People usually compare the computer to the head of the human being. I would say that hardware is the bone of the head, the skull. The semiconductor is the brain within the head. The software is the wisdom. And data is the knowledge. – Masayoshi Son
In today’s world, computer literacy is a fundamental part of finding a job and even surviving in modern society!
This is not just a personal view but that of the British government too. The British Deputy High Commissioner Kolkata at the inauguration of an e-learning centre recently declared that ‘computer literacy is as essential as literacy itself’. Yet there are still many people in the UK who have never surfed on the net or very rarely use a computer.
In order to improve your IT skills, why not attend an IT course or find a private computer tutor.
Here is everything you need to know about finding an IT tutor!
Learning IT or computing by taking a course can turn out to be a very worthwhile solution for many people.
Private lessons and tutorial sessions allow learners to benefit from a tailormade program of learning and fit class schedules around your work hours. In essence, you can learn to use a computer and become completely computer literate at your own pace!
But before finding the ideal ICT tutor, it is important to start by asking oneself the right questions.
You should reflect on your aims for your IT learning as they are different for each learner.
Interested in coding? Find computer science tutors and coding experts who can show you how! (Source: Visual Hunt)
Some learners only want to learn the basic functions of a computer (turning on the computer, surfing the net, administrative tools, Microsoft programs, etc.) whilst others will be hoping to deepen their knowledge of certain specialisms (IT networks, computer programming, algorithms, HTML language, etc.).
Some students for help with coursework, academic tutoring for help with homework or secondary school or college tutoring to attain academic success, others will be looking for online tutoring or personalised tutoring services to help them with a particular subject.
Start by asking yourself exactly why you want to learn more about computing and information communications technology and the specific areas in which you would like to gain skills.
This will allow you to have some clarity when it comes to explaining your aspirations to your private tutor. They will know how to create a bespoke program of study that has the capacity to allow you to meet your learning targets.
Having these targets will also help to ensure that you do not choose a tutor who does not work with you to fit your needs – you will know very early on whether or not they fit the bill. After all, there is no point in hiring an expert in IT engineering if you just want to become a whizz at word processing!
Thus, you will need to bear in mind your own objectives and current IT level when picking a tutor.
To make sure you make the right decision, ask yourself these questions:
Just like one to one tutoring sessions in math, French, English, or academic coaching sessions, IT classes with a tutor can take many different forms. It is up to you to choose which way works best for you.
Private lessons at home are quite common when it comes to personal tutoring. Your IT tutor will visit you at home to give you classes. Some tutors require travel expenses to be covered as part of their tuition fees, so you may need to budget for this.
You might need to clean up any rubbish on your living room floor too!
Another advantage of taking 1 on 1 classes at home is that you will not need to lug your coursework, computer and all the necessary materials onto the bus for a long journey to your tutors home or a local classroom. It will also enable you to save some time as you will not need to commute to and from your class!
If the idea of courses at home appeals to you but you are not to keen on hosting a teacher in your own home, you could always consider online classes. The teacher will be able to instruct you via a webcam and a shared screen.
Rather than having teachers come to you, a more common option is for classes to take place at your teacher’s own home or a nearby learning center; some classes also occur in more central tutoring centers. This is only really a viable option if you have found a tutor close by otherwise going to your tutorial sessions becomes quite a chore very quickly!
Another advantage is that you can benefit from using all the materials and resources that your tutor has to offer. This is usually quite a lot if they are an expert in their field!
In terms of budget, you might also be able to allocate more money to classes themselves rather than your teacher’s travel expenses as you could always cycle to your classes to avoid wasting extra cash.
Some teachers also propose and encourage their students to take up an intensive internship placement with them so they can find out more about a career in the IT industry.
Doing so is quite a good idea as it will allow you to grasp key concepts relating to information communications technology in a more practical and effective way as you will have the time to go over things in more detail.
However, an internship is not really recommended if you are only just starting out as you risk trying to cram in too much learning in too short a space of time. Be careful not to overload your brain with too much information.
The best solution – both for student and teacher – is to adhere to a fairly strict and regular weekly or fortnightly schedule when it comes to taking your IT courses.
This will give you the time to master new skills that you have acquired from one week to another and to practice exercises given to you by your instructor.
Just like piano lessons, outside of IT lessons learners are required to practice, practice, practice!
Computer science tutors are very often a font of knowledge! (Source: JISC)
Your budget is one of the most important criteria to take into account when choosing personal IT or computer scientist tutors. You will need to decide on exactly how much money you will like to put into your IT classes so that you know what options are open to you.
It is also important to be aware that a range of different factors may affect the tuition fees – higher tuition fees do not necessarily mean higher quality teaching.
For example, a computer tutor may take into account such factors as the cost of transport for home tutoring lessons, the materials, and resources available to you if you are studying at
[the tutor’s property, their own level of qualifications (for example, a tutor with a teaching degree and doctorate will probably charge more than those without!) and the local area (fees in London will be higher than outside London).
If the teacher is very experienced, highly qualified, has excellent academic skills and a large number of students with a high student success rate, fees will also probably be high to match.
What’s more, courses to become an expert in a particular field (mastering certain software, IT maintenance, software development, coding languages (Java, Python, C+..), IT development etc), are automatically more expensive than simple courses for learning the basics of IT.
