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Last Updated on January 17, 2018

8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

Everyone has the ability to learn a life-changing skill not just this year, but in the next 6 months.

By life-changing, I mean something that can have a positive impact in your life moving forward, even if it’s something you can’t envision today. Certain skills we can immediately reap the benefits of, while others will be life-changing when we least expect it.

In this article, we’ll share 8 life-changing skills you can learn in 6 months, where you can learn them, and how you can get started today.

1. Speed reading

Bill Gates has been known to state that if he had one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster. What Bill and the rest of the mega-successful understand is that knowledge is power. The ability to process information faster from books, articles, and reports is what will help us learn faster, and therefore improve each aspect of our life faster as well.

Where you can start learning: Speed reading courses are becoming more popular, as more people realize how important it is with the limited time we have. You can check out free courses like Read Speeder or you can start learning how to use Spritzlet, which allows you to speed read articles online with a browser extension.

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    2. Public speaking

    Research shows that people fear public speaking more than death itself. There’s something terrifying about being in front of dozens or hundreds of people, and exposing yourself completely. It’s when you’re most vulnerable, but learning how to public speak is a life-changer.

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    Warren Buffett has given advice to recent graduates that the number one skill you can have to succeed is public speaking skills. Everything from communication, confidence, and sales is developed when you develop your public speaking skills.

    Where you can start learning: Luckily, there are great communities out there like Toastmasters that organize local meetups all around the world. You’ll find amazing public speakers that are looking to get to the next level to beginners that are just getting started. Check out Toastmasters’ website here.

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      3. Spanish

      As the third most spoken language in the world, the ability to speak Spanish will allow you to reach over 500M people around the world. No matter where you live, knowing how to speak Spanish is becoming increasingly more important, with the Hispanic population and economy spreading quickly worldwide. If you’re living in the US, this is even more important, with over 30% of the population being Hispanic.

      Spanish is also on this list, because it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Sure, Mandarin is an important language to learn, but it’s an incredibly difficult one to learn. If we were to measure the level of importance and the time to learn for all the languages available, Spanish would make it to the top of the list.

      One of the biggest reasons why people never reach fluency in any foreign language is: using the wrong method, and lack of time. In this free course on how to learn a new language in 90 days, there’s proven research which points out how humans best learn.

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        It turns out that humans retain only 5% of what we learn from lectures, 20% of what we learn from apps (visual cues), and 90% of what we learn from immediate immersion. Yet, how do 90% of learn a new foreign language? Language schools (lectures), books, Duolingo (apps), etc that don’t provide the real-life immersion required for our brains to learn faster.

        Where to get started: If you want the most effective way to learn a language, learning from real-life interactions is the best way to do it. There are great websites like Rype, which offers Spanish coaching for busy people, solving the issue of lack of time and bringing real-life immersion to your screen. With Rype, you can book as many lessons as you want, at any time of the day, any day of the week, allowing you to fit it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are.

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          4. Accounting

          If you’re looking to get into business, accounting is one of the core fundamentals you’ll need to succeed. While you don’t need to be an expert, you definitely should understand the basics.

          This skill can also be used to manage your personal finances, to meet your financial goals, and having more control over your life.

          Where to get started learning: If you didn’t learn accounting in school, no worries. You can either teach yourself using books, or check out free accounting courses online.

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            5. Microsoft Excel

            Most people reading this probably have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. While this is a good start, there are so many powerful functionalities that are hidden, which could make your life a lot easier.

            Excel is also a great asset to have whenever you’re looking for a job, as many corporations rely on Excel to organize and manage multiple parts of the business.

            Where to get started learning: With the popularity of Excel, you can find tons of free resources and videos online to learn. Check out Excel Exposure, Lynda, and Excel with Business.

            6. Blogging/Vlogging

            Blogging is a powerful tool if you want to spread your ideas, build your brand, or grow your business. Since it was introduced, blogging has taken on a life of its own, and today there are ~2M blog posts being written on a daily basis.

            Where to get started learning: Anyone can start blogging today. All you need is a content-management system like WordPress, which is completely free. Personally, I think the best way to start learning how to blog is to just start writing. There are techniques you can learn on how to promote your blog, but the best way to grow your blog is to write great content.

            7. Weight training

            Yes, weight training is a skill. It’s not as advanced as learning how to code, nor will it take as long as learning a new language, if you just want to learn the basics.

            We’re not promising that you’ll get a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will see much faster results for whatever goal you have, just by understanding how to workout properly. And of course, when you’re dealing with an activity that involves physical strain, you’ll always want to caution yourself.

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            Where to get started learning: There are amazing body builders that are sharing all of their secrets for free on Youtube. You can check out Bodybuilding.com’s Youtube channel to get started.

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              8. Photo and video editing

              In the digital world that we live in, from Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, there is no avoiding photos and videos. In fact, social media has increasingly gone away from text sharing and almost everything to photo and video editing.

              Where to get started learning: For photo editing, you can use Photoshop. For video editing, you can use iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Keep in mind, there are dozens of editing software tools for video and photo editing, but what’s more important are your editing skills, not the tool itself.

              Check out education websites like CreativeLIVE or Skillshare, where you can learn from experts themselves on how to best use design and software tools.

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                Published on November 9, 2018

                How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                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.

                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
                • Statistics
                • Data Analytics
                • Adobe Campaign
                • Quickbooks
                • XML Database management system
                • Filemaker Pro
                • MATLAB
                • Hive
                • FORTRAN
                • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                • SAS

                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
                • WordPress
                • 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
                • AutoCAD
                • CorelDRAW
                • Microsoft Visual Studio
                • Maya
                • 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:

                • HTML
                • C/C++
                • Java
                • Python
                • XML
                • UI/UX
                • LINUX
                • CISC and RISC architecture
                • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                • Memory Management
                • PCB Layout
                • SQL

                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:

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                • Backup management
                • Diagnostics
                • 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

                a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                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.

                b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                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.

                c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                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

                a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                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.

                b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                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.

                c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                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

                a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                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.

                b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                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.

                c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                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.

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                4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                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.

                b. Canva Design School

                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.

                c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                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.

                d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                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

                a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                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.

                b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                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:

                How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                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

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