Dont Be Left Behind The Right Computer Skills Can Make All The Difference

Don't Be Left Behind: the​ Right Computer Skills Can Make All the​ Difference
Kelly Dodson knows firsthand why companies value the​ ability to​ use computers and software .​
An administrative assistant in​ Kansas,​ Dodson used to​ keep her CEO's calendar by hand,​ until one day an​ important meeting slipped through the​ cracks .​
That painful experience compelled her to​ seek training in​ the​ effective use of​ the​ company's scheduling software .​
And today she feels she couldn't do her job as​ well without it .​
As early as​ 1999,​ the​ Progressive Policy Institute estimated that 75 percent of​ employees use computers in​ their work,​ and that figure continues to​ increase as​ computers make their way into more and more aspects of​ individuals' lives .​
Since just about every job today is​ connected to​ computers and software in​ some way,​ employees who lack the​ ability to​ use that information successfully are finding themselves increasingly marginalized .​
The effects of​ this evolution for individual workers are real,​ and they show up most vividly when it​ comes to​ the​ bottom line .​
Research has shown that workers with the​ right computer skills can earn 17 percent to​ 40 percent higher wages than those without,​ according to​ the​ U.S .​
Bureau of​ Labor Statistics and California Journal .​
The U.S .​
Bureau of​ Labor Statistics' Office of​ Productivity and Technology agrees,​ emphasizing,​ It is​ not merely the​ employee having a​ computer on​ his desk-but rather having complementary computer skills-that causes wages to​ increase.
Commenting on​ information workers' adoption of​ technology,​ Laura Stack,​ productivity expert and author of​ Leave the​ Office Earlier,​ said,​ the​ people who succeed are those who take the​ time to​ figure it​ out rather than struggling each time,​ doing it​ the​ hard way,​ or​ taking too much time .​
Employees who self-educate themselves will experience a​ performance boost from using the​ full range of​ available functions.
That is​ to​ say,​ whether you're an​ administrative assistant,​ auditor or​ staff attorney,​ having the​ right computer skills can make a​ difference in​ your career and your paycheck .​
So what can you do to​ get those skills? Dodson was lucky enough to​ develop them on​ the​ job,​ with support from an​ understanding employer .​
But without basic computer literacy,​ it​ can be tough nowadays to​ get a​ job in​ the​ first place .​
The Web offers a​ myriad of​ courses and programs on​ a​ range of​ technical skills,​ from basic computer literacy to​ complex programming and IT training .​
Software training is​ evolving into a​ just-in-time approach,​ Stack said .​
Many workers complain about the​ slow response from the​ company help desk or​ lack of​ available training .​
It's more efficient for workers to​ access self-help online resources,​ such as​ Microsoft Office Work Essentials,​ to​ allow them to​ find answers to​ problems they are experiencing in​ real time.
Microsoft Office Work Essentials is​ a​ comprehensive resource with occupation-specific tools in​ programs such as​ Microsoft Office Excel,​ Word and PowerPoint .​
The site has hundreds of​ free templates,​ how-to articles,​ product demonstrations,​ tip sheets and other resources .​
Available 24/7 at​,​ it​ helps professionals in​ more than 30 occupations-including auditors,​ project managers,​ sales managers and human resource professionals-find tools to​ help them improve their skills.
Local computer superstores and community colleges also offer inexpensive courses on​ many common software packages,​ Stack said .​
The day I​ spent at​ Comp USA learning PowerPoint saved me much time and frustration of​ trying to​ figure it​ out myself.

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