Updating My Skills

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You may be aware that I am still looking for a new job having been made redundant last November.  I have been to various recruitment agencies, had a couple of interviews, and updated my CV a few times.  I apply to many jobs online.  These are challenging times.

I thought it would be a good idea to improve some of my computer skills.  I see a lot of jobs requiring PowerPoint.  I taught myself how to use this application a few years ago.  It wasn’t difficult.  The thing is I never really had an opportunity to utilise this application at work.  I sometimes wonder if people ever really use half of the things they have learned in these Office applications.  I never used Mail Merge even though I had learned how to do it.  It doesn’t take me long to pick these things up again as I am quite good with the computer.

Fortunately, Microsoft offers free tutorials on their website.  I have been learning how to use the latest version of PowerPoint online.  I have also used the tutorials to learn about Formatting and Mail Merge (things I never had to do before but that you always get tested on in the assessments).  I am hoping that updating my skills will give me an advantage when I go on interviews.  People always ask about office skills.  I feel I need to keep on top of things.

I recently completed a Dreamweaver Introduction Intensive course at my local adult college.  On two Saturdays, from 9:30am to 3pm, the objective was to learn the basics of Dreamweaver and produce a webpage.  As I had been working on the blogs, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about web design as I might want to make the blogs into a dot com, which would be the next step.

The gentleman teaching the course was not an IT guy.  He is a photographer who uses Dreamweaver for his websites.  Apparently, we were going to learn 20 hours worth of coursework in about 10 hours!

I thought the first session went well as we were getting the basics down and understanding the navigation of the software tools.  Our tutor provided us with detailed handouts, so detailed note taking wasn’t really necessary.  By the end of the session, we were able to produce a four page website with links to the various pages, inserting text and photos, and designing our layout (you need math for this part).  I have to say that I was grateful for having worked on the blogs in previous weeks as there were similarities in linking and uploading of information.  It just tied everything together for me and gave me a better understanding of what I have been doing lately.  I like to know how things work.

The trouble started in the second session.  We had a quick review of what we had done in the first session.  I had no problem with that.  The problem was in the second exercise as we were going to work with layering and FTP – File Transfer Protocol.  The FTP aspect of the class was pretty straightforward, but as we didn’t have real domain names to upload, we merely received the information on how to do it once the website was ready to upload.

The layering aspect of this session was a bit tricky and was going to be discussed in more detail in the Advanced Intensive course.  I have to say that I ended up being a bit frustrated at the end of this session.  There seemed to be a lot of problems getting things set up as instructed.  Either they weren’t explained effectively, or the tutor moved on too quickly.  I think we all could have used a bit more time to develop our pages and work on formatting and to really understand what we were doing, especially when things went wrong.  I ended up with my text and format looking completely different from the person sitting next to me and with my page jumping and being larger than I wanted.  I still did not know how to fix this at the end of the session as the tutor did not have time to go to every person.

We were told that we could save our work onto a computer stick so we could practice at home, but the computer wouldn’t allow me to do that as I didn’t have the correct clearance to use unauthorised software (my stick).  I still have my handouts and notes, and once I purchase a copy of Dreamweaver, I will try and practice what I have learned.

I came away from the course knowing how to open the software, create files, navigate the software, creating pages and links to pages, inserting text and photos, and generally setting up a basic website and uploading it onto the internet.  I think we should have had more time to practice using the more advanced features in producing a more sophisticated website as I didn’t get the hang of layering.

I have another class scheduled on Saturday.  In the course of two hours, I will learn about Writing Freelance Magazine Articles.  I will keep you posted.  In the meantime, I better get back to updating my computer skills. 🙂

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One response

  1. Good luck, Arlene.

    I took a class on CSS (cascading style sheets) and just gave into the fact that I cannot understand code.

    I think I’m missing the gene or something.

    Good luck on the job hunt, too!