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5 Laptops That Are Perfect For College Students

5 Laptops That Are Perfect For College Students

I’ve been known to spend hours or even days before deciding whether or not to purchase one electronic product over another. Indeed, last summer, I probably spent more time reading reviews about laptops than using the one I eventually bought! While this type of behavior is probably perplexing to most people, it prepares me for writing an article like this one, since I’ve pretty much looked at every laptop in existence at one point or another. Below, you’ll find a list of laptops perfect for people going back to college. I’ve put together an assortment of options that should please the minimalists, average users, gamers, and Apple lovers. The following laptops aren’t arbitrarily ranked from best to worst (or vice versa); each serves a different need. Enjoy!

1. The Acer C720 Chromebook

    Chromebooks are fascinating little devices. You won’t be able to use any programs like Microsoft Word or Photoshop on them, but you will be able to use the Google apps that correspond to those, like Google Docs. If you aren’t a heavy gamer and aren’t married to Microsoft Word, these are a viable option for you. The C720 is extremely lightweight, which means it’ll be a breeze to carry to classes. Additionally, because it’s such a minimalist device, the processor barely consumes any power. This means that it can stay on without being charged for nearly 9 hours – a huge benefit if you’re stuck in the library without your adapter (which happens a lot, trust me).

    If you just want something that’ll get the essentials done, this is the device for you.

    Basic Details:

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    • Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
    • Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz (Haswell micro-architecture)
    • 16 GB Solid-State Drive
    • 11.6-Inch Anti-Glare Screen, Intel HD Graphics
    • HDMI port, 8.5-hour battery life

    2. ASUS Chromebook C300MA-DB01

      This is another highly rated Chromebook. What separates it from the Acer C720 is the fact that it has a slightly larger screen at 13.3”. Additionally, it has better battery life at 10 hours and more of a substantial built quality. The flip side of course is that it costs about fifty dollars more.

      Additionally, its processor is a bit slower than the C720’s, though you shouldn’t run into too many issues if all you do is browse the web (just don’t open too many tabs). The ASUS’ keyboard is roomy and perfect for any humanities majors who need to crank out essays every other week.

      Basic Details:

      • 10-Hours battery life
      • 802.11ac wireless
      • Intel BayTrail-M N2830 Dual Core 2.16 GHz processor (turbo up to 2.41 GHz)
      • 16 GB solid state storage. 13.3″ HD LED display
      • 1.2MP camera. 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card slot (SDXC), Bluetooth 4.0

      3. HP ProBook 450 G1

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        We’ve moved beyond the Chromebooks now and entered the world of Windows powered devices. The ProBook is a minimalist laptop that runs Windows 7 (which is a plus in my book since Windows 8’s “upgrades” are negligible at best and annoying at worst). If you didn’t like the idea of having to do all of your work through the Internet via Google Chrome, this is a good jack-of-all-trades laptop that will run Microsoft Word and do pretty much everything you need to do without breaking the bank.

        On the other hand, it won’t run any newer games well (due to its integrated Intel graphics chip). If you aren’t a gamer or power-user though, this device should have plenty of juice for you. Its processor is a Core i3, which I’m quite familiar with. You shouldn’t run into any issues browsing the web, watching videos, writing papers, etc.

        Basic Details:

        • Intel Core i3 4000M (2.4GHz)
        • 4GB Memory 500GB HDD
        • Intel HD Graphics 4600
        • 1366 x 768
        • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
        • DVD+/-RW

        4. ASUS ROG G56JK-EB72

         

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          The laptop I bought last summer for college was an ASUS gaming laptop, sort of like this one. The only difference is that mine isn’t an “ultrabook” whereas this baby is. For about the same price as I paid for my laptop, you get nearly as much power in a slim, lightweight package. This is the machine you’ll need if you’re a serious gamer (and don’t want to lug your desktop to your dorm/apartment), or need the power for your major (engineering for example).

          Despite how expensive this laptop is, it’s still a thousand dollars less than my next suggestion.

          Basic Details:

          • Intel Core i7 4710HQ (2.50GHz)
          • 12GB Memory 1TB HDD
          • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M 2GB GDDR3
          • 1920 x 1080
          • Windows 8.1 64-Bit
          • DL DVD+-RW/CD-RW

          5. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

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            If you’re a Mac person through and through, then this is the product for you. Sure, it’s expensive, but even I have to admit that its build quality is pretty off the charts. Not only do you get a classy looking device, but you’ll also be getting top-of-the-line hardware and software. While you could get the former in a PC for much less (see #4), the latter is what colors the decision making process of most Mac users, and I can’t really judge you since I use an iPhone.

            MacBooks are extremely lightweight and they’ll last you for years if you take proper care of them. My old roommate’s lasted him all of college, and my other roommate’s lasted him through high school and college.

            Basic Details:

            • Intel Core i5 2.60GHz (4th Gen Haswell)
            • 8GB Memory 512GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage SSD
            • Integrated Intel Iris Graphics
            • 2560 x 1600
            • Mac OS X v10.9 Mavericks

            To close, I’ll go over some of the common themes tying all five of these laptops together. First off, they’re all pretty lightweight. Unless you’re crazy like me and purposefully went for the 17.3” behemoth of a laptop based solely on the power of its graphics chip, you’ll value portability over all else when choosing your college computer. You never know when a lecture or study group will call for you to have your laptop with you, and when they do, you’ll want something light and easy to carry. Second, all of these devices have processors more than capable of doing your basic college work (like writing essays, doing research, and procrastinating), though you may need something more powerful than the first three options if you’re a gamer or have a major that demands the extra juice.

            Happy laptop hunting, and have a great year of college!

            Featured photo credit: laptop.jpg/ MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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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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