Almost every business is IT enabled these days. It means that almost all communication, documentation, accounting, management, knowledge and data processing are accomplished through computers. So it becomes really important to have basic IT skills, even for professionals who are into non IT career fields. Let us examine these skills in detail.
Basic Computer Skills
As the name suggests, these are the core skills of using and finding your way around in a computer system. To start with, you must acquaint yourself with basics of computer hardware like mouse, keyboard, monitor and CPU.
Then start with how to properly Start/Login and Logout/shut down a computer. Also, being able to navigate through system menus to launch programs and change basic computer settings like desktop wall paper, add/remove programs etc is useful. Next it’s vital to know how to navigate menus or options within programs to execute certain actions and how to minimize, maximize or resize windows. Switching between windows using taskbar and using keyboard shortcuts is quite helpful in improving productivity.
File Management is also an important area of Core Computing skills. Understanding of File Manager Menus options to create shortcuts and for copying, deleting, renaming or moving files/folders is required. Ability to handle large files by zipping them into archives is really useful. Also, being able to navigate through files and folders on removable drives and shared network locations is important.
Most businesses host a lot of documentation, be it business plans, proposals, meeting notes, technical or legal documentation. Accordingly, each organization subscribes to Word Processing Software that's installed on their computer systems. A typical Word Processor has a wide range of options to enable creation, formatting, saving and printing of documents with ease. There are simple as well sophisticated options available in a typical word processor like Flowcharts and Graphics along with being able to insert symbols and date/time in documents. At the very least every Word Processor provides spelling and grammar check function with dictionary support in popular languages. Employees are expected to familiarize themselves with these options in the Word Processor. This ensures standardized and smooth document creation and publishing throughout the organization.
Spreadsheets are mainly used to store and represent numerical data. This data is normally financial or technical in nature. Regardless, spreadsheets allow simple as well complicated numerical, statistical and scientific calculations with ease. Employees must however learn certain basic concepts before being able to use these features. One of the most important concept of course is arrangement of data as Cells and Tables in worksheets consisting of Rows and Columns. Another concept of value is formulas. Spreadsheets allow use of inbuilt as well as user defined formulas and functions. Another feature worth learning is charts and graphs, which gives a graphical analysis and presentation view to your data.
Presentations are a common tool in Business meetings. Be it to share ideas, making proposals, presenting a new product or service etc., Presentation is the key to making an impact on your decision making audience. Presentation software assists you with the part of presenting your information, idea, proposal, product or service in an impressive form. Presentations usually consist of slides. Each slide may be a combination of text, graphics and charts. Sophisticated Presentation software allows you to add animation, video or interactive ability to the Presentation. Presentation system suggests format in the form of theme templates that best suits your needs. Thus, familiarity with the Presentation Software is vital to make a good impression in your business meetings.
WWW or the World Wide Web is now the backbone of all business and personal communication. Internet helps you to search for information, resources and even people. Websites and web-services provide options to simplify and automate many of our daily tasks. Thus, employees should have knowledge of at least basic internet usage to be productive. Since research and discovery of information and contacts is vital in many businesses so Search Engines are in extensive use. One must know how to search using keywords, phrases and combinations to get the relevant search results. Some search engines allow searching with images too. How to download files/WebPages and copy content off websites into documents is also worth knowing. Knowledge of Internet terms like cookies and URL is useful. Websites are primarily accessed through a web browser. One must have knowledge of basic browser functions like opening a website, refreshing a web page, back/forward and history. Browser may be stock (included with the Computer System at time of install) or downloaded off the web for extra features.
Emails are a primary form of communication that has replaced letters in formal and informal circles of Personal and Professional lives. Business Computer Systems usually have an email software pre installed which may be configured for use with specific user email id. Some businesses however, rely on web access of their email system. Regardless of the difference in look and feel between the two, overall functionality remains the same. Employees are expected to be familiar with the Email system, so that they can compose new messages, format them, and check them from spelling and grammatical errors. Also, it’s important to know how emails can be sent to single, multiple or a distribution list of recipients. The ability to address a recipient directly with To Field and copy / blind copy options are worth knowing. Emails send/receive function is normally automatic and timed, but a user should be able to manually send and receive email.
This skill is vital due to the fact that since all business information is now digitized, it’s become important to protect it from loss, theft and misuse through Information Security Practices. These are essentially Dos and Don’ts s while using Business Information Systems. A Prominent policy taught most often to the employee is regarding Passwords. Since individual passwords unlock data and resources as per role and authority, so users are taught to keep complex passwords. Not to share them. Change them on regular basis. Apart from passwords, Information is generally classified and compartmentalized. This means any business user is provided access to information, just enough to do their jobs. Also, the information is labelled as sensitive or secret as per content to limit access. All of these are augmented with stringent system and policy audits internally and by external auditors on regular basis. All employees are required to not only familiarize themselves but also certify themselves with Information Security Learning Programs.