Hey there Noob Alliance!

In this article we are going to talk about how you can get out of that dark pit of knowing nothing about computers and how to learn computer basics so that you can feel more confident when faced with having to use a ‘smart’ device and so that you can start to help yourself when trouble creeps in, but most importantly so that you can start to have fun with what this awesome digital world has to offer!

Shift Those Mind-Gears to “I Can”

Real-talk first… my dear friends, you won’t be able to accomplish a darn thing if your mindset is that of “I can’t” or “It’s too hard” or “I’m scared I break it”.

It doesn’t matter if you are a senior, if you’re a technophobe or any other label you give yourself – as long as you have the desire and perseverance to learn and to push through – you can do it! I’ve helped many folks of all ages and the ones who really wanted to learn and dared to put their fears aside are the ones who are helping others now.

Computers and other computing devices have really advanced over a very short period but as awesomely “smart” as they’ve become their purpose is still for you to interact with them – ultimately you tell them what you want and they give you what you ask for. They’re not out to get you, I promise 😉

Now, sometimes there are misunderstandings – which cause “wtf” moments. These are normal so don’t get discouraged when it happens! Those often still happen to me (albeit on a more advanced level) and because things are changing all the time it will continue to happen.

Remember, no one ever starts off being an expert at something – they fail many times to get to “awesome-level”! The reason they become experts is because they don’t give up!

Google, Google and more Google – It’s Free!

I am going out on a limb here and assuming that if you’ve found this site, you already know the basics of how to Google… But if you are just barely getting on or trying to help someone else improve their computer skills, then I suggest the first thing you learn/teach is how to Google and how to YouTube (learn everything from finding information online to how to use the internet safely first).

Keep in mind that although this is a brilliant and free way to learn, this method requires that you know what to search for, that you are comfortable with DIY learning and that you are able to put all the overwhelming amounts of information coming from all directions into some kind of sequence that makes sense.

Here is a free online resource that can get you started: Wikibooks – Computers For Beginners

E-Book (or Real-Book) It – Aka Working Through Self-Help Books

E-books (digital books you can read on your smart phone, tablet or computer screen) or ‘real’ books are a good starting point to improve your computer skills. I actually recommend this for complete noobs because the information is put together into sequence and takes into consideration your level of computer literacy. It also leaves out the guess-work of “where to start” and “what to learn next”.

Often the books come with DVDs that contain follow-along video guidance. E-books may have links to video content you can watch online. This helps a lot because it can be difficult to understand what a book talks about if you have no visuals of practical examples.

When looking for books, make sure that you choose a book relevant to the version of software/application you are trying to learn about. For example, if your computer is running Windows 10 operating system and you are looking to learn how to use a computer for beginners, choose a book that teaches based on Windows 10. The reason for this is that every operating system looks different. Buttons and settings are not in the same place and icons and menus do not even look the same between different versions.

You can check here to find out how to check your version of Windows (this is also invaluable to know when you are DYI learning by Googling or in the event that you need a IT specialist’s help over the phone and they ask you that very pressing question).

Here are some books I would recommend for beginners who want to learn the basics of how to use a computer running Windows 10:

“Is This Thing On?”: A Friendly Guide to Everything Digital for Newbies, Technophobes, and the Kicking & ScreamingComputer Basics For Complete Beginners

Computers For Seniors For Dummies

If you need to learn Macbook and OSX basics then I recommend:

Teach Yourself VISUALLY MacBook

And if you’d like to brush up on Microsoft Office (Word, Excel etc) basics

Office 2016 All-In-One For Dummies

(If you have older versions of Microsoft Office there are books available for those as well in the “For Dummies” series).

E-Learning – The Internet Has It All Nowadays

Let’s step it up a level! If you really want the best learning experience that this current era that we live in has to offer, I recommend you look into e-learning aka online courses.

This way of learning is even more simple, laid out and structured in a way that helps you to improve your skills and knowledge leaving minimal room for confusion.

Often the e-learning platforms will guide you through sequential modules with video content embedded conveniently on the same page the learning content is on.

E-learning can save you hours of time and frustration! (Digging on the internet can become tiresome and you might end up giving up because it can feel that you’re getting nowhere with your efforts).

There will often be quizzes built into the courses for the purpose of checking your understanding of the content as well as practical work so it forces you to get in some practice – which is a very important aspect of learning.

