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Becoming More Technologically Competent

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As I noted in a previous thread I'm currently (still) in the job market: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...c=17887&hl= . So far there's little luck. I had an interview at a hardware store on Tuesday, but it turns out that they didn't want me after all, and it took months to arrive at that interview.

As such, I'm looking to boost up my skills in order to beef up my resume. I've already decided to start taking harder routes in cooking (e.g. cutting things with a knife rather than putting them in the food processor) so that I may add it as experience to my resume when I submit it to restaurants (I value cooking), but I think I also need to boost up my technological competence, not only for my resume but for my own personal benefit.

Simply put, I'm looking for recommendations for good educational resources on technology, mainly with computers. I know this is vague, but that's where things are difficult for me: I don't know where specifically I ought to direct my efforts. Concrete computer programs? Computer language? Computer science in general? There's just so many options that I would like to seek assistance in narrowing down my focus and then picking out the appropriate educational resources. I'm wondering perhaps if there are any *general* resources that can give me a taste of everything or the like, such as a book that explains how computers work, that would give me the first few threads to focus on.

So anyone got any suggestions?

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You probably ought not to get into computer programming or science until you understand how to effectively use a computer as is. If you don't know how to do that, there's some websites that offer pretty basic stuff, like this: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/Computer/

One of the really useful skills is the ability to use things like word processors, power point, spread sheets, et cetera. I was trained in Microsoft Office during my freshman year in high school, and Microsoft offers courses on that, as well as certifications, but that can get rather expensive. I know each test right now is about $100 at least. Being able to use those things effectively, though, can be added to a resume, and is definitely something that has helped me.

If you're interested in learning computer programming, much of it is really simple. Honestly, I'd say that if you can understand Objectivism, you can learn many computer programming languages, simply because things like C++ and C# are based on logic, and fully understanding and integrating Objectivism takes some pretty heavy thought work.

There's tons of free guides for computer programming languages, all you have to do is search for them on Google. I know for C++ there's this website, which has a few free guides on C++, which is a good starting language: http://www.computer-books.us/cpp.php

I've never used the site because my books and teaching were provided free by my school, but I'd say give them a try if you're interested in the programming aspect of computers.

For resources on using the internet/coding for the internet (HTML, CSS), there's this, and I've used this a few times before: http://w3schools.com/

Again, as I said, before getting into anything like programming, you probably ought to get a basic knowledge of how a computer works. Most people have that kind of knowledge already (i.e. what is hardware, what is software, how can I protect my computer, how do I use the internet and other applications, et cetera), but it never hurts to brush up on specifics.

This, by the way, isn't coming from a professional. It's coming from a kid who goes to a high school specializing in technology, but that's about it.

Edited by Iudicious
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Thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep them in mind.

After a bit of research, I have decided that it would perhaps be best if I got a general understanding first, so, unless one can convince me that this is an irrational resource otherwise, I have decided to pick up a copy of How Computers Work by Ron White and Timothy Downs, which seems to be pretty exhaustive. Before I do that, however, I'm going to be reading Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed by Shirley Corriher since it has immediate importance for my employment prospects.

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I haven't read the book, but by the review it sounds worth reading. (Though you might not want to do it sequentially, like a novel, but rather start with the most interesting parts--depending on what the authors recommend, of course--I'm sure they mention whether it has to be read in order or not)

However, a book, even if it's basic, requires sustained effort, and a lot of motivation that just isn't in the book itself. So you need to constantly do what you learn about. The beauty of computer literacy is that picking up a lot of it (not everything though, but a lot) requires very little effort, and is lots of fun. There is, for instance, and Online TV Station called Revision3, with weekly HD episodes of all sorts of Internet and computer related shows, sometimes hosted by professional entertainers (read: attractive, funny people), other times by full blown geeks. I recommend focusing at first on a show called Tekzilla (it is a news/entertainment show about information technology), later searching out the more in depth stuff. Here's the link, maybe you'll enjoy some of their shows:

http://revision3.com/ (don't mind the fella with the big black SCAR replica, on the front page right now, he's just being silly)

In general, don't forget to always do the fun stuff (whatever from the following you find fun):

-image and video processing; always learn by trying, even trial and error at times, if a quick tutorial isn't readily available, not by just reading about them;

-find out about the many online applications (meaning websites with a purpose other than just listing text and pictures on it), from Facebook all the way to online banking;

-look into whatever you find interesting about various online and offline games (without wasting your time getting lost in any one particular game for too long);

-if you have an I-phone, or any other 3G phone, study it and the industry in general;

-find out generalities about computer programming, read articles and whatever you can find that's easy to follow about the types of languages you find most interesting (this of course doesn't mean "learn programming", just learn what it is, where it is used, if you are curious - I found unusual programming languages one of the most interesting aspect of IT, ever since I remember becoming curious about computers, long before I was ever able to actually write any code)

-learn about, install and use in everyday practice, operating systems other than Windows (in fact I would recommend installing Ubuntu Linux on a partition on your PC, or as an OS running on VM (virtual machine) environment under Windows, as soon as you feel confident enough to be able to do it, and using it for a while for everything, including posting on this site:), while you get used to it and figure out the details behind it - with the help of that book you mentioned, for instance); this way, you will have gained a dual perspective on operating systems, which will help dispel many false assumptions someone without that second perspective would have about computers and what they do. Not to mention Unix knowledge is essential if you are at all interested in this next topic

-and finally, if you are interested, learn about viruses, basic hacking and cracking techniques and programs that are discussed in various videos on youtube, and this website: <a href="http://www.securitytube.net/Default.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.securitytube.net/Default.aspx</a>; in general, learn by trying out the various programs discussed at home (as long as you have credible sources (Wikipedia for instance), telling you a given tool is safe and legal.

P.S. IT is the best documented industry in the world, and unless you're going for in depth programming or network management, etc. (in other words a profession in IT), the info is usually online and free. Google and Wikipedia are your friends.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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