Are You Computer Literate?

A college professor recently remarked that his students, juniors and seniors at a highly competitive university, knew little about computers and did not know how to retrieve an emailed file and operate a simple Windows based program. “How is that possible” asked the professor—”hadn’t these students learned reading, writing, and computing in their elementary and secondary curriculum?”  Unfortunately, the answer is no.

School districts across the US have decided that students do not need computer education because they have already learned to use a computer (games, Facebook postings, Web surfing, etc.)  However, these skills do not transfer into job specific computer literacy.

If you are looking for a new job, you have probably noticed that computer literacy has become a job requirement.  There are many definitions of computer literacy.  What do you need to know to be considered computer literate in today’s job market? Here are some things you should consider:

  • Can you type at least 40 words a minute using the touch method (no peaking at the keyboard)?
  • Do you know how to store files on your computer (or on a removable drive) using folders to organize your data into categories?
  • Are you able to quickly locate and open a file that you need to use?
  • Can you use a word processing program (Microsoft Word) to create and edit a text document?  Can you change the margins and the page orientation in your document?  Are you familiar with common formatting such as font, font size, font style (bold, italics and underlining), line spacing, and indenting?
  • If you were asked to create a formula in a spreadsheet program (Microsoft Excel), would you be able to quickly find the total or average of a specified block of numbers?  Could you create a column or pie chart based on the numbers on your worksheet?
  • Do you know how to set up a slide show (Microsoft PowerPoint) with transitions (how the slide appears on the screen) and animations (when and how the information on each slide appears)?
  • Besides sending and receiving email, do you know how to attach a file to an email or open an attached file that you receive?
  • Are you able to find relevant information online; do you know how to determine if the information you find is trustworthy?

Answering NO to any of these questions will place you at a disadvantage in the highly competitive job marketplace.  Most companies now post job openings online; these companies reason that if the job candidate can’t navigate the Internet to find a job, they aren’t technically advanced enough to be a viable candidate.

Irrespective of the position for which you wish to apply, computer know-how is a key factor in your ability to succeed in finding and in keeping a job!

Questions about the Business Office Systems and Support course schedule? Contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, at or 972-238-6215.