As a student, one of your dreams is to complete school successfully and get a well paying job. Others may also want to take the route of starting their own jobs after completing. In either case, there are 3 types of software that every graduate is required to have a mastery over.
The reason why you need a mastery of these types of software are but not limited to:
- Every company you go to uses one or more of these software
- It will save you time and energy
- Learning these while a student is way easier than having to juggle learning of these software with the actual work when you have various deadlines to meet.
- You may also need these software for your personal projects
You may not fully comprehend the importance of knowing about them until you finally land yourself in a job that requires them or start your own business.
The 3 types of software that every student should master before graduating are:
- A spreadsheet application
- A word processing application
- A software for creating presentations
Now, let’s delve into the details of each and find out why you need them and which specific ones you should be using.
For each type of software, I will only make mention of the most popular ones since that is what most companies are likely to be using.
- Spreadsheet application
- Microsoft Excel
- Google Sheets
- Word Processor
- Microsoft Word
- Google Docs
- Presentation Maker
- Microsoft Powerpoint
- Google Slides
- Apple Keynote
A spreadsheet application is basically any application that allows you to present a set of data in a tabular form for storage or analysis purposes.
Most of the data collected in companies needs to be stored and analyzed. Even though there are more advanced means of data storage and analysis, the majority of the companies, especially governmental organizations, have stuck to the use of spreadsheets.
For that matter, if you are going to work for any of such organizations, you must master how to use them.
Using spreadsheet applications is quite easy and free to use hence the reason for not abandoning spreadsheets in the face of more robust data storage and analysis tools.
When you get an upper hand over the use of these spreadsheet applications, you will find out how easy they are and how simple they make your life.
Spreadsheet applications are calculators by default and allows you to automate your calculations.
Imagine being a sales rep of your company and need to produce weekly profit and loss reports for the company. If you do these things manually, you will go through a lot of struggle.
But with the help of spreadsheet applications, these calculations become way easier to do and within a few minutes you will be done.
Now let’s talk about the two most popular spreadsheet applications.
This is the most commonest and that is what people think about when they hear spreadsheets. Microsoft Excel is available in 3 different forms:
- A desktop application
- A mobile application
- A web-based app
Check this video out where I introduce you to all the three options and how to get each of them:
Also, you can check the whole playlist for the Excel for Absolute beginners course that I created.
I have also written a lot of tutorials on the Techpady blog that you can check out to help you master Microsoft Excel in a few days.
Google sheets has become an alternative to Microsoft Excel and now a lot of companies and individuals are gradually shifting to it.
The interface isn’t that much different from that of Microsoft Excel. Hence, if you already know how to use Microsoft Excel then you will probably be able to use Google Sheets too.
Google Sheets is however popular among people who work remotely or work that relies heavily on collaboration. It allows multiple people to work on a single spreadsheet at the same time without conflicts.
Another important reason why a lot of people have also started choosing to work with Google sheet is the history control feature in it. With this feature no change that is made to your spreadsheet is lost.
You can always track what changes were made over time and who made those changes. You can also revert back to a previous version of your spreadsheet if you want.
I have also created a few videos on Google sheets, so you can check them out here.
As a student, I bet you have used a word processing application in one way or the other. If you have ever been asked to submit a softcopy of an assignment then you probably used a word processor application to type your assignment.
Word processing applications are software that allows you to create, edit and print documents which contain texts and some graphical elements (if needed).
These are tools that are used in every organization irrespective of the size of the organization. Almost any time that you think of writing something, the first thing you will look at is having access to a word processing software.
Whether you are to write a letter or document the minute for a meeting or draw an outline for an upcoming program, you are likely to use word processing software.
The two most popular word processing software out there are Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
I can bet that you have used this tool before if you ever used a Windows computer. It is very common because it is available to all PC users by default.
Microsoft Word is quite easy to use and the menu layout of Microsoft Word is similar to most common software you find out there. Hence, navigating around in it isn’t difficult at all.
If you haven’t ever used it before too, the learning curve isn’t steepy at all. With a few efforts you will be able to master them.
However, there are some special activities that may require that you learn how to do them. One such that a lot of students keep asking me about is how to create a table of content and how to add different page numbers to different sections of a document.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do any of the above. I have actually created a playlist on YouTube for Microsoft Office Word Tips and Tricks. Just check them out to help you master Microsoft Word.
You can also check out this category that I published on a UK website teaching some of the tricks and helping you solve some common problems you face when using Microsoft Word.
Just like Google sheets, the interface of Google Docs isn’t much different from that of Microsoft Word. An ardent user of Microsoft Word can easily switch to Google docs without any struggle and vice versa.
Also, just like Google Sheets, one reason Google Docs has begun gaining so much popularity is because of how easy it is for collaborating with others and also the inbuilt version control system.
All changes made in Google docs are never lost and multiple people can be working on the same document at the same time. It has become the go to Word processing tool for people who work remotely.
My team and I have switched to Google Docs and that’s what we use when writing blog posts.
To help you master Google docs, I have created a lot of tutorials on it and currently have a number of them in the pipeline.
This category of software is also very important for students and graduates alike. Just as you are taught to do presentations in school, you will be required to do the same in the corporate world.
Even if you decide to go the entrepreneurship route, you still can’t escape this because you have to create pitch deck presentations to attract investment. You may also have to present your ideas to your co-workers or potential customers.
If I were you, I would start learning how to use these presentation making software as soon as I finish reading this article.
The three most common presentation making applications out there are:
- Microsoft Powerpoint (available to users of the Windows OS)
- Apple Keynote (available to users of the MacOS)
- Google Slides (Good for people who work with a remote team)
Unfortunately, I haven’t created much content on these sort of applications but I look forward to publishing some soon and may update this article as soon as some are ready.
However, one of the popular videos I have on YouTube is about how to convert a word document directly to powerpoint and you can also check a post we published on how to make a powerpoint in portrait form which many people didn’t know was possible.
Indeed knowledge of these three types of software has gotten me into positions that I could never have imagined and granted me a lot of access during my previous work at a government hospital.
You really need to master at least three of these software with one from each category and I have provided you with resources to do just that.
Now it’s time to hear from you too:
Which of these software are you going to learn first or did I miss any important group of software that you think students must learn?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below and also share this with your friends, they may thank you later.
Written By: Dr. Ehoneah Obed
(Pharmacist, Content Creator, Full Stack Developer & AWS Certified Practitioner)
Bio of Dr. Ehoneah Obed
Dr Ehoneah Obed is a Pharmacist by profession and a technology enthusiast who likes to teach on various technologies, software and mobile applications. In his spare time, he creates content on any of the above categories or writes various health related content.
He currently manages a number of blogs in the Tech and health niches and manages a YouTube channel called Digital school Academy as well. He has also created a community (IKRATE COMMUNITY W/ DR. EHONEAH) of digital enthusiasts where he conducts regular training sessions for members.
These applications are used by both undergraduate and postgraduate almost all Higher Institutions of Study in Ghana and globally. For example on the global scale Microsoft word is widely engaged at the for submission of thesistation, assignments and online Quizes by some students at top universities such as Harvard, Yale and Add all.