Did you know that more than 50% of jobs in today’s workforce require some level of technology skills? And experts predict that this number will rise to 77% over the next decade.

So as you’re thinking about your career, it’s important that you consider what computer skills you’ll need. This can often seem a little overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve created this guide outlining the computer skills that everyone should gain as well as some for more specific fields. Check them out below.

General Skills

No matter what industry you go into, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the following programs.

Word Processing Software

First and foremost, the most basic computer skill you should have: the ability to use word processing software. You’ve most likely heard of these before. The two most common programs are Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

The basic function of a word processing software program is pretty simple: it’s a place where you can create a digital document.

In this day and age, employers often assume that most applicants are familiar with these programs. But if you’re not, that’s okay. You should just take some time to get to know these programs.

Google Docs is available for free with a Google account and Microsoft Word is readily available as well.


Next, you should know how to use spreadsheet software. The most common programs in this category also come from Microsoft and Google–Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

What’s a spreadsheet? At its most basic level, a spreadsheet is an application used to organize data into tables and to perform calculations. For example, you can enter a set of numbers and easily find the mean or the sum.

It’s a simple way to do a large amount of calculations quickly. 

Spreadsheets can also be used for advanced data analysis. Depending on your field, this may or may not be a part of your everyday tasks. But if you’re applying for anything technical or data-related, you should become really familiar with spreadsheet software so you can utilize these more advanced features.

However, for most jobs, a basic understanding will suffice. If you need some help getting up to speed with these programs, there are lots of courses available online.

Presentation Software

Another crucial item to add to your list of computer skills? Presentation software. 

In every industry, presentations are a common part of the job. You’ll often need to present new information to your boss or share a proposal with a client. On the flip side, a potential partner may send you a presentation to review.

In any case, it’s a great idea to get familiar with presentation programs. The most common ones out there are Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and Google Slides.

They all have their pros and cons and people use all of them, depending on their preferences. So get familiar with them all if possible.

Specific Skills

Now let’s talk about skills you’ll need for specific industries.

Computer Programming

First, let’s dive into programming. Computer programming is anything that has to do with creating, launching, and maintaining computer software.

This industry has been growing for a while and it’s predicted to continue expanding. The more that technology is a part of society, the more we need talented computer programmers.

As far as specific positions go, here are some of the most common ones out there:

  • Software architect
  • Software developer
  • Programmer
  • Software analyst

And when it comes to specific skills you’ll want as a programmer, you’ll need to know how to code. Coding is the ability to create websites and mobile applications in various technical languages. Some of these skills include the following:

  • HTML
  • Java
  • Python
  • CSS
  • Open-source software (OSS)
  • UI/UX
  • XML

If you want to go into programming but are just starting out, it’s easy to feel intimidated. The best thing to do, though, is to start learning. Take a class on HTML or check out this free Python course.

In no time, you’ll be on your way to becoming a full-fledged computer programmer.

Graphic Design

Another popular career path that requires a lot of technical skill is graphic design.

As a graphic designer, you’ll ideate, create, and distribute all types of visual content, including logos, websites, posters, advertisements, videos, and more.

To do these things and to be able to work on a wide variety of projects, you need to be familiar with multiple programs. These include the following:

  • Adobe Illustrator (used for vector creation)
  • Adobe Photoshop (used for photo editing)
  • Adobe InDesign (used for document creation)
  • Adobe Premiere (used for video editing)
  • Sketch (used for creating mock-ups)

These are just the beginning. There are countless tools out there that graphic designers use as a part of their creative process.

Accounting Software

Going into accounting? There’s another family of computer programs you should know.

If you’re going to work in finance, accounting, or economics, you should understand these software programs. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur or part of a small business, you should also be familiar with these skills so you can keep your finances in order.

Make sure you understand how to use software programs like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks. This way, you can adequately manage accounts, payments, and financial data.

Final Thoughts on Computer Skills

Now that you’ve read all about the computer skills you’ll need as you enter the workforce, what’s next? It’s time to get to work.

Decide which skills are most important in your field and start acquiring them today. And if you want to learn more, check out our wide range of other articles.