9 Skills to Make You More Tech Savvy
Technology| By Bridget de Maine | October 9, 2020
Whether you’re looking to improve your remote work situation or just become more tech savvy, here are some essential tech skills to learn.
It can be hard to keep up with technology: after all, there seems to be a new groundbreaking gadget created every day, forever keeping you on your toes. Familiarising yourself with new technology and staying tech savvy can be challenging but incredibly rewarding, opening up a new world of learning, convenience and connection with family and friends. Now more than ever, with an increase in working from home, there’s a widespread interest in picking up the most relevant and best tech skills for remote work. There’s no better time than the present to start.
In some ways, it can be helpful to think about being tech savvy as less of a skill and more of a mindset, relying on your curiosity and willingness to try new things. With that in mind, here are nine ways you can become better friends with the gadgets in your life.
Set Clear Goals
A great way to start your journey to becoming tech savvy is to decide on the skills you’d like to master. Carefully considering and working towards a goal can be a motivating way to begin learning and connecting, so ask yourself: what do I want to be able to achieve with my smartphone, tablet or headphones? For example, do I want to be able to easily share photos with my family or do I want to quickly find the best movies to stream on a Sunday afternoon? Be clear on your goals then start planning on how to achieve them.
Find a Tech Partner
A good way of keeping yourself on track with your tech skill goals is to partner with someone who has the time to take you through anything you don’t understand; a tech buddy, of sorts. They’ll be the person you ask when troubleshooting, your go-to when the screen is black and you’re not sure what to do. For bonus points, find a way to connect with them that involves a new piece of tech or software that you have to master in order to reach them, such as a thread on Slack or a group in Whatsapp.
Join a Tech Community
Studies show that people trying to learn a language are more successful when they join a conversation group. Similarly, full immersion in the subject that you’re keen to better understand will come easier when you’re practicing often with those who are doing the same. Have a look in your local area for groups of others who are learning new tech savvy skills: New South Wales offers free or low-cost training and resources through a Tech Savvy Seniors course, as does Victoria, Western Australia and other Australian states and territories.
Seek Advice for Choosing the Right Device
Start by getting to know the options in order to find your best buy. Maybe you like the portability of a smartphone or perhaps a tablet is easier for you to navigate. Keep in mind that some devices require a few more elements in order for them to function: a desktop requires a mouse and keyboard, for example, whereas these controls are built into a laptop. In smartphones and tablets, keyboards are also part of the operating system, as opposed to separate elements of physical hardware.
There’s no right or wrong with what you choose – it’s really a matter of what you prefer or find easiest to navigate – so play around with your options before you dive in. Read these helpful buying guides to laptops, smartphones and tablets to get a good idea of what is best for your needs.
Learn to Adjust Your Settings
Just like when you adjust the position of the driver’s seat of someone else’s car, you can adjust the settings of your smartphone, tablet or laptop to suit your needs. Many important aspects related to user experience can be easily customised, such as text size, screen brightness and volume controls. These can generally be found in the “Settings” section of your device and can be changed at any time. If you’re not sure where to start (especially when your smartphone might not come with instructions), the ever-dependable Dummies series has a section dedicated to taking you through consumer electronics, including extensive instruction on how to change the settings on a range of devices, from headphones to smartphones.
Immerse Yourself in Online Learning
Even those who are considered tech savvy don’t have all the answers. For those unanswered questions, there’s always YouTube. Simply typing a how-to query into the search bar at the top of the video-sharing site can provide a wealth of answers to even the most obscure questions, with videos offering the extra layer of detail in visual prompts that can really help you when you’re stuck.
Understand Social Media
There’s a social media platform for (almost) everyone these days. Project planners love Pinterest, professionals gravitate towards LinkedIn and social butterflies connect on Facebook. Finding a social network connected to your passion is a surefire way to increase your familiarity with the application. After signing up (which generally requires entering your email, password and a few other personal details), most platforms operate with a homepage that resembles a “feed”, where the content is aggregated.
Keep Yourself Safe
From shopping to paying bills, technology can be a lifesaver. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely free from complications, especially when sensitive information such as credit card details are being shared. Read carefully and widely on the subject of online safety, in particular, to ensure that you’re applying best practices when navigating websites. Also consider installing anti-virus software on desktops and laptops – inform yourself about which product is best for you.
Find What You Enjoy
As you spend more time with your devices, you’ll discover uses that naturally encourage you to spend even more time engaging with them. Perhaps you’re loving finding long-buried songs on Spotify or maybe flipping between classics on Apple Books is far more convenient for you than trundling multiple physical titles back and forth from the library. Whatever the activity, try to find fun ways to interact with your tech to boost your confidence. There’s an app for almost everything these days – whether it’s chatting face-to-face with family members on FaceTime, doing solo or group puzzles, ordering your groceries online or tracking your health; it’s simply a matter of finding what’s interesting or useful to you to help unlock your expertise.
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