For learning computer basics check out Udemy – they also provide a plethora of other courses you may be interested in. Always check the course ratings and comments when making a decision on which course to choose.

Here is video that provides some info on Udemy:

Practice What You Have Learned and Ask Questions!

And finally, practice – the best way to know your stuff and to fine tune your skills – there is no replacement for actually getting your hands dirty! In this case, that means clicking a lot of buttons and trying out the things you are learning about while using one or more of the ways discussed above.

Before you click buttons though, make sure you are backing up your computer – discussed here. This will help you feel more confident to push buttons knowing you have a copy of your important files somewhere safe!

Actually, seeing as though I have your best interests at heart I’m giving you no choice! *Stern look* you better be backing up your stuff my fellow noob! Don’t skip this advice! (Do it! Do it now!). 😉

One final word on the topic of learning – ask questions! Don’t be hesitant or shy to ask.

There are forums online where people help each other or you may have a tech savvy friend of family member whose brain you can pick and now you have ComputerNoobGuru too! 😉

So no excuses and happy leveling up your skills <33

Leave me a comment and share the love – have you ever improved your skills by self-study? How did you go about it and do you have any advice to share with the world?

24 Comments

  1. Marvin

    Reply

    Great Article for all those technophobes out there, we are sometimes ignorant to the fact that most people born pre 80s really struggle to wrap their head around the whole concept of having all knowledge at their fingertips 24/7. Do you have any course recommendations for the older generations >?

  2. Brandon

    Reply

    What an absolute amazing article from an expert. I am not computer savvy and have NEVER known how to do technical stuff on the PC, however, after reading your article I’m glad I know at least some, which is how to use Google and I use Google literally everyday, haha. Thanks a lot!

    • Reply

      Hey there Brandon! Its my pleasure! PS – you’ve most certainly won half the battle already with Google on your side! Google is life and life is Google lol!

  3. Ivan Brozincevic

    Reply

    Amazing post! I laughed so much because while reading I had images of my parents trying to get friendly with technology 🙂 They adopted smartphones quick and easy. But, when I wanted to take it to the next level by introducing my old laptop as their new friend, things went down south. For them of course haha. I love technology and everything that goes with it, so I love to come across an entertaining article like yours. Thank you for a good a fantastic read. All the best.

    Ivan

    • Reply

      Heya Ivan! Thank you, I’m so happy to hear that I’m inspiring smiles and hopefully making a difference! Lol I can relate to that 100%! My mom gets on just fine with her smartphone too but not so much with her PC and Windows 10! It’s great to hear from fellow technology lovers!

  4. Ngonidzashe Manzwangani

    Reply

    A very helpful article, I have to admit, I am into online business but I have very little knowledge of computers. Some of the tasks I do online requires a bit of knowledge of computers so I was reading e-books on the computer knowledge. After reading this post, have seen that taking on an online Course with Udemy can be helpful. Will have to sign up with it to start the course in the near future.

    • Reply

      Thank you Ngoni, I’m glad to hear this has been helpful and I would love to hear about your experience with Udemy if you decide to take a course with them!

  5. Keith

    Reply

    WOW Nadia, this is cool banana’s for a Noob like me !!! What great resources you have put out there for us Noobs. I am now going to Carbonite to buy all the parts I need to build a new pc. Thanks a lot. You have been a great helping hand in the land !!!

    • Reply

      Hey there Keith! Welcome to ComputerNoobGuru! It is my pleasure, I love helping wherever I can! I’m ecstatic to hear that you’ll be building your new PC, so excited! Shout if you ever need a hand!

  6. Barry

    Reply

    Certainly one cannot achieve anything if he limits himself and/or feels the stuff is hard. Thanks for the great tips on how to learn Computer basics.

    When it comes to information, Google is such a powerful tool to fish out information both free and paid too. I have learnt about some Computer stuffs in the past by just doing a simple Google search.

    Practice they say make perfect. One cannot be perfect in what he does if he doesn’t practice enough.

    Powerful content overall.

    • Nadia

      Reply

      Thank you Barry, I’m glad it seems I’m on the right track with my mission to help people master their tech skills! Definitely, practice does make perfect! 

  7. Michelle

    Reply

    Hello Nadia,

    Great article. I loved your opening lines…it is indeed about the mindset – whether you are old or young or whatever…if you think you can, you will…FULL STOP.

