workplaces by typed memos, news came from printed papers, radio and TV, and emails were an exciting upgrade to faxes when they started being used widely at around the turn of the century. Compare that with learning about a breaking news story via Twitter, researching an assignment using Google, or catching up with the latest on You Tube or IGTV.

Why is ICT such a powerful tool?

Why is ICT such a powerful tool?

How to develop ICT skills

Basic computer literacy courses are on most school timetables now, but there are plenty of options for those who missed out, or who want to upgrade and enjoy the advantages of ICT.

Finding an ICT skills course to cover your needs isn’t difficult, but it can be a good idea to come up with an ICT skills checklist to work out what those needs are. Are you seeking specific ICT literacy skills? Or a more general ICT skills programme? Or computer applications skills to be able to carry out specialist jobs such as computer assisted design, or website development?

At Galway Business School, our Computer Applications Course covers a wide range of knowledge in just one part-time semester. You’ll learn about common computer applications and develop skills in spreadsheet, database and graphics applications.

At the end, you’ll be able to:

  • Demonstrate practical use of file management and navigation on a PC
  • Define a range of technical terms in the field of ICT
  • Create professional business documents
  • Produce presentations using a range of features
  • Demonstrate competent use of the internet, web and e-mail.
  • Apply calculations to business data and produce a range of charts

Computer skills that will help you get hired

Obviously, you’ll need a wider and deeper range of skills if you’re applying for an IT position than something involving general office work. As a minimum most employers are looking for:

●        Good word-processing skills

●        Basic use of spreadsheet applications and being able to perform simple functions

●        Effective email communication in the workplace

●        Being able to use PowerPoint

●        Understanding computer file storage to find documents Web and social media skills

Handling graphics, being able to use accounting software and perhaps basic coding are useful skills for your CV or resume too.

Benefits of computer literacy for students

Most students are digital natives: you’ve grown up with the technology, and use a smartphone to check facts, organise your social life, pay for shopping and browse the internet. So there’s no excuse for not having at least some basic computer literacy.

Do you know how to make a PowerPoint presentation on a computer? You’re likely to have to do this at some point during your course: having the basic skills will save a lot of pain, and be useful when job hunting.

Excellent skills in Word or Google Docs will mean you can turn in assignments which read and look professional, including citations and footnotes as required. And while arts students might not need to learn Excel – it's pretty much a requirement for economics, business students and scientists – it can be an incredibly useful way of storing research or managing your budget. 

Computer Applications GBS Class

Computer Applications GBS Class

Benefits of computer literacy for personal use

It’s fair to say that ICT can sometimes be frustrating: the smartphone that runs out of charge when you most need Google Maps, the document which disappears from your laptop at the crucial moment, the shopping website which crashes between basket and payment. 

But overall, there are so many benefits in everyday life of having computer literacy skills – and they can help us get around the problems. Whether it’s using Excel for household budgeting or organisation, being able to write emails to apply for jobs or creating a professional-looking CV and cover letter in Word, ICT skills will only enhance your life. 

Is it ever too late for someone to learn ICT?

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that the answer to this question is NO! 

Everyone knows older people – often much older people - who’ve mastered Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends, often using a laptop or tablet for the first time.

We all know late adopters of Instagram and TikTok, and people who’ve had to learn to do all their shopping on the Internet after a lifetime on the High Street. So it’s not too late for you.

Is this the year when you’ll transform your life and career by taking a computer literacy course? 

Why not come to Galway Business School and join our Computer Applications Course ? It will cover everything you need to get you started – and much more – in just one semester.

Contact us to find out more. 

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