“Being involved, learning firsthand and observing the craft and absorbing all you can makes it easier to define what you want.” – Giada De Laurentiis
Think about how you learned to ride a bike, swim front crawl at the pool, or play hoops in your backyard.
You learned it though immersion.
This applies to nearly everything we want to learn, from cooking to starting a business, and especially learning a new language!
The fundamental concept of immersion is quite obvious as it’s something we naturally act on without much thought. Most of us learned how to speak our native language because we grew up around people (family, friends, etc.) speaking it around us. In other words, we didn’t consciously decide that we were going to immerse ourselves in a language in order to learn it, it just happened.
Immersion > Classroom setting
A study was done by researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center, where subjects were divided into two groups, and were observed using a technique called electroencephalography (or EEG), which measures brain processing.
The two groups were both asked to study an artificial language, where one group studied the language in a formal classroom setting, while the other was trained through immersion.
After five months, the results clearly showed that the immersed group displayed the full brain patterns of a native speaker. This is mind-boggling, since 90% of committed language learners are still learning a language using the traditional classroom setting (and paying a premium price for it).
The researchers also concluded that for foreign language learners to become a native speaker, they simply must think like a native speaker, adding that adults who were immersed can just as easily become a native speaker as well.
However, the same fundamentals of immersion are not well set-up for us when we try to learn a new language. This is mostly because the location we live in prevents us from being immersed in the language, due to the limited number of people speaking it around us.
4 ways to immerse yourself
1. Want vs Need
There is a big difference between want and need. While “want” is a nice-to-have, a “need” is a must-have.
“Want” can often be confused for external needs, such as impressing those around you, versus a “need” that comes from within and serves as intrinsic motivation that is longer-lasting and sustainable.
Ask yourself: Why do you “need” to speak your target language?
Then come up with at least 3 powerful reasons. These should be powerful enough to make you want to take immediate action in learning the language.Advertising
Listening to the stories of language learners, here are some powerful stories:
-“Need to be able to communicate with my family members”
–“Need to speak Spanish to have a deeper connection with my spouse”
-“Need to teach my child so they can be grounded in their cultural roots, before they forget the language.”
–“Need to learn in order to communicate with my boyfriend/girlfriend’s family.”
–“Need to get around safely and avoid being taken advantage of as a foreigner while traveling”
–“Need to learn in order to have a deeper cultural experience, and make the most of my travel experience”
–“Need to learn so I can meet friends without worrying about being alone.”
–“Need to expand my knowledge because the world is becoming globalized, boosting international business opportunities”
–“Need to learn a second language to improve my resume for career advancement and additional opportunities”
–“Need to work with clients who speak the foreign language, or I’ll be out of a job.”Advertising
2. Absorb all information in your target language
Start by making a list of all the sources of information you draw from throughout the day, from the moment you wake up to hitting the sheets for bed time.
Some examples include:
-The newspaper (during breakfast or at work)
-Radio in the car
-Movies you watch (i.e. Netflix)
-Music you listen to
Now think of how you can change everything into the target language you want to learn.
-Change your smartphone language setting
-Watch movies on Netflix with foreign language audio and English subtitles
-Listen to podcasts in the foreign languageAdvertising
Some changes will be small at first, but these changes accumulate into providing an immersive experience for you as time passes.
The key to this strategy is not to go out of your way to immerse yourself in activities that you normally don’t do. Follow your daily routine to the minute, but just change the language.
This means that if you don’t like reading newspapers, don’t go out of your way to read them. If you enjoy watching movies, continue to watch the movies you enjoy (don’t even change the genre), and use tools like Netflix to listen in the foreign audio with subtitles.
Forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy is one of the fastest ways we’ll stop persisting in our learning journey, because our brain will associate the foreign language with negative associations, rather than positive ones.
Of course, if you’re just starting to learn, this may seem confusing for you at first. But as you accelerate your learning journey with a professional coach (or another method), you’ll start to make out a few words, then a few sentences, and before you know it, you’ll begin to understand a good portion of the foreign information you’re absorbing.
3. Keep a daily or weekly journal (or blog)
This may seem to be mainly beneficial for your writing skills, but improving your writing skills (in any language) will help you become a more effective communicator in written and oral forms.
If you already have a daily or weekly journal you write in, continue to write in the same frequency, but do it in your target foreign language.
