One great way to learn IT skills is to take advantage of Anki. It is the ultimate tool to remember anything. It is practical and will save you time learning all this new material.
I recommend you use Ank to learn the following:
- Programming languages
- Microsoft Office and Windows features you have difficulty remembering.
- Essential knowledge for passing any computer certification exams
- Marketing principles
- Websites you want to recommend to clients
- Accounting jargon
- IT and business buzzwords that make you sound professional, educated and informed.
This has been one of my favorite software packages. However, it only works if you follow it with discipline. You need to consistently review the material it calculates is due for review on the day it recommends. If you don’t, it carries forward to the next day. I currently spend 5 minutes per day for 500 items and this is reducing as the memorized items get transferred to my long-term memory.
Don’t make life difficult for yourself. Use Anki.
Who doesn’t find watching video a great way to learn? Nothing beats watching what someone does to understand the concept. However, you must not sit passively else you will not learn. I recommend a dual monitor setup and copying the process that is shown on the other monitor. If you don’t have a dual monitor setup, then you will have to pause the video, flick to the relevant application and try it from memory. Then return to the video and carry on.
If you want to learn someone, just type the specific topic followed by “tutorial” or “lesson”.
The best place to get your written learning material
For books, I recommend www.amazon.com. They offer big discounts when compared to your local bookstore and you can read reviews of what other purchaser’s think of each book.
I go to my local bookstore, check out the book to see if it covered what I wanted. If I liked it, I would then place an order with amazon.com. I’ve saved myself a fortune this way, even after taking delivery charges into consideration.
Also, the internet is full of excellent learning material. Just go to Google and type in the product name, the part of the software you wish to learn and the word tutorial e.g. “Microsoft Word Styles Tutorial”. You can then examine the plethora of free tutorials.
I never used to be a big fan of using online sites for learning software because:
- I find it more difficult to read information on a monitor
- When reading the tutorial on screen, I cannot see my program at the same time!
I would have to switch back and forth using Alt+Tab but this is still less than satisfactory. (For those who don’t know, pressing Alt+Tab at the same time will cycle through all open windows.)
However, I have revised my opinion since having a dual monitor setup. This allows you to see your application and your training material at the same time. When I first saw this in action I was amazed at how efficient it all looked. Nowadays, I feel stifled when using a computer with just the one monitor. There is not enough space to see everything!
How to learn IT skills and get paid for it!
Some of my greatest learning came when solving client problems. Sometimes I would be stuck there for hours, scratching my head over what to do. The difference between using a computer as a hobby and using it as a pro is that you discover endless nuances within the software applications. You pick up a little bit of knowledge here, a little bit there and day by day you grow more proficient.
If you are faced with a new situation at a clients premises and you are clearly having major difficulties, you can always cut a deal with a client.
You can say “Look, I haven’t come across this situation before and it is taking me much longer than anticipated. I don’t feel its fair charging you at my full rate so I’ll cut it to one third my normal rate for this part of the work, OK?”
This will satisfy your client and take some of the pressure off you for not solving the problem fast enough. And you still get paid something. Not only that, the client is likely to view you in a favourable light because you have come across as ethical and fair.