- use of standard office software - word processing, spreadsheets, file management, internet search engines
- ability to present and format information in appropriate ways
- adapting IT to solve practical problems
- using the internet for research purposes
Perhaps a bit self-explanatory but IT skills are very much in demand by employers. Most students will have a good grasp on basic IT applications but often won't market it effectively to employers.
The computer applications required by employers will vary. Many employers will use bespoke (i.e. designed specifically for them or a task) software and would expect you to be able to grasp it relatively easily. In most cases the bespoke software will be based on some form of database. These are used in everything from hospitals to investment banks - and even the Careers & Employability Service,
The "Introduction to MS Access" video is just one of many to be found on youtube. MS Access is similar to MS Excel but more powerful. It is worth spending time exploring these. Employers are impressed with any staff member willing to embrace a database!
Typically you would be expected to be a competent user of
- MS Word
- MS Outlook (be aware of the tasks, calendar and notes functions too)
- MS Excel (and at least some understanding of formulas)
- MS Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox etc
- MS Publisher- not essential but useful.
- MS Photoshop - likewise useful but not essential
The Microsoft Office suite is often standard but there is increasing use of open-source
software (e.g. Open Office
) and a move, particularly in the civil service, towards cloud computing
. It is good to be aware of the Mac equivalents
too. Other applications such as Movie-maker can be useful depending on the role. The Computer Centre often sells software at reduced rates to students.
Improving your IT skills
- Acquire ECDL qualifications through the computer centre
- Experiment with different software on the campus network. Competent use of Microsoft Access, for example, could set you above other candidates.
- Do an IT course at Strodes or other colleges.