• Question: You said that you use IT a lot in engineering- how would you recommend going about improving IT skills/ learning more about it if you didn't take it as a GCSE?

    Asked by hannahgrimes to Alex on 21 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Alexander Zacheshigriva

      Alexander Zacheshigriva answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      I think in modern age you are always making yourself a favour if you learn a foreign language or IT., whatever you end up doing in future.

      I am not sure what would be the best way to get your IT skills better, depends how much do you know now, do you find IT interesting and do you have any friends that do IT stuff?

      I would suggest look for a book that looks like it is easy to follow, is right level and teaches practical stuff. And nowdays the internet has loads of stuff and helpful people that will give you advice.

      Also set some targets. Back in the day I started by wanting to be able to install and configure Windows and Linux on my computer myself. That has taken a while, a few books and unsuccessful attempts, but I learned a heck doing it. Then I decided I want to learn to make websites with online databases. That taught me how to set up a webserver, hot databases work, how to write scripts in PHP.

      Nowdays you may want to learn how to make your own facebook app or app for iPhone, android. You may think it is too difficult and out of your reach. But it really isn’t. Once you understand how the IT works and the jargon you will be able to use tutorials that you can find online in multiples. Also try to find a friendly forum where you can ask questions and you will learn lots from others. If there are any people you know that enjoy learning about IT and have similar aspiration this will help loads as you can share your findings and challenges with them and things will go quicker.

      For future work you will find that a very useful tool is excel. If you learn to use it well it will save you so much time in the future. But I am not sure that it will be a lot of fun. When looking for books or online stuff on these sort of software try to avoid anything that just goes through the whole interface and every function in a long big list. Try to go for articles that teach you to make something useful, even if they don’t explain all the tricks that they use, you will pick it up but you will also learn how the software can help solve problems.

      And a last thing. I remember when I was learning to make websites we had great fun playing with Flash making our own animations. They were basic but quite funny. I guess flash is still big nowdays, but also try other software like blender. It is free and very powerful.