If you don’t, then start writing on a weekly basis to start with, then you can gradually increase the frequency as you feel more comfortable with the process. You can write about anything from: how you feel, what you’re most excited about, what you plan to do today, and what you learned.
If you’d like more of a structure, you can borrow the five minute journal format:
When you wake up, take five minutes to answer:
- a. 3 things you’re most grateful for today
- b. What will make today great?
- c. I am… (happy, strong, fearless, intelligent, a supportive friend, a great boyfriend/girlfriend, an entrepreneur, etc.)
Then at night before you head to bed, answer:
- 3 amazing things that happened today (and why)
- How could I have made today even better?
*Feel free to adjust the questions as you wish. No length limit.Advertising
The best part about following the five-minute journal format is that you’ll not only improve your language skills, but you’ll feel happier, more grateful, and excited to explore your feelings.
4. Work with a professional (or accountability partner)
Language is learned with people, and used with people. This means that immersion in language learning doesn’t happen alone.
For most of us who are not living in a foreign country, this leaves us with two options:
- Find someone who speaks the foreign language (and wants to learn your native language), and try to help each other out by spending half the time speaking one language and the other half speaking the other.
- Work with a qualified teacher online, who is 100% dedicated in helping you succeed.
In summary, the biggest differences between the two comes down to money and time.
Cons: Sucks up your time, unsustainable, and reduces learning speed.
Conversation exchange can take a significant amount of time in finding the right partner (who is fluent in your target language, AND wants to learn your language; personality; location/time zone; time availability). From there, scheduling and keeping a consistent schedule to practice is also a big burden, and from personal experience it is rarely sustainable. You also have to keep in mind that 50% of your time needs to be dedicated in helping the other person, so in a 60-minute session, you’re actually practicing for only 30 minutes. Lastly, your conversation exchange is simply a native speaker, not a professional trained to help give you proper feedback, correct your mistakes, and guide you to the fastest way of learning the language.
Pro: Faster learning, guaranteed accountability & success, and saves you time.
Con: Costs money
Working with a professional language teacher allows you to receive 100% attention focused on helping you succeed, a seamless scheduling experience to guarantee availability when you’re free, immediate feedback, and constant accountability.
We’ve seen that working with a professional will not only save yourself from wasting time by accelerating your learning speed, but you can focus on what matters in your life, whether it’s your work, family, or your hobbies, instead of coordinating schedules.
Websites like Rype, offer unlimited private Spanish lessons, with a dedicated professional teacher. You can have your lessons at home, at your office, and at any time of the day. It’s an easy way to learn without distracting you from your busy schedule.
Through following these steps, immersion can happen within the comfort of your own home. All it takes is a little creativity, dedication, and help from a coach.
Published on November 9, 2018
How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career
Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.
Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.
So, are you ready? Here we begin.
Table of Contents
6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)
When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-
1. Spreadsheets and Databases
Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.
To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.
In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Access
- Data Analytics
- Adobe Campaign
- XML Database management system
- Filemaker Pro
- RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging
Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.
Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Google Analytics
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
- Email Marketing
- Web Page Design
- Digital Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Campaign Management Software
3. Graphic Design and Word Processing
A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Illustrator
- Microsoft Visual Studio
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Publisher
- Operating Digital Cameras
4. Software and Hardware Design and Development
The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.
To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:
- CISC and RISC architecture
- Embedded Processor Hardware Design
- Memory Management
- PCB Layout
5. IT Troubleshooting
Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.
So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:
- Backup management
- End User support
- Client-Server management
- Installation and configuration
- Issue tracking system (ITS)
- System administration
- Tech support
6. Enterprise Systems
Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.
Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.
The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills
Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.
Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.
Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:
1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.
Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.
This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.
Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.
Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.
2. Rule the Social Media World
Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.
From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.
This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.
Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.
Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.
3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment
From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.
Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.
The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.
The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.
4. Live and Breathe Creativity
It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.
From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.
From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.
62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.
The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.
Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.
5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting
IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.
It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.
The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.
Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills
The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:
- Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
- Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
- Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
- eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
- Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
- GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
- QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.
Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead
Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.
Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.
2. Work on Your Efficiency
Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.
For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.
3. Look for Shortcuts
Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.
4. Apply for an Internship
Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.
By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:
The Bottom Line
Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.
So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.
Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com