It’s no secret that technology skills are valuable in the modern workplace, but how can students start honing their talents in advance? Here are 5 valuable computer skills your child needs to know!
1. Typing. This may seem rather obvious, but typing is actually a specialized skill that takes years of practice to master. In the past, typing was a common class offered to students starting in middle school as recently as the early 2000s. Today, basic typing classes are far less common in schools as computers have become so much more mainstream over the years and it is often assumed that students will already have acquired these skills by a certain age. We recommend that students learn the basics of using a keyboard correctly, including proper typing technique (where your fingers should rest), in order to increase your overall typing speed (WPM, or words-per-minute).
2. Word Processing. This might sound similar to our first skill, but word processing itself is different than typing (which is more a physical action). Students should know the ins-and-outs of Microsoft Word or a comparable word processing program. Throughout their academic career, students are frequently asked to submit formatted assignments (MLA, double-spaced, page-numbered, etc.) for grading. Knowing how to use word processing software to its full extent is a valuable skill for any student at any age.
3. Email. Here’s another skill that might sound obvious, but many younger students don’t rely on email accounts when social media is so present in today’s world. In the workplace and in academic applications, email communication is fairly standardized. We’re not surprised that most kids know how to like and share a social media post these days, but we’ve found it’s fairly common for students to have no idea what a “subject line” or “CC” is when it comes to email platforms. Encourage your child to become comfortable with email correspondence. These are valuable skills to learn before moving on to college where email communication is relied upon heavily (both to contact professors and in group assignments).
4. Presentation Software. At some point in your child’s academic career, they will undoubtedly be asked to make a slideshow presentation. Knowing how to use PowerPoint (or equivalent software) is a valuable skill both in college classes as well as workplace presentations. We find that by middle school most students will have some experience with assignments that involve presenting to classmates, so it’s a great idea to get a head start on refining these skills. If you’d like to learn more about presentation skills, Tutor Doctor also has some great advice about public speaking!
5. Security Essentials. In the age of technology, everything is protected with a password. And with tons of different logins and emails for everything we access online, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Knowing the basics about security essentials and online privacy is a valuable computer skill at any age. Take precautions by not reusing passwords on multiple websites and making sure to add special characters to your passwords for security. Password manager software is a great option for any family. We also recommend students become comfortable with other security basics, like troubleshooting (virus-scanning, for example) and installing software safely. And when it comes to social media, you can’t be too careful! To learn more about protecting your child on social media, visit our blog on the topic.