A gap year is a common choice among many students who feel they need a break after a stressful Matric. However, finding something meaningful and constructive to do during your gap year can prove difficult.
You could choose to volunteer your time to a charity but if you are interested in improving your chances of finding a career after university, you should invest in taking courses during this period.
Why should I choose a computer course?
Computer courses are useful because they teach you the basics of operating a computer, as well as more advanced methods of using the machine. If you are not familiar with computers, it is highly important that you familiarise yourself with the technology, as you will be using it throughout your studies.
It will equip you with the basics
As a scholar, you are not required to use computers often during the school day, rather this time is spent with books and pens and paper for taking notes. However, this changes vastly when you enter university.
Some lecturers email notes to their class and expect to receive assignments in the same manner, which can prove difficult if you are not well-versed in using email. A computer course will teach you the basics of computing such as typing, using the internet effectively, using spreadsheets and word documents and much more. Having these skills before entering a tertiary institution will give you the upper hand when it comes to lectures and assignment submissions.
You may find a new career path
If you are taking a gap year because you are unsure of what to study, taking a computer course offers you a topic that could lead to a promising career. Being able to successfully use computers is essential in today’s modern world, no matter the position you decide to apply for.
You do not have to stick with computers and IT after taking a course in your gap year, but can look into careers such as marketing, administrative positions, human resources positions and more. You may even find a creative niche for your new found skills, such as designing posters or dictaphone typing. Having computer skills in your arsenal and on your CV will improve your chances of finding work in today’s difficult economy.
You will become a better communicator
In high school, you communicated directly with your teachers on a daily basis and used handwritten notes and assignments to pass classes. However, in university many lecturers will communicate with you via email, especially if they have large classes.
If you are not able to clearly get your message across in an email, taking a course that teaches email etiquette will help. This, along with knowing the basics of computers will improve your ability to communicate not only formally but informally, which is often needed in modern offices. Using online communication is often required for positions involving liaising with clients, and if you are not able to do this successfully you may not have many career prospects.
You will learn how to research
One of the main aspects of attending college or university is having to research topics for papers and assignments. You may feel as though you learned how to do this in highschool but university research is much more demanding and in-depth. You will need to be able to discern which information is important or not, and what is relevant to your topic.
This research often involves using the internet to find scholarly articles on subjects, which can be difficult if you are not used to researching in this manner. A computer course geared towards effective internet usage and searching can drastically improve your researching skills. Not only is this useful for studying, but in the office environment your position may require you to be able to quickly gather relevant information for clients or meetings.
You will be able to easily access study materials
Many universities and tertiary institutions now put their notes, schedules and important information onto an online system. This makes it easier to access as all the information is in one system. However, if you do not have much experience with computers this can be a difficult endeavour.
If you improve your computer skills in your gap year, then when you reach university you should have no problem accessing these programs. Being able to understand basic computing instructions will allow you to easily access these materials without much help, saving you time and effort in the long run.
Knowledge is power
Taking any course during a gap year will equip you with the power of knowledge and will boost your chances of finding a career after studying. Computer courses in particular are vital for functioning in today’s modern world, and if you improve your skills in the field soon you will be able to do more than simply turn your computer on and off again to fix problems.