Our guide to computers
Kristina K

Our guide to computers

First published date August 23 2013 Amended date November 08 2013

Computing and computer technology are so embedded in our everyday lives; from using them daily at work, to getting on the laptop at home and even logging onto computer systems to run businesses and paying bills. Computing skills are essential for everyone, and like it or not, computer technology is here to stay.

If you think you’re safely wrapped up in your little cocoon and will never need to use a computer (did we hear you say you could ask your children or great-grandchildren?), you’re in for a shock. Everything is becoming computerised these days and there’s no running away. Plus, for anyone already adept at computing, there are lucrative computing jobs available in this ever expanding market. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, we have loads of computer courses suitable for all your needs.


What kind of computer person are you?

Do you shy away from computers? Or do you already have some computing skills and are looking to learn new computer programmes? Does spending all day coding, designing and programming in front of the computer sound like your dream job? Decide which one of the below categories you fall into and find out more about courses that are suited to your level and experience.

Computer dinosaurs

Admit it – you’ve probably never entertained the idea of using a computer. ‘What’s the point? You don’t read news online, there’s the TV.’ ‘Online shopping? Where’s the fun of trying things on?’ Or maybe you clam up when you accidentally delete a paragraph on Microsoft Word? Why not get on some basic computing classes. Whether you’re totally clueless and just want a taster or you’d like to learn to use your computer to its potential and understand terminologies, these classes which run from a day to a year are great for you to learn about the internet, use email and launch simple Microsoft applications.

Learners & Improvers

For those of you who already have some basic computing knowledge and wish to explore other skills, you’ll find loads of different courses to suit your interests and needs. For the creative heads, you can get on the Adobe Creative Cloud courses and learn about 2D applications and go wild with graphics. Even if you’re looking to improve your grades, there are computing GCSEs and other fun computer courses.

Computer geeks

There are many vocational computing courses that have a strong practical emphasis where you’ll learn the fundamental principles and theory of computing, on top of developing research skills, web designing, analysing and presenting ideas. Projects undertaken are designed to meet university standards so that you’re well-prepared to embark on a computing degree and, in some cases, good enough for employment standards. Choose from A Levels, BTECs, diplomas and foundation courses.

Computer wizards

If you’re a computer whizz kid and thrive on multimedia software, codes, applications, Java programming and data modelling, then doing an undergraduate or postgraduate computing qualification will give you a more in-depth understanding of new technologies. These courses prepare you for high-level careers to be web professionals, network engineers or even IT programmers.

You can choose to specialise in a particular subject or combine two subjects such as computing with business, mathematics, IT, multimedia, application development, mobile and embedded systems, biology, law, networking and security or forensics.


What will you learn?

On most computing courses, beginners and non-computer-savvy users will learn essential skills such as the basic features of Windows. This progresses to more advanced and creative computing skills, either to feed your interests in graphics or to gain university entry. On a higher level, computing qualifications such as a degree or a Masters in computer animation, computer science, computer games design or computer maintenance will open up job opportunities with better pay. You’ll also be required to do placements on some of these courses.


A computer success story

It’s no surprise that our top computer geek is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg was a computer prodigy at a very early age, creating a messaging program called ‘Zucknet’, which his father used in his dental office so that the receptionist could inform him of a new patient without yelling across the room. Zuckerberg also created computer games with friends, which led to his parents hiring a private computer tutor to come to the house to work with him.

His fascination with computers developed even further in high school and he created an early version of the music software Pandora, which he called Synapse. Although several companies like AOL and Microsoft expressed an interest in buying the software and hiring Zuckenberg before his graduation, all offers were declined.

On one occasion when he had to memorise about 200 pieces of classical art and their historical significance, he built a simple site that selected one of the 200 images with space for students to write the historical significance. He emailed it to the class list to inform students of this study tool and grades in the class skyrocketed.  

From then on, the rest is history, Zuckenberg created The Facebook, a site that allowed users to create their own profiles and upload photos, out of a dorm room whilst studying at Harvard University. Facebook today is one of the most widely-used social networking services and boasts some interesting features. It is also on the Fortune 500 list.


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