    Great suggestions on how to make your way around the digital arena…you are so right…our world is on the move and changing as we speak, write, and sleep…nothing seems to stay the same…well, for too long before the next upgrade.

    Keep up the good job and keep educating the noobs and the masses.

    Michelle

    • Nadia

      Reply

      Thank you Michelle I will indeed proceed onward and upwards! Things do keep on changing and as scary as it may feel I also love it! If everything stayed the same I think I would go bored out of my mind 🙂

      Indeed, I couldn’t agree more! The most powerful computer we have, that being our wonderful mind, needs to be running the correct programming (aka our “mindset”) for success to happen – no matter what area of our lives it may be in. 

  8. Dale

    Reply

    This is a great article.  Many people who are great on the computer take this for advantage.  I , myself usually learn through trial and error and so far I have not broken anything.

    One of the biggest ways I learn is through YouTube videos.

    The computer is a wonderful thing that you shouldn’t be scared of.

    • Nadia

      Reply

      Hey there Dale! That sounds exactly like me – I also go by trial and error – the most frustrating but also the most rewarding way to learn lol. 🙂 And I agree, YouTube is the best thing since sliced bread! 

  9. Chrissie Spurgeon

    Reply

    Hi Nadia

    Your post will be really useful to the large number of people who struggle to find their way around a computer, and will appeal in particular to those people who were at school before the days when IT was generally taught.

    I really like the way you encourage people to let go of their fear of technology, and I like your recommendations for E-books which will help people to find their way round a computer.

    Many thanks for a really helpful and informative post.

    Chrissie 🙂

    • Nadia

      Reply

      Thank you Chrissie, I really do hope folks find this helpful! 

      I noticed that a lot of the senior folks enjoy their e-readers and their e-books – which is already a form of a computer skill and a great way to show them that they already have what it takes to conquer technology. 

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving some love, I really enjoy hearing from folks and appreciate every single comment! 🙂

  10. Daniel

    Reply

    I must say that I was looking for this stuff on the Net and this is what I need. Although I know everything when it comes to computers, my dad wants to learn how to work on it and it is really difficult for him to overcome the basics. I think that e-books are not bad but I would like to send him on some video training like Udemy. I will read this article again with my dad and I am sure that he will succeed. Thank you, Nadia!

    • Nadia

      Reply

      Hello there Daniel, I totally understand – my mom also struggles. She used to be great with Windows XP back when she took lessons (in-person lessons). But now with Windows 10 and the new versions of Microsoft Office and all the other apps we use nowadays she finds it difficult to understand how it works and why it has changed.

      Wishing you success on that journey – where there’s a will there is always a way! 🙂

  11. Veit H. Kölln

    Reply

    Hey Nadia, I’m outing myself here. I am a pre-80’s and I do dive into computing. The topic overall is under discussed, I think. So you’ve done a great job here in giving advice on how to go about it in general and detail. I like your final words – asking question really is key to full understanding.

    • Nadia

      Reply

      Hey there Veit, thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts! It’s true that a lot of the time folks don’t know where to start working on their computer skills. I really do hope I’ve helped some with this article. 

      I’m one of those who is guilty of not asking enough questions when I’m busy learning/studying – however I have since made a point to ask more questions as I discovered while taking a teaching course how important it is. 

  12. Jay

    Reply

    Having computer skills in the era we are currently living in is becoming a necessity. You have to move with the times. In the old era computers were not as popular and important as they currently are and in those days only an elite few knew how to properly operate a computer because they were the only ones that owned a computer. I remember when I first started with a computer. I use to go to my neighbors house to play games on their computer. Although I was a kid I was able to pick up one or two things on how to operate a computer and then some few years later we owned a desktop at my house and that really made my computer skills to explode. I basically taught myself most of the things I know and with the help of google I hardly had any problem learning. I was not perfect but I could beat my chest and say yes I can operate a computer and properly navigate the internet.

    • Nadia

      Reply

      That’s awesome Jay! Before we had our first computer I also ran over to the neighbors all the time to play on theirs lol! It really is wonderful to be able to use Google to learn and educate myself – I wish I had access to the Google we have today back when I was still at school!

      I totally it agree, it is extremely useful to be able to operate a computer and/or smart devices these days and in a lot of cases it is a necessity!

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