How can I develop my IT skills?

Written by Calvin Bowers
developingastudent

It is clear that we live in an increasingly fast-paced and professionally competitive environment charged by the continuous development of new technological devices and services to fit every business requirement. This means that having basic skills, competencies, and abilities to use technology successfully is a necessity for all students.

Whether you are a school-leaver about to embark on your university career, a current student or a recent graduate, having reliable IT skills is essential to excelling in both an education and the workplace. It is crucial to make the most of the opportunities available to you whilst at university as it can be an easy way to improve your skills before starting your graduate career.

Computer literacy is an essential skill both in the workplace and in academic institutions – and yes,
whilst it could come in useful; it is certainly not necessary to have a degree in IT to understand technology. Of course, certain parts of technology can be challenging to understand. However, in a basic form, most of us are using technology in our everyday lives, be it social media, our smartphones or a laptop.

Due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK economy, 156,000 fewer young people aged 16-24 were in employment between April and July of this year. Therefore, developing your IT skills and competences, whether these are basic or more complex, could drastically increase your employability.

To help you get started, we have compiled some tips on developing your IT and computer skills:

Seek support

You may want to start by reaching out to teachers at your school or institution to see what support is available. If you are an undergraduate student, your university will most likely run free IT support classes to help students get to grips with a range of technologies.

There are several charities, organisations and institutions which provide young people with the essential IT competencies they need to excel in the working world. Many run programmes that aim to equip young people from low socio-economic backgrounds with technical IT-based skills, such as how to use Microsoft Office and the basics of coding to help unlock their full potential.

Apply your knowledge and get hands-on experience

Consider applying for work experience or looking for a summer job at an organisation where you will have the opportunity to utilise and further develop your IT skills. This does not have to be an IT-based company; the vast majority of businesses use computers or other technologies in routine operations. Perhaps you could work to improve social media profiles of a small local enterprise or manage a company’s outgoings using database software, such as Microsoft excel.

Due to coronavirus, virtual work experience is growing in demand. Students and graduates are trying to find alternative ways to boost their employability during the lockdown. Gaining virtual work experience, in whatever field, will require the use of technology, such as video conferencing or Microsoft Office use.

Alternatively, you could consider volunteering as a means to practice your technology skills. This could be a great way to connect with your community while gaining hands-on technology experience. Plus it is an excellent addition to your CV or cover letter.

For further information, support and guidance, visit our dedicated pages for students and graduates.

Last Updated: Friday October 16 2020
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