Learning Computing Skills
Sometimes short courses in computing, languages, business, bookkeeping and of course, learning to drive can be of immense help in making you more employable.
Many jobs require "basic IT competence", but what does this mean? Maybe you feel you use a PC efficiently in your daily work, but how do you prove this?
The ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) is an internationally highly respected certificate that verifies your computer knowledge and practical computing skills. It is a qualification that has been designed to meet the needs of both employers and employees. All ECDL modules are self-study - you have a manual and study whenever is convenient and there are also interactive on-line learning modules available.
The ECDL syllabus covers the key concepts of computers, standard business applications, and uses in the workplace and society in general. It is divided into seven modules:
- Basic concepts of information technology
- Using the computer and managing files (Windows and file management)
- Word processing (Microsoft Word)
- Spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel)
- Database (Microsoft Access)
- Presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint)
- Information and communication (email and internet)
The ECDL is open to all University of Kent registered students. The current registration fee is £120. This includes the purchase of your logbook, a training handbook and test fees. See www.kent.ac.uk/student/skills/ecdl/index.html for details of how to register
Activ is a new online IT learning solution for University of Kent staff and students accessed from any PC connected to the internet. It provides learning modules on Vista, XP, Office 2003 or Office 2007. Topics include: using Windows, managing files, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations and using the internet and email. Modules are fully interactive and cover the ECDL syllabus www.kent.ac.uk/itservices/stafftraining/online
If you are no longer at the University you can find your nearest UK ECDL training Centre at the British Computer Society Website www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.5829 - just type in your postcode. Many colleges will offer it at low prices if you are unwaged. For other countries go to www.ecdl.com
HR Manager to job candidate:
"I see you've had no computer training. Although that qualifies you for senior management, it means you're under-qualified for our entry level positions."
See www.kent.ac.uk/careers/distance.htm to find part-time courses in any part of the country.
Hot Courses www.hotcourses.com is a particularly good database of courses.
Another way to learn new skills to use the web.
Typing learn XXX into Google, will give you free training on almost any subject. For example:
- Free Typing Tutor www.sense-lang.org/typing
- Laptop Typing Tutorial Resources www.screentekinc.com/Laptop-Typing-Tutorial.html
- MS Word Tutor also typing and web page design www.nailitnow.com.au/word/free/tocheadings.html
- Book-Keeping www.bookkeeping-course.com
- Wave Accounting Software www.waveaccounting.com/free-accounting-software is totally free: "incredibly easy, intuitive and demystifies accounting and bookkeeping"
- MS Excel www.studyfinance.com/lessons/excel/index.mv
- Desktop Publishing Skills
- Microsoft Publisher is part of MS Office. It's fairly basic but will give you a rudimentary knowledge of page layout, columns, fonts, kerning etc. before you progress to Quark or In Design.
- Quark Xpress www.quark.com is an industry leading package used in the newspaper and publishing industries. You can download a fully working demo. You can find excellent free tutorials at www.huntfor.com/design/tutorials/quarkxpress.htm
- In Design www.adobe.com/products/indesign The main competitor to Quark. Again you can download a 30 day free trial.
- Adobe Photoshop (image manipulation software) is another package specified in many adverts for jobs. You can download a 30 day free trial at www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/main.html
- Basic web page design can also help as much publishing is now web-based. You can learn simple web design using Notepad (a free text editor which is part of MS Windows: Start/Programs/Accessories/Notepad should get you to it). There are many tutorials on-line: for example www.davesite.com/webstation/html. You can also download a 30 day free trial of Dreamweaver (the web design package used by many professionals) from www.adobe.com/downloads/?PID=2294914 Most libraries will have "web design for beginners" type books you can borrow.
- If you wish to take things even further and to learn how to program see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin/computing.htm#prog
Most university or public libraries will have a wide range of computing books you can borrow to teach you these programs. For example you can search and reserve books from Kent Libraries at http://libcat.kent.gov.uk or of course, you can buy your own copy via Amazon.
Last fully updated 2012