Here’s a mix of tech savvy skills and gadgets that you absolutely should learn to know and use effectively if you want to make your life easier, more connected and smoother while you’re moving through school and career building.
That’s right, basic programming.. If you’re already building up a cold sweat at the idea of doing anything that seems so absolutely, arcanely complicated, let me assure you that it really isn’t a big deal. We’re not talking about creating a fully functioning website through Ruby on Rails or Perl and presenting it to the world!
By basic programming, I mean learning how the fundamentals of a couple of useful basic computer languages such as HTML and CSS work and maybe applying a bit of them to a personal blog or site of your own in bits and bytes. If you’re still scared, you can find some excellent basic tutorials here and here.
Microsoft Office –or Open Office if you prefer open source software– including Excel and all the rest of the software, needs to be learned at least to a basic level. You won’t be very good to a lot of employers if you can’t do essential things such as specially format a word file, create a spread sheet, or whip up a PowerPoint presentation with relative ease.
Learn the essentials of these essential office document tools and you’ll go a long way towards making yourself look more professional in projects, resumes and class assignments.
Here’s a handy list of free alternative software in case you don’t feel like forking over a couple hundred bucks for a licensed Office 360 package.
Also called CMS, what this is is blogging software! The now famous WordPress and its competitors are all called CMS platforms, and they are essential tools for quickly and easily building your own websites and blogs, as we’ve recommended before.
If you ever go ahead and decide to set up your own blog, small business site or self promotion website and don’t think Facebook page is going to cut it for you, then you need to learn how to install and manage a CMS like WordPress on your hosting cpanel. It’s not at all complicated and once you get the hang of it (which shouldn’t take more than a couple of days tops) you’ll be able to set u any sort of basic but very elegant looking website in no time thanks to the thousands of themes and plugins that can quickly be installed through WordPress..
At the very least, you’ll have learned how to use an awesome tool for building interactive online resumes and portfolios of your personal work for when job hunting time comes around.
Video conferencing is going to be an increasingly important part of the digital communications landscape in the near future and in some areas, it already is! Thus, if you want to smoothly collaborate with your fellow students, teachers and, later on, your colleagues and bosses at work, you’d better learn how to use at least a basic assortment of video calling tools.
At the most basic level, these video calling tools consist of easy to use, free mobile video calling apps like Tango, ooVoo and Skype for mobile. At more complex levels that you might find in corporate setting, you’ll need to learn about using online video conferencing platforms such as InterCall and GoToMeeting.
DropBox, Google Drive, Spider Oak; all of these are cloud sharing and storage apps and all of them are worth getting to know. DropBox and Drive from Google are great for sharing large files with study partners and teachers, and Spider Oak is awesome for backing up your entire computer hard drive remotely and with total digital privacy (in case you’re paranoid).
Using them is not only going to serve you well in school and on the job market, it’s also a great skill to know in general because it teaches you all about keeping your personal data redundantly safe.
You should by now know all about mobile apps and all of the thousands of awesome little uses they can have in your daily life and schoolwork organization, so maybe you already know Evernote. If not, then you should really download this fantastic little app and learn to use it as quickly as you can.
Perfect for taking notes, capturing screen shots and taking photos of important paper documents for in case you lose them; Evernote will save everything for you in an intuitive and editable online menu that automatically synchronizes amongst all of your electronic devices.
Unless you’ve been studying in a deep, dark cave with no access to the outside world of electronics for the last several years, then you obviously know about social media and probably have at least several different social network accounts on the big sites like Twitter and Facebook.
In case you haven’t connected yourself to the social network scene, do so and soon. The entire world of social human interaction is migrating part of its activities to these platforms and if you really want to network and share anything with others, you need to do the same, at least professionally for the sake of your career.