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"Basic computer skills" is a term that is used to identify the essential skills needed in order to make use of a computer. The scope of skills that are considered basic will vary from one situation to another. For example, one employer may consider the ability to make use of a specific type of word processing software to be among the basic skills required, while a different employer will place more emphasis on the ability to work with electronic spreadsheets. Trade schools and some colleges offer courses that introduce students to basic computer skills most commonly required by employers, making it easy to secure the knowledge needed to identify and hone these skills.
As a basis for making use of a computer, basic computer skills will often start with understanding how a particular operating system functions in terms of the creation and placement of taskbars on the computer desktop, how to make use of a computer mouse to utilize the programs housed on the hard drive, and even how to go about using an email program to create, send, and receive emails. Tasks such as searching for files on a hard drive are often also considered basic skills that any user should know and be able to perform with relative ease. In some cases, training in how to conduct searches using an Internet browser will also come under the heading of basic operational skills, especially if the job position requires frequent research.
At times, the basic computer skills required in order to secure a job will mean being familiar with different types of software programs used in the office environment. Having a working knowledge of word processing programs, spreadsheet software, and presentation software used to create simple slide presentations may be considered essential by a prospective employer. Others may also require that users be able to work with some type of information database, both in terms of adding or updating data in the system and retrieving that data in order to generate reports.
Basic computer skills form the foundation for being able to make efficient use of a computer and any programs loaded onto the system. Becoming well-versed in different office suites, including how to manage simple tasks such as creating graphs and charts, copying and pasting data from one source to another, and even printing documents and envelopes will likely to be among the skills many employers will require. By taking the time to acquire these basic skills, an individual increases the chances of securing work in an office environment and possibly being able to move up in the company as time goes on.
Very right in pointing out that basic computer skills vary by organization. If there's any standard, I'd say that knowing the Microsoft Office suite inside and out may come as close as anything. At my office, knowing Word, Excel, Photoshop, WordPress and a few Web-based apps has become essential.
In the future, I'd expect the term "basic computer skills" to expand to include mobile apps and other things as we get more sophisticated in how we use technology.
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