Are you afraid of computers? Do you worry every time you click on a link that you will be lost somewhere in cyberspace? Would you rather be faced with a live mouse than a computer mouse? Then you may have computer anxiety. And this may be deadly for the mature job seeker. What can you do?
Computers then and now: You may have used computers in the past. There were challenging. You had to know a computer language (DOS) and you had to command the computer to do things using this language. In these days, it WAS possible to do serious damage to your computer. With a single errant command, you could lose everything on your hard drive.
That was then. Today it is much easier to find your way around on a computer. You follow graphics instead of typing in commands. You are not able to make drastic changes without confirming them. Basically, it is really hard to break your computer.
What skills do you need for the job market? According to Monster.com , a well known job site, there are three basic areas in which you should take some training: Basic computer skills (mouse tutorials, using a keyboard, file management) Microsoft office (especially Word, Excel and PowerPoint) Internet skills (email, navigating the web, searching)
Getting started: You have options for improving you understanding and skills, depending on your current level of understanding and your personal resources. You can find many sources online. You might have to ask a family member or friend to help you get started with finding these valuable tutorials: What do you need to learn? You might want to start with the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum. You can take a test to see what you are comfortable with and what you need to work on, then you can follow curriculum to help you with those areas in which you are less comfortable. This is a very robust course, not one that you can complete in a few minutes. However, you will find that it is definitely worth your time to go through the course. There are web based programs to help you develop your computer skills. You may want to start with a mouse tutorial. The mouse can be confusing to new computer users. It has several functions, and the way to master them is to practice in a safe way. SeniorNet offers some very basic practice tools which help you to master the mouse. The keyboard is similar to, but not exactly like a typewriter. If you know how to type, you are halfway there. However, there are a number of keys on the computer keyboard which are new to you. You can start with the tutorial offered through Central Kansas Library System (who have developed lots of different computer training tutorials for the absolute beginner). They keyboard tutorial can be found at:
File management can be a little more confusing. You should begin with a pictorial tutorial to help you put it in perspective. You can find an excellent one offered through the Central Illinois University site: For specific instructions on file management tasks (such as saving files, naming files, copying and moving, backing up, etc), you can visit the Alverno College site where they have a simple file management tutorial:
Learning Microsoft Office may be difficult. However, there are many tutorials that can lead you through the process, most of them free. You can start with the source, Microsoft Office Online, where you can develop training on specific things using specific programs of Office.
The Internet may seem confusing, but you should look at training one step at a time. The ESL Networld site offers an online course in learning ESL using the internet. This is a good basic tutorial, and gives enough information to help you feel more confident on the internet. http://www.eslnetworld.com/main.html . The best way to learn the internet, though, is to use it. Once you understand the basics (search engines, evaluating web sites, e mail, using online collaboration) then you are free to practice.
Find live classes: You may decide that you need a live class in order to begin to feel confident. Fortunately, you can find live classes within the county, many of them low to no cost. Here is a beginning list, although there are certainly lots of options out there. San Diego Community College: Within the SDCCD, you have the option for credit or non credit. There is a charge of $26 a credit if you choose to go the credit route. The non credit classes are no fee as well. You can consult the credit schedule: http://schedule.sdccd.edu/ or the noncredit schedule http://sdce.edu/classes/computer-classes/ to view available classes. Older Adult classes at other locations in San Diego County: SDCCD is not the only provider of computer classes for mature learners. Most of the local adult schools offer free or low cost, including Grossmont, Coronado, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, Ramona and more. Check your local directory for choices and times. Libraries: Many of the local libraries offer free computer classes for adults and seniors. Registration is NOT required. Classes are one hour long, and designed for one session. For more information, call the local public library for information. If you are willing to pay, you can find a number of computer classes in the San Diego area. Many times, a beginning user might benefit from a class such as this. It would be more possible to direct your learning towards your individual needs and not the curriculum of the class. Some possible choices may include Computer Wiz.com ( http://www.sandiegocomputerwiz.com/index.html ), Computers Etc. Software Training ( http://computersetcsoftwaretrainingcenter.com/ ), New Horizons ( http://www.newhorizons.com/content/index.aspx ), and My Personal Computer Trainer ( http://mypctrainer.com/ ) are some examples in the area.
The computer does not have to be a scary and unforgiving obstacle. Make it your friend and you will reap the rewards.
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