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Colorado State University Global

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How Can I Improve My Computer Literacy?

Computers and the Internet have become so important to society, communications and business that being skilled in these areas has become critical to educational and vocational advancement. Read on for more information on how to upgrade your computer literacy skills.

Computer Literacy Defined

Computer literacy, according to Webopedia, refers to the ability to use computer applications; generally, it doesn't refer to programming ( www.webopedia.com). It can be looked at as a set of skills that many, if not most, people must have in order to be employed or to get postsecondary training. It includes the ability to use databases and graphic files. Computer literacy also involves writing, saving and finding a document in a word-processing program, as well as finding facts on the Internet and sending email. It also includes understanding intellectual property and evaluating the quality of Internet source material.

Important Facts About Computer Literacy

Degree/Certificate Levels Courses are typically for personal enrichment only
Prerequisites No experience is necessary for basic computer literacy training
Online Availability There are many free online resources available for learning computer literacy skills
Possible Careers Most careers today require some technology skill, including customer service and retail work
Median Salary (2018) $33,750 (for all customer service representatives)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 5% growth (for all customer service representatives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Become More Computer Literate

For some Americans, computer training may provide a critical economic boost. Despite the increasing importance of these skills, it can be difficult to acquire them if you don't own a computer or have a broadband Internet connection at home. According to a 2013 study on broadband Internet access conducted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), certain demographic groups, including people living in rural areas, older people, those with lower incomes and the unemployed, are less likely to have broadband Internet (www.ntia.doc.gov).

Community College Courses

Whether or not you have a computer in your home, one way to upgrade your skills is to enroll in basic computer courses at a community college. You can often take courses without enrolling in a specific degree program. Some course titles focus on computer applications, with content that may cover the role of computers in society, how to use the Internet, and how to use word processing software, databases and spreadsheets. In these classes, you may learn basic terminology allowing you to understand what an operating system is and the distinction between hardware and software. You may survey jobs in information technology and have the opportunity to practice on computers and software provided by the school.

Other Courses

Aside from courses offered through community colleges, other organizations may offer computer literacy courses, including resource centers and libraries. These are usually short classes, held over one or a few sessions, that focus on a specific task or program, such as blogging, computer basics, social media, Microsoft programs or job searching.