How Important Are Computers In Education?

Even If You Aren't Studying Them, Computers Have A Huge Impact On Education...

Its August, and that means (for the most part) that schools and colleges are looking to re-open their doors and bring in the new generation of learners to help them on their way into the real world. For some, that means turning up and getting taught a little bit of everything in middle school, but for others, it means a first semester at college, the first real-time that a student gets proper control and direction on a subject that they are deeply interested in.

And nowadays, that can mean a lot of things. There are plenty of liberal arts colleges out there that can help people become better artists, painters or illustrators, plenty of engineering schools that will help out with structural engineering, environmental engineering – the list goes on.

What all these schools have in common though – and I mean every single one – is that they are all going to be heavily dependant on technology, and for the most part computers.

That might seem odd, especially if you don’t care about or even want to learn about computers – but this article has a point.

Painting By Digital Numbers

I mentioned arts colleges helping students refine their painting techniques before, and then I mentioned that these same students would have a heavy dependency on computers during their courses – and that is totally true. Even if you don’t believe that computers are a vital part of the artistic process, you still have to make sure that the art you produce is captured well, your supporting articles and papers submitted via computer or electronic upload – and then there is a bigger question surrounding how you are going to showcase your art in the future.

My point here is this; no matter the course you take, no matter the career, there a very few paths in life that take place away from a computer – or in a wider sense, the internet.

Take engineering for example. Sure, there are the practical uses of having mathematic equations and formulas worked out by a computer rather than the engineer working on them, but look into the wider scope of programs that are now usable for engineers – CAD systems that allow for designs to be created within a digital environment, theoretical stress tests taking place on a purely digital front – all kinds of different ways for engineers to work theoretically within their field inhibited by the use of computers themselves.

Basically, no matter your chosen field or subject, there is no getting away from the fact that a computer is now as essential as a pen and paper – it just has to be used, even in fields traditionally not associated with computing at all.

Now this might seem like a harsh thing to say, especially if you are reading this thinking ‘I don’t care about learning about computers or software at all, I just want to study my chosen field), but the thing is your chosen field might rely upon technology in order to survive. I’m sure there are countless artists out there who don’t give two about web design, but they need to create an online presence in order to showcase their art.

It’s less about learning everything a computer can do, and more about learning how technology can better your interests.

Learning In The Real World

Students working in both colleges and schools today have a massive advantage that they might not be aware of – and that is there constant exposure and use of emerging technologies.

For those readers out there who have already received their diploma and moved onto the wide world of work, I ask: how many times have you heard some version of the phrase ‘This technology is too much for me’?

There is a section of the workforce in the world today either unable or unwilling to learn how to use the emerging technologies in everyday life that enable a business to survive or grow – and it can be a huge detriment to both the individual and the place in which they work.

Take a friend of mine who recently went to work in a local clothes store. Family owned and operated, they sell mid to high-level fashionable items and it’s a pretty popular place – with only a bare trace of an online footprint. My aforementioned friend was brought aboard to work there originally under the guise of having coming fresh out of college and needing a job, but because of their experience building a website for their own creative endeavors soon found herself to be their webmaster, building an eCommerce website so that their store can reach more people and survive in an increasingly hostile marketplace.

The lesson here is this – younger generations who pick up technologically based skills in their educational career might not appreciate it in the moment, but when it comes to the world of work, they might be surprised to find that their PC based skills are massively needed.

Companies today are going to have a lot more time for applicants turning up for an interview with a decent grasp on technology than someone who has applied with only a passing interest or skill in tech. It’s well understood that a lot of people in education at the moment might not be interested in computers, but I can assure you that in the real world, I.T is a very serious and important subject

Software Engineers And Job Security

So, let’s talk about actually entering the educational system to pursue what has fast become one of the biggest and most stable areas of employment in the world – software engineering. It might sound like a closed career path, but there are plenty of people sat in the same coding and software classes in college today who are going to take wildly different career paths in their future.

Some might work for their own ends, becoming freelance developers on software projects when it’s needed, some might work in house for companies who need a reliable hand on their internet and tech-related security systems, and some might end up working for the big software companies out there refining code and working towards huge, world-changing projects – the list is pretty much endless.

Then I want you to think about the number of different careers in the world that depend on technology. Video and photography editing, mechanical engineering, teaching – even everyday office work; all of these jobs (and all of the world) depend on software to some degree in order to do their job to the best of their ability, and its these software engineers who are going to be providing these applications and software packages to the world.

The people who enter educational institutes to learn more about computers and their professional applications are going to be at an advantage in the professional world, as the jobs that require intricate computing knowledge are nearly limitless.

Basically, whilst the future of education might not be entirely devoted to PC technology, I can guarantee you that the future careers and career path choices that people make today are going to be defined by the use of computers, and other technology-based in computing – so take note, engross yourself in it, learn as much as you can and be ready to apply it in the real world – as the real world is going to need it.

The Real Message Of This Piece

This whole article has been me trying to make one point in particular: That whatever your chosen field of study is, that whatever career path you are going to take might be, it doesn’t matter; technology is going to make a drastic impact on it whether you want to be a writer, a painter or a software engineer, it makes no difference aside from the platforms you work on.

The diploma is only part of the reward of College – pay attention to the technology used, and the emerging platforms in your field and you are going to be in a decent standing when it comes time to enter the world of work.

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