Essentially – as one would expect – the number of sessions you need will depend on the difficulty level. It will take more time for you to transform yourself into an IT genius than to teach yourself a few of the fundamentals of using a computer.
In order to give you an idea of the price, so that you are not too far removed from reality with your head in the clouds when in it comes to paying your tuition fees, it may be helpful to know that here at Superprof, an hour’s IT lesson is around £30.
Coder, graphic designer, senior technician, development engineer, computer design engineer, an information technology teacher, web design or maintenance technician – each specialism will have its own particular price tag wen go comes to paying tuition fees.
Once you are sure of exactly what you want to gain from your IT lessons, it will be time to do some research and find that rare gem of a tutor who fits all your requirements and will teach all the subject combinations you need.
You can begin by looking for a tutor via organisations and institutions, such as IT colleges and vocational schools or local IT associations offering classes and more information.
However, not all tutors will be members of an association or offer classes through a particular organisation. A lot of them will be completely independent to avoid additional fees involved. Therefore, they will not only be in charge of managing their hours of work but also their students.
To find a personal tutor, looking for small ads placed in your local shop or library is a good option. You may also find more information on a handout or could go directly online and search on such sites as Gumtree, many libraries offer free internet use if you do not have any at home.
A dream IT tutor or teacher can be found in the strangest of places! (Source: Visual Hunt)
Platforms like Superprof allow you to contact a particular tutor and other students to help with your search. You can also search teachers via location in order to find IT tutors near you and then proceed to filter them down according to their specialisms and experience.
Word of mouth is quite an old-school method, but it is still an excellent way of finding your dream computer tutor!
Finding a tutor can sometimes be difficult, but find the right tutor for you can be a challenge in itself. You may find yourself in contact with a tutor, but find that you just don’t get the right vibe from them.
Don’t panic! You can still change your mind and eventually end up finding the right tutor for you. All kinds of tutors with a range of different skills and areas of expertise exist.
A lot of people start out tutoring online and begin offering private lessons in IT and computing. However, not all tutors have the same level of expertise and experience.
Some teachers have been working in the IT industry for many years and are IT engineers or software specialists (experts in their field).
Others are young people with a love of computing without much professional experience in the field of IT. These types of tutors usually make up for in passion what they lack in professional qualifications!
Whatever the level, there are pros and cons to both types of tutor, but it is important to always check their profiles beforehand to make sure that you know what kind of teacher you have signed up for!
The experience level of your teacher will play an important role in your studies and how much you benefit from mentoring. Some teachers know how to break complex notions down into manageable chunks so that they can easily be understood by students. However, that is definitely not the case for all teachers!
Make sure that you are happy with your tutor’s method of communication and that they are easily able to make themselves understood.
The tutor’s age is usually also linked to the amount of experience that they have. However, when it comes to a fast-paced industry like the IT industry where digital functionalities are continually being updated, the oldest tutors are not necessarily the best tutors or most experienced.
The younger generations have been born into a world with computers and grown up with a host of digital products surrounding them and usually know how to use them quite well.
Do not be afraid to hire a struggling but confident younger tutor as they may well turn out to be a surprisingly good educator and be able to show you all the nifty little tricks and trade secrets they use day to day to save time!
However, that is not to say that all older tutors are unsuitable! Many older tutors are extremely computer savvy and able to advise their pupils on everything, from the latest electronics items to the newest developments in coding languages. They also may know the best way to put certain learning strategies in practice.
It does not matter if you are in Tokyo or Timbuktu – your computer tutor will want you to find the time to study! (Source: Visual Hunt)
Are you looking to complete a particular computer science project or simply looking to learn the ropes when it comes to computer basics? Want to take classes in your own home or travel to your tutor’s house? Whatever approach you go for, there is a lot of scope for you to improve relatively quickly as you will be studying with a teacher one to one.
However, one thing is for certain – you need to be appropriately motivated!
Motivation will play an important role in your learning; without it, you will end up abandoning very quickly. This is true of any subject matter(math – algebra/calculus/trigonometry,etc., humanities, economics, psychology, history, language, biology, physics, chemistry, etc.) and is not limited to only private tutoring!
Taking up private tutorial sessions will require you to regularly allocate a certain amount of time for your studies in and outside class hours. Choose a time in the week where you are free from any particular responsibilities and can completely dedicate yourself to your studies. You don’t want to be rushing off for horse riding sessions 5 minutes after class!
Choosing private tutorial sessions over group lessons is a way to personalise your program of study and to find tutor profiles who are offering a range of courses (IT training, beginner’s IT, using IT tools, computer programming languages, cybersecurity, IT resources, etc).
Before shelling out for lessons, remember to also make sure that the subject matter you would like to study (using the internet, computer information systems, email, information communication technologies, learning to touch-type, shortcuts, website creation, IT architecture, Powerpoint, Word, OpenOffice, Indesign, Adobe Illustrator, etc.) cannot be found just as easily in an online tutorial, a an easy to understand book or even be self taught.
Most Superprof tutors that conduct programming courses offer their first hour of lessons for free: that gives you a chance to talk about your goals before paying anything!