Computer Technology Skills

What skills do students use in jobs and internships in computer technology fields? An analysis of Work-Based Learning Plans [read more] from across Massachusetts shows that interacting with other people, organizing information, writing, problem solving and critical thinking are vitally important, along with technical skills in the specific field, such as web design, programming, software installation, computer and AV equipment setup, and computer repair.

The analysis included Work-Based Learning Plans for about 60 students working in technology-related job and internship placements. These placements included:

  • Help Desk / Tech Support: Students providing customer support, computer repair, troubleshooting, software installations, inventory and cataloging, and other technical support.
  • Audio-Visual Support: Setting up audio-visual equipment, troubleshooting, repairing and supporting school or other organization staff in their media needs.
  • Web Design and Graphic Design: Students providing web design, web media (such as podcasts), website maintenance and graphic design work.
  • Database Management: Using databases to collect, organize and manage information.
  • Software Development Internships: Student interns working on a team with software developers on a software project.

The wide variety of skills included in the Work-Based Learning Plans for these positions are listed at the end of this post. These skills illustrate the interesting complexities of working in computer technology.   People who are “good with computers” actually have extremely varied skills, and not necessarily the same sets of skills.  One person may work in tech support and be skilled with setting up, repairing and maintaining computer workstations or other equipment.  Another person may work as a database programmer and be skilled with programming languages and with managing information, but know relatively little about setting up or repairing computer equipment.  Another person may work in graphic design and may be skilled in visually presenting and organizing information, but have little experience in the other areas.  In today’s technology-oriented workplace, it is important to learn to work comfortably and respectfully with people who have different skills, experience and learning styles.   [There will be a blog post coming soon about computer skills and generational differences and similarities… based on the thought that generational differences among technology users are not as great as popularly believed; but that people of all ages vary greatly in their approaches to technology.]

Computer Technology Skills can be defined as:

(A) the ability to learn, communicate effectively, collaborate, and problem solve about computer-technology-related tasks and projects; and

(B) the ability to use technology to support your work with people/things/data/information (such as using technology in an engineering lab, design studio or research program; using technology to develop print and online materials; using technology to organize and present information or to create and maintaining databases); and/or

(C) the ability to support others in the use of technology, such as setting up computer workstations or AV equipment for people, teaching computer skills, troubleshooting technology-related issues, and maintaining and repairing computers and related equipment.

For youth (or people from any age group) working in technology-oriented workplaces, here are some questions for evaluating computer technology skills:

  1. Can you describe two or more ways that you enjoy learning new computer-related skills (such as watching while another person demonstrates the skill, reading books, reading help screens, searching online forums, experimenting with software, or other methods)?
  2. Can you describe at least one situation in which you used logical thinking or problem solving skills to solve a computer technology challenge?
  3. When you demonstrate, teach or explain computer-related information to other people, do you feel that they are comfortable with your presentation?
  4. Are you comfortable working on computer-related tasks with people who have a variety of backgrounds, learning styles, teaching styles, and computer experience?
  5. Can you describe at least two things you have learned recently about how to use technology?
  6. (If applicable:) Can you describe at least one thing you have learned recently about using technology to organize and present information?

What Skills Were Listed in Work-Based Learning Plans for Computer Technology Placements?
[A Word Cloud]

Accuracy | Basic Accounting | Basic IT TermsCollecting and Organizing Information | Collecting Information | Computer Security | Computer Technology | Creativity | Critical Thinking | Data Analysis | Data Management | Editing | Equipment Operation | Graphic Design | Hardware Replacement | Identify Computer Parts | Identify Software | Identify Tools and Use of Tools | Interacting with Customers | Interacting with Customers or Clients | Interacting with Faculty, Staff and Students Marketing Skills | Mathematics and Numeric Analysis | Medical Procedures | Networking Basics Office Duties | Organization | Organizing Files | Organizing Information | OS Install | Policies and Procedures | Presentation Skills | Presenting Information | Problem Solving | Problem Solving and Critical Thinking | Product Inventory and Supplies | Professionalism | Project Management | Reading | Research and Analysis | Resources | Safety | Scanning | Software Installations | Summarizing Information | Teaching and Instructing | Teamwork | Technician-Related Skills | Time Management | Troubleshooting and Problem Solving | Understanding All Aspects of the Industry | Using Spreadsheets | Vendor and Customer Interface | Video Editing | Web Design | Writing
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