Younger workers usually have an edge when it comes to working with technology. They grew up using it and it’s a language they are familiar with.
It’s harder for older generations to grasp the basic mechanics without a little guidance – but improving your technical literacy is easy!
Everything you need to become more marketable and stand out as an older person in the workforce is just a web search away.
These nine simple technical skills are incredibly useful in the workplace:
1. The Power of a Search
This is less a skill and more of a philosophy that is universally accepted among today’s tech-savvy youth: everything is just a Google search away.
Every problem you have ever had has been solved by someone, and that someone has slapped their results on the internet for you to learn from.
Young professionals are confident moving between different programs and user interfaces because they know how to find solutions to any problems that arise.
For example: If you don’t know how to set up an Epson printer, you can find simplified, step-by-step instructions.
Better yet, most of the guides you find on Google will be nice to look at, super informative, and easy to understand regardless of your skill level.
2. The Difference Between Trustworthy and Untrustworthy Sources
A lot of older people are too prideful to admit it, but the internet speaks a language that just wasn’t made for us. It’s something we need to take it upon ourselves to learn.
Part of that is digital media literacy education, and it is an entirely different set of skills than “old” media literacy.
Scammy, spammy, and otherwise suspicious websites can easily pose as authorities on a topic. It’s surprisingly easy to masquerade as a legitimate, trustworthy source just by playing into basic psychology.
These websites are very good at this, so don’t underestimate them.
An easy way to gauge if you are being taken for a ride is to ask yourself: “Are they selling me something? How do THEY benefit if I buy into what they’re saying?”
Of course, not everyone that is selling you something is untrustworthy but it is a great starting point.
Speaking of selling you something…
3. Affiliate Links
The most popular way to monetize content on the web is to use affiliate links. Affiliate links can be misleading because they are often cloaked in content that seems very authentic.
So what are affiliate links?
Affiliate links are most commonly used in review or “best of” type content on the internet. When you use affiliate links and then purchase the linked product, the person who linked you to the product page (the “affiliate”), earns a commission.
The affiliate system does not cost the consumer any extra money. In fact, some affiliates can offer their readers and viewers discounts on their favorite products.
Affiliate links are not inherently bad, and they should not lead you to immediately write off a source as biased.
However, understanding the motives of the authorities you read and who you give your money to is important.
Affiliate links mean that the author of the content has something to gain by convincing you to purchase a product.
This does not mean the reviews they write do not reflect their actual opinions. As your internet literacy improves, you will hone a natural talent for discerning how and who to trust on the web.
Affiliate marketing is not inherently bad, but it can be abused by bad actors to make a buck off you.
4. How to Keep Data Secure
When is the last time you hooked up a device to public wi-fi? If the answer is not “never,” then you had better know how to protect yourself on a public network! It’s a different animal than the private networks you may be used to.
Believe it or not, if you connect a device in public to an unsecure wi-fi network and then reconnect that device to a home network, you could be exposing your entire family’s data to malicious actors.
Things as simple as downloading and password managers can make all the difference. But it helps to know why, so you can know intuitively how to protect yourself in future situations.
Navigating the internet is not at all difficult. The number one rule is to keep yourself safe while doing so.
Otherwise, Google is your best friend! As long as you know how to filter through the information you’re finding, there’s no limit to what you can achieve with a simple web search.