6 Basic Tech Skills Anyone Should Have (Even If You’re Not a Geek)

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basic tech skillsLet’s face it: in today’s world, technology is no longer just for geeks. While some people may take pleasure in hacking into their Android device or using a rare Linux build, most of us are just normal users, who simply want to get along. If merely using a computer used to be “only for geeks” in the 70s, it’s nothing like that today, and even my 90-year-old grandmother has her own PC and writes emails on a daily basis.

If you consider yourself a geek, and have good control over your computer and other devices, this post might not be for you. If, however, you’re still finding your way in the computer world, or know someone who is, these basic skills are absolute must-haves. While computers and phones will work for you even without these basic tech skills, having them will ensure your privacy, your security, and will make your day-to-day experience  as smooth as it can be.

Secure Your Wireless Network With A Password

basic tech skills

While creating a password for your home wireless network is not complicated, I’m always surprised at the amount of unsecure networks I find every time I look for one to connect to. A true geek might say that a simple password protection is not that secure, and any real hacker can break it easily, but these passwords work in most cases, and I haven’t had mine hacked in all the years I’ve been using it. Aside from security issues, you don’t want all your cheap neighbors to be using your Internet and downloading movies at your expense.

So what do you do?

First, read how to secure your wireless connection, as explained by Aibek quite a while ago. While these screenshots are taken on Windows XP, the way things look depend mostly on your brand of router, so you should have no problem no matter what OS you use. If you need to set up a wireless network from scratch, take a look at “how to set up your own secured Wi-Fi hotspot”. Think someone’s using your wireless network? Here’s how to tell!

Backup Your Stuff

No matter how you use your computer, phone, or tablet, you must have a good, solid backup solution, at least for the really important things. We tend to postpone backup for “later”, thinking “it won’t happen to me”, but losing your data once is quite enough. And there’s no reason to be lazy, as backup is pretty easy to set up.

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So what do you do?

If you’re the kind of person who likes to read, learn, and pick the best solution, download our free backup & restore guide, which will teach you all you need to know. In a nutshell, your backup solution can consist of one or more of the following options:

  • An external hard drive
  • A network-attached hard drive
  • Cloud storage
  • CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc.

After deciding on the best solution for you, you can find a list of 10 excellent backup apps right here. Also, read this before choosing an online backup provider. If you don’t feel like reading or deciding, simple head over to Dropbox.com, create an account, and move all your important folders to Dropbox. While this might not be the most secure way to do things, it will make sure your files are there, even if something happens to your computer.

Touch Typing

important technical skills

I have a confession to make: I only use 3 fingers when I type. There, I said it! But you know what? I still don’t have to look at my keyboard while typing, and I type faster than many people who type the right way. Don’t take an example from me, though. One of the best skills you can have for a smoother computer experience is touch typing.

So what do you do?

The best way to improve your typing is, of course, practice, but if typing is a really slow and cumbersome process for you, you might avoid it as much as you can. There are many apps and even games that can help. You’ll find an excellent list of such apps right here, which includes apps for different languages, speed tests, typing lessons, and much more.

Protect Your Devices From Malware

Don’t have an updated anti-virus program installed? Get one right now. Viruses and malware are getting ever sneakier, and you don’t want to remain unprotected. Especially when good protection is available for free, and is very easy to set up.

So what do you do?

Choose one of the free apps from this list, install it, and you’re done. If you want to be really secure, check that your program is running a system scan about once a week, and configure it to update automatically. You can then forget about it, and know you’re protected.

Learn How To Use Email

important technical skills

Do you know what to do when you send a mass email? Do you know how to recognize spam? Can you use links and attachments comfortably? If you answered yes to all of the above, you’re probably alright. If you didn’t, these are things you should know how to do.

So what do you do?

In a nutshell, follows these guidelines:

  • When emailing a group of people, enter all the addresses in the BCC field, unless you know for sure these people don’t mind if others in the group see their address. This way, everyone will receive the email, but no one will be able to see anyone’s address but yours.
  • When you get an email with a link or an attachment, and that’s any email, read it carefully to make sure you really know where it came from. Even if you recognize the name and address, you want to be %100 sure the content makes sense to you. Not sure? Don’t open!
  • If you want to include links in your email, the best way to do it is to highlight some text, find the “insert hyperlink” option, and paste the address there. This way, the email is much easier read and the links easier to follow.

Want more? Check out this nice video series on eHow.

Know Your Keyboard Shortcuts

basic tech skills

You don’t really need keyboard shortcuts in order to get by, but once you learn just a handful of them, you won’t understand how you ever made do without them. Assuming you already use Ctrl-C for copy and Ctrl-V for paste, what other basic shortcuts should you know about?

  • Ctrl-X – for cut (copy and delete).
  • Ctrl-Z –  for undo.
  • Ctrl-Y – for redo (brings back what you undid by mistake).
  • Ctrl-backspace – deletes and entire word instead of letter by letter.
  • J and K – are used on many interfaces, such as email, for browsing up and down a list.
  • WinKey-L – locks your PC (make sure you know your password before doing this!).

Bottom Line

There is, of course, an endless amount of skills one can acquire. Even for basic skills, this is not all. But master these 6 basic tech skills, and I assure you, using your computer will become a much safer and more enjoyable experience.

Tell us in the comments about other basic skills you think everyone should have, but don’t!

Image Credit: Child and cat with laptop image via Shutterstock, Typing image via Shutterstock, Man with @ image via Shutterstock, Keyboard image via Shutterstock

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Comments (56)
  • Shelly Olmstead

    I shared this article on my Facebook page for my friends that claim not to be tech-savvy or “computer people”, because I learned the hard way about not having a backup, which I’m paying for at the moment :/

  • Márcio Guerra

    I believe I’m more than a basic user, according to this list! Ehehehe! And I type with almost every finger, with over 50 words per minute, but with a higher record!

    Cheers!

    Márcio Guerra

  • brendon

    Cool… Tips helped me out XD

  • Theo Reisinger

    I really feel that people have to accept that computers are part of our life and learn how to use them better. There have been too many times when I’ve heard the excuse, “I’m not a computer person.”

  • Nancy B

    Great tips to pass on. I can’t tell you how many email jokes etc. I get from people that show all the previous people it went to email addresses. If I was a hacker or spammer I would have a field day! I told many to use BCC and in the “to” even use their own address and delete all the previous addresses in the email……but no. Still get them!
    Will definitely post to Facebook!

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.