The digital medium dominates conversation these days. Most of the talk is positive, some of it is destructive. The one subject you hear expressed the most, is how technology advances, fast.

Some people stood on the wayside in our society’s path towards a digital economy. It’s not a great view from where these people stood; it seemed all the fun belonged to a younger generation. Is technology accessible to you only if you grew up with it?

Uncharted territory is overwhelming for sure, but lets start with a simple quote.

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide

Why becoming tech savvy is important.

The digital medium is a communications network. If you know how, you can leverage the digital medium to work remotely. Here are a few advantages of working remotely (also known as telecommuting).

  • You run your own life. More time, more life.
  • You get access to a peers on a world forum. You can start a conversation with anyone you want.
  • You save money, time and sanity with zero daily commutes.
  • Connect to decision makers.

A new skill brings with it new benefits which will enrich your life in ways you ask for. How exactly, can you become tech savvy?

Prepare your tools

If you have special needs, there is free software which can help you. Visit the following web page :

  • http://www.projectpossibility.org/projects.php
  • http://www.oatsoft.org/Software/listing/Repository

There’s software on these sites to aid special needs, from colour blindness to motor skill impairments. You would need a basic PC or Mac to run the software you find on these sites.

Look for open source software which is free. Also, work you create with open source software will always belong to you. Here are more reasons :

  • Future versions won’t force you to pay a penny for continued usage.
  • You will belong to a vibrant community of helpful people, and they don’t shun beginners (they’re less prickly)
  • There’s always an open source alternative for any tool. You  don’t need a word processor which can feed your cat while you’re away.

Define your objectives and deliverables

You need to know where you’re headed before you set sail. What are your objectives of becoming tech savvy? Do you want a new job? Do you want to work from home? Are you keen on joining a global community?

What is it, that would make you feel like your journey was a success. A new job in 3 months? A successful project which has found traction with a wide audience in a year?

Develop a rough plan.

You don’t need to know what you’re going to do from A-Z. You just need to know how you’re going to get there. Clarify the risks and opportunities you’ll be taking. Revise the plan as you go along.

Things you don’t need right now :

You don’t need a website, or know how to make one.
Programming knowledge is great, but not at this point. Start where you’re comfortable.
You don’t need the latest PC or Apple Mac. There’s always something for your budget.

What now?

Online courses are a great way to build your knowledge, fast. Here are a few sites to get you started, with courses  from basic English to accounting with digital tools :

  • http://alison.com/ (free)
  • https://www.khanacademy.org/ (free)
  • https://www.udemy.com/ (paid)

Getting tech savvy while learning with digital tools means you use the proverbial stone to kill two birds.

Good luck, and happy learning!