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Friday, 26 January 2018

Renewing skills: how a little re-skilling can go a long way.

Renewing skills

Apps whether on smartphones, tablet or computers have become an inseparable part of our lives. Most of us use messaging and social apps. And using them has become second nature for many of us. Interestingly most people are able to learn the use of such apps intuitively, without any need for formal training.

Email and messaging apps make it easy for us to share picture and documents.

To make the best use of the email app we need to know how to type.

Knowing how to type is a useful skill. Specially if you would like to write a blog or to type out your own documents. Luckily typing tutors are available on the internet. One can self learn to type using one of these (see my blog post 'A way to learn').

If you want to publish your own blog, then again there are a variety of software available. For example, I am using the app and it is quite easy to use.

For using this blogging app you do not have to know any coding or programming.

This was not the case in the past.

Just 20 years back, to be able to make a blog, you had to know some amount of coding . Or know how to upload material  onto a website. You had to get a blogging website made or make it yourself.

Today you simply sign up onto a blogging platform and you are on your way. Being able to do this on your own is much easier now.

Likewise, if instead of a blog you want to type out some documents, software for this is also now easily available online. You can create your documents online and also save them online.  One advantage of putting your documents on the internet is that you can access them wherever you are.

Another very useful software available is for creating spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets are a powerful tool, especially where calculations are needed. The knowledge of using spreadsheets, therefore, comes in very handy. A spreadsheet once set up with all the calculations will replicate them accurately. I use Google Drive for making online documents and spreadsheets.

For example a simple task like marking and totaling the attendance of students in a class. Once the formulas for totaling are set up, all you need is to enter the attendance and the spreadsheet will compile the figures automatically.

Or say if you are investing and you want to tabulate your data for investing (See my blog post 'From paper to pixels'). A spreadsheet makes such tabulation easy. It allows you to copy and paste data available on the net, it allows you to  make automatic calculations using this data and draw your own conclusions.

Learning how to use a spreadsheet also allows you to do much more in the same time. Imagine having to do calculations over and over again. A tiring task.

Saving documents is another task we do quite often. Earlier, before the advent of the latest apps which are now available to us, the only way to save a copy of a document used to be to make a photocopy and then to file it. This meant that there had to be a proper filing system, with an index, which allowed you to access the document when you needed it. At times, we had to carry the file of the photocopied documents with us to other places. We would also send photocopied documents by post when they were needed elsewhere.

Sharing was a manual process. Subsequently, with the scanners coming in we could just scan the documents and send them as an attachment to an email. Sharing of documents moved from manual to digital. The scanned copy could be stored in your laptop or on a CD.

Documents stored in this manner became easily searchable and accessible.

Now we have storage of documents available on the internet. There are various storage options available which allow you to upload your documents. One such storage option is Google Drive. These documents once uploaded are always available to you as long as you are connected to the internet. They are easy to find and share.

Scanning apps, which are free and scan documents using the smartphone camera, have further eased the scanning and sharing of documents. Messaging apps now allow you to send documents, so we needn't even email them anymore. Scanning, storing and sharing is all possible through your smartphone. 

Most organizations have shifted to digital means for their internal functioning. Office work is done through some type of office automation packages running on networks.

The ability to be able to type is central to the use of such automation packages. Even though there are now software available which convert your speech to type written matter, still being able to type yourself remains a crucial skill.

Younger people who have grown up with the new technology around them have adapted to it and are able to benefit. The older generations, however, need to renew their skills to make the most of the new technology (see my blog post 'The beginning of a lifelong friendship with my computer'). Such re-skilling will lead to empowering oneself. Will lead to being able to use technology to ease-out life’s routine and repetitive tasks.

A few skills, if learnt, make it easy for you to use technology.

The best part of trying to re-skill is that one can learn through the internet. So there is no need to join a formal course. Though formal training is always an option.

So if you are interested in re-skilling yourself I would recommend that you learn how to touch type, learn how to use a spreadsheet, learn how to scan documents and store them in a cloud storage, learn how to use software which allows you to upload and download documents, if you want to write a blog like this one you would have to learn how to use a blogging software.

Going a step further you could buy a domain name of your choice and link it to your blogging software. I have done that and my blog is connected to my domain

A little renewing of skills may enrich your life and make many of your tasks easier and enjoyable.

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