Five Must-Have Tech Skills Every College Student Should Possess
Technology changes so quickly that it can be tough to keep up – even for the most adept college student. While you don’t need to be a computer programmer to get through college and be a desirable candidate in the job market, there are a few tech skills that you should master.
When it comes to Microsoft Office, Word just won’t cut it these days. And understanding of how to use the entire suite – including PowerPoint and the dreaded Excel – can help you to more efficiently organize and study. Additionally, an understanding of programs like Google Drive and OpenOffice can be highly beneficial to your study habits, particularly when it comes to group projects. Not to mention being a wizard in these programs can give you a serious leg up in the professional world.
The days of searching through card catalogs are over. Thanks to the Internet and search databases, you can easily access an abundance of information in seconds. However, this comes at a price – there’s a lot of unverified information out there. It will serve you well to understand not only how to conduct research through the Internet and databases like LexisNexis, but also that sites like Wikipedia aren’t solid sources. If you’re unclear on acceptable resources, ask your professor or librarian. It will help you wade through a lot of useless information and you’ll be a research pro in no time.
When it comes to email etiquette, it’s critical that you know your audience. It might be just fine to use acronyms and casual language when writing to your friends, but your tone, language and manner of address should be different for professors, potential employers, and others. Also, remember: Emails live forever, so be discerning in what you write.
While most college-aged people these days have never really known a world where social media wasn’t around, the behavior sometimes witnessed on sites might lead one to believe otherwise. Your Facebook page is the only glimpse that many people will have into who you are, so be aware that what you post will reflect your character, whether that’s your intention or not. Also, learning to navigate sites like LinkedIn and joining groups can be critical to helping you make early connections to land a coveted internship or job.
The ability to troubleshoot.
If your computer crashes, chances are that you have no choice but to make a trip to your local IT person or Genius Bar. But learning how to troubleshoot issues yourself so you don’t constantly have to consult with someone else can save you time and money – not to mention come in handy when you’re writing a paper at 3 am and no one is around to help you solve a technical issue.