Unless you’re in the field, technology can be overwhelming. Rapid-fire development of new products and emerging systems make it tough for the average person to keep pace. Still, if you’re in the job market, currently employed, or own a business of your own, tech is something you’ll need to master.
The good news is that a lot of tech has been dumbed down for the common user. That makes it easier for most of us to learn how to use various technologies. But we still need to invest some time and energy into learning something about them.
Exploring one tech area at a time is a great place to start. Here are five ways to educate yourself.
- Get Interview Ready
The Covid-19 pandemic has made some platforms household names: think Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting. Another outgrowth of the pandemic — the rise in remote-only jobs — has made them indispensable in the recruitment and hiring process.
These video conferencing platforms allow interview participants to see and hear one another over the miles. They also offer a screen-sharing feature that comes in handy for both interviewer and interviewee. But for some industries, sharing work done in real time is even better.
For engineering candidates and interviewers, online code interviews are critical when they can no longer sit down in the same room. A platform like Coderbyte allows real-time sharing for seamless collaboration during the process. It’s just like you’re in the same room, even if you’re half a world apart.
Whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, you should familiarize yourself with these platforms. You don’t want potential technological issues to keep you from either getting that dream job or hiring that standout candidate.
- Conquer Social Media
If you’re a small business owner, posting brand content on one social media platform, like Facebook, is easy. But if you find yourself tweeting, linking, Instagraming and TikToking as well, you will soon have a management problem.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of social media management tools on the market. Tools like Hootsuite, Later, and Loomly can help you plan, create, and schedule your social media presence in one fell swoop. But that’s just the first step. These tools feature analytics capabilities that will help you devise campaigns that garner real ROI on your social media investment.
In a world where people want to get their information in seconds, social media is king. Learning how management tools can make your social media posting easier and more effective will pay off in spades.
- Manage Content
Once you get your social media handled, you’ll need to figure out how to manage your web content. That content includes blogs, web pages, videos, e-commerce pages, and more.
CMS platforms range from the occasionally intimidating WordPress to the extremely user-friendly Wix, with dozens in between. Drag-and-drop capabilities make it easy to create a website that not only looks great, but functions well.
A good place to start is to pick one CMS and learn how it works, maybe beginning with Wix or Weebly. If onsite tutorials aren’t enough to get you up and running, courses on platforms like Udemy and Coursera can fill in the gaps. Once you grasp the basics of your chosen CMS, you can apply that knowledge to more sophisticated projects or platforms.
- Master Your Gadgets
Nowhere has there been a bigger tech explosion than in electronic devices. Where once we had iPods and USB sticks, now gadgets can be classified into about 14 different categories.
Gadgets make homes safer and help them function more efficiently. Think about streaming webcams, keyless entry systems, and smart appliances. And don’t forget that robotic vacuum that cleans your house like clockwork.
Gadgets also make playtime more fun. Consider gaming systems, VR glasses and helmets, hoverboards, and electric scooters and bikes. Combining education with fun are STEM robots and 3D printers for kids.
While all this tech can make your life safer, easier, or more fun, you should educate yourself before investing in it. Tech, business, and consumer publications do annual reviews of the latest tech devices. Reading these roundups will help you identify gadgets with the features you want and not spend more on those you’ll never use. They’ll also help you put your new devices to the best use.
- Handle Your Health
One field that technology has revolutionized is healthcare. Health and wellness tech abound, involving gadgets, devices, apps, and software. Although that may sound complicated, developers have made using this tech easy.
Smartphones, fitness trackers, and monitors gather tons of personal health data. Apps and software then translate that data into layperson’s terms, allowing you to take steps to boost your fitness or treat existing conditions. Alternatively, they can feed that data directly to healthcare providers for medical diagnosis or treatment recommendations.
Your healthcare provider may recommend certain home health-monitoring devices. But often, they can’t keep up with developing technologies. It’s up to you to educate yourself, compare options, and invest in what’s best for you.
In the emerging home health monitoring market, academic journals and institutions have stepped up to provide the needed info. That’s not to say that Consumer Reports won’t have useful information on blood pressure monitors. However, studies and ratings from the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Medical School, and Mayo Clinic may prove more authoritative.
Tech Education Isn’t What It Used to Be (Thank Goodness)
Back when computer processors were the size of a walk-in refrigeration unit, tech was only for techies. That was OK because, thankfully, few people actually needed to know Fortran or COBOL.
Today, though, it’s important to learn what tech products are available and what they do to make our businesses and personal lives better. For that, we need only put the internet to work. From how-to guides to product comparisons to consumer reviews, there is little we can’t learn about tech products from the web.
We consumers are able to use tech without needing to know how the sausage is made. Fortunately for us, the technical folk have been forced to translate those products to our level. All we need to do is be able to read.