Thanks to computer training, gone are the days where installing a programme, editing a photo, or fixing IT problems can take hours.
Learning to programme or how to create a web site has never been so easy thanks to the C, Visual Basic,, Java or MySQL database, HTML, CSS, or Python programming experts on Superprof's computer tutorials.
Whether you’re new to computers and looking to just learn the basics like how to use Microsoft Excel to make a spreadsheet or how to create a presentation in Microsoft Powerpoint, or something more complicated like programming languages, there are plenty of skilled tutors on Superprof offering computer courses and online computer science classes to all levels from beginners to experts.
Essential Equipment for Taking an IT Course
When it comes to choosing the right gear (computer hardware), you need to take your time when choosing your computer. You won't learn how to use your computer if it constantly crashes! Here are the Top 5 things to get before your first private computer class.
1. A computer, of course!
When it comes to IT, the computer is fundamental. Whether you choose a desktop personal computer or a laptop, Windows or Apple, there are thousands of different computers you can get in stores and on the web.
If you’re going to use your equipment to edit videos or photos, watch films, or do graphic design, you should make sure that your computer has a fast central processing unit (CPU) and enough RAM to handle it. The last thing you want is for your computer to take 30 minutes to run some code you’ve written or render a movie you’ve made as these sorts of tasks can be resource intensive.
Why not get in touch with a potential tutor for more information on which kind of equipment you’ll need for their tutorials? If you're going to learn basic computer skills, you won't need the latest computer technology.
2. The mouse and keyboard
If you’re getting a desktop, doing an introduction to programming, or need to type text and lines of code, the keyboard is going to be more than essential (most computers will come with one). However, there are both wired and wireless keyboards available that use batteries that need to be replaced. To be fair, even if you're new to computer classes and learning a few computer basics like how to use Microsoft Word, you're still going to have to get a keyboard.
The wireless versions have an advantage in that you can move them without having to worry about the wire getting in the way. However, you can expect to pay a bit more for them.
You should invest in a mouse with a scroll wheel and a mousepad with a gel wrist rest since you may end up spending several hours using your computer typing up lines of code or editing videos.
Learn coding by taking our programming courses online.
3. A quality webcam
If you’re getting online tutorials, then you’re going to need a webcam so your tutor can see you.
Choose a webcam made by a known brand and recommend by a reputable site. While this may seem like an expense, you should see it as an investment that you’ll get to use for every tutorial you have. Even if you have the best tutor in the world, it’ll all be pointless if you can’t be heard or seen well.
4. Operating Systems: Mac or Windows?
This is a never-ending argument on IT forums. While both platforms are popular, Windows is often portrayed as the operating system for professionals while Mac is thought of as the choice for those editing images and video. If you know nothing about computers, it's probably wiser to opt for Windows as it's far more common than Mac. (Intermediate or advanced users may even opt for Linux or Unix.)
5. Invest in an Office Suite.
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are some of the most common programmes used for word processing, making spreadsheets, or giving presentations.
While you can get an annual licence for Microsoft Office (there’s often a discount for students), there are also free versions of office suites such as Apache’s OpenOffice. If you're doing an introduction to computers, using an office suite and learning about the parts of a computer are integral to gaining computer literacy.
Another thing you should get is a printer! Even if this isn’t the “greenest” peripheral, you sometimes need a hard copy of something. Whether you want to print out some of the resources used in your tutorials like corrected exercises or just use hard copies for revising in bed, you’ll need a printer.
What’s a graphics tablet for?
If you’re doing digital design or working in a field where design is done digitally like being an architect or engineer, then a graphics tablet might be a worthwhile purchase. Of course, you should be careful when choosing as they can vary in price from around £100 to thousands of pounds.
While it goes without saying, you can always use the internet or ask your tutor for more information about what kind of graphics tablet you’ll need for your classes.
How Much Do PC Classes Cost?
If you’re a tech-savvy student, there’s nothing stopping you from offering IT courses to those with less experience than yourself. You could offer digital literacy classes to senior citizens, for example, and teach them basic skills like how to save a file, clean up files and use antivirus software, or even protect themselves when browsing online.
If you’re studying a master’s degree, are an IT technician, or an experienced IT teacher, there’s nothing stopping you from providing IT tutorials, either. Additionally, you can demand a higher rate per hour than an undergraduate probably could.
The cost of IT courses can vary wildly depending on the speciality being taught: office skills, programming in Java, IT networks, cryptography, etc. It also depends on your tutor’s academic experience: are they an undergrad, master’s student, or an experienced university tutor?
Where Can You Find an IT Tutor?
Have you asked all of your friends and everyone in your family? Are you sure really nobody with any IT skills in your network?
Why not ask them to ask around? Surely there’s a friend of a friend who’s offering classes in IT. In situations like this, networking can be really useful.
If you prefer teaching yourself and doing research, then you can learn some really important skills by heading over to YouTube and looking for free computer video tutorials. There are so many video computer classes on on using computers and how to create a web site, not to mention tutorials on programming, too.
A quick search for “computer science” or “programming” in YouTube’s search function will even bring you videos put together by Ivy League universities in America: MIT in Boston, Harvard, etc.
In the age of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), there are plenty of digital resources for those who want to completely teach themselves a skill. Make sure that when embarking on a MOOC, you’re available when the course takes place. This is a good way to get another plus on your CV.
If you have any doubts, why not get in touch with the course professors?
How Can You Progress Between Your Computer Lessons?
If you want to become a genius of coding, you’re going to have to get a move on and improve your computing skills! You’ll have to start with beginners’ courses before moving onto more complicated things like studying networks, etc.
If you’re a beginner, you should practice computing between classes and study until everything becomes second nature to you including using office programmes, accessing your emails, and internet basics like searching and opening and closing tabs. You should ask your tutor for a handout summarising each lesson, too.
An advanced user will have to do the same with a new programming language like Java, Visual Basic, or with HTML or CSS if you’re planning on designing websites. Of course, this can take a lot of time, especially for those trying to learn coding.
Another interesting option for those waiting for their next class, read books! There are several high-quality books on IT and web development.
Why not pick up a copy and study certain concepts between your tutorials?
You don't need to spend a fortune, either. A lot of people forget that libraries still exist and you can get books for free.
If you want to learn to code, you can also use videos tutorials to help you learn. While these videos and blogs are usually aimed at IT professionals, there’s nothing to stop you having a look at them if they’re covering something you’re studying with your private tutor, and help you advance with your programming courses.