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Tech Skills & the Job Market

November 15th, 2010 Comments off

Having taught for close to four years now, I’m still blown away by the lack of computer skills exhibited by a vast majority of students.  Despite my best efforts to encourage people to take advantage of our semester together to learn even basic Excel skills, few people include even basic formulas in their homework submissions and those that do, I suspect, knew Excel before they landed in my class. 

Against that backdrop comes some analysis from Hunter Richards at softwareadvice.com that looks at what skills employers desire in job listings. that looks at what skills employers desire in job listings.  As I’ve stated many times, though, the foundation starts and ends with Excel and Hunter repeats that in his anlaysis as well:

This article would be a whole lot shorter, and a lot less interesting, if I focused on the one product you absolutely must know — Microsoft Excel. Nearly one hundred percent of these employers mentioned Excel skills as a necessity. If you’re an accounting student and you don’t know about Excel, I advise you to stop reading this immediately and go learn it.

For those of you that have mastered Excel, please take a look at the other skills that are in demand.  As I’ve stated in class, I’d rather hire someone with demonstrable skills in the product(s) used at my company than someone with a high GPA or a college degree.  That’s the real world.  Take a look at Hunter’s analysis at this link:: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/accounting/which-tech-skills-help-accountants-land-jobs/

Evernote for Windows

September 13th, 2010 Comments off

Here’s an interesting product that students may want to check out: Evernote.  From text notes to screenshots to audio files, this one application can help you stay organized.  I’d be interested to hear from students that use this to better understand the pros/cons in an accounting classroom setting.

Here is a video clip from CNN where Evernote is discussed:

Categories: Education, Software Tags:

Windows 7 = $29.95 for current college students

September 18th, 2009 Comments off
Click on this link when you place your order if you need (or want) Windows 7 Professional instead of Windows 7 Home.  The price is still $29.95.

Click on the link like the one shown above when you place your order if you need (or want) Windows 7 Professional instead of Windows 7 Home. The price is still $29.95.

Here’s a benefit to being a student — you are eligible to purchase Windows 7 Home or Professional for $29.95, about $100 less than the retail price when it hits the market in a month.  This deal works similarly to the Ultimate Steal offer for Office 2007 in that you qualify by entering your metrostate.edu email address on a website and instructions for completing the transaction are emailed to you at your metrostate.edu address.  Students that are enrolled in at least 0.5 credit qualify.

Visit the link below to get started:

Categories: Software Tags: , ,

Google Reader

September 3rd, 2009 Comments off

I mentioned in class that I use a tool called Google Reader.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll direct your attention to a post I wrote up several months back on my personal blog detailing the uses and features of this great tool.  Using Google Reader or a similar program is one way that you can be informed when new things are posted here, for example.

Google Reader @ My Flypaper Mind:

Why Firefox?

May 20th, 2009 Comments off

I had a few people ask me last week during/after class why I use Firefox because they saw that is what I had fired up when I was showing off D2L, the textbook websites, etc.  At the time I was kind of at a loss for words because I don’t really have a great answer other than “I just know it is better” — or at least it is better for me and the way I use the web.  Probably the biggest draw to Firefox for me is that there are hundreds of add-ons that people have developed that fill voids not easily addressed by other browsing software.

As luck would have it, I started documenting some of the add-ons over at my personal blog a few weeks ago…partly as a way to “share the wealth” with friends and family and partly as a way to keep a list for myself of all the add-ons I use so that when I am installing Firefox on a new computer I don’t need to try to remember them all.  Afterall, these things work so seamlessly with the browser itself that often I forget that they didn’t come bundled with it when I downloaded/installed it the first time.

So feel free to check out the following link if you too are wondering “why Firefox?” and you want to know about some of the funtionality that can be simply added to the core web browser to make your surfing life easier:

As I post new things that are tagged with the “Firefox” tag they will show up on that page as well.

Categories: Software Tags:

OpenOffice.org Suite: Free and Microsoft Office Compatible

May 12th, 2009 Comments off

I posted previously about the Ultimate Steal where you could get Microsoft Office Ultimate for $59.95, but for those of you that don’t want to spend even that amount of money on an office suite I have a great alternative that is free.  OpenOffice.org office suite is an open source software effort supported by Sun and it can save in Microsoft Office formats so you can still exchange files with users that do not use OpenOffice.  As  of the end of April, Microsoft released a service pack that will allow their office suite to save in the OpenOffice file formats so the exchange can go either way in either format.

I actually have OpenOffice installed on all my computers in addition the Microsoft suite because there is certain functionality that I find useful that is not in the MS software.  In fact, the reason I first installed the software was because it supported exporting to PDF format long before Microsoft included that feature in Office 2007.

To avoid duplicating what I’ve posted about before on my personal blog, please visit this link for more information:

Categories: Software Tags:

Create PDF Files Free!

May 11th, 2009 Comments off

I’ve posted on my personal blog, schaaf.me, some information that could also be helpful in class/life and that I want to post here as well.  Rather than copying/pasting the entire post to this site, I’ll just add links where appropriate.  That way if I edit any information I don’t need to do it in two spots.

The first topic that I think is helpful is one detailing how you can use free software to create PDF files from any Windows application that can print.

Most people think that creating PDF files (aka Portable Document Format) requires the purchase of software like Adobe Acrobat at a cost of several hundred dollars.  This is not the case.  While Adobe did create the PDF standard as a proprietary file format, there have been other programs available for some time that will allow a person to create and even manipulate PDF files and the file format has been released as an open standard for more than a year now.

Read more at these links:

Categories: My Flypaper Mind, Software Tags: ,

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 – $59.95 for Students

May 11th, 2009 Comments off

Perhaps you’ve been putting off upgrading to Microsoft Office 2007 because of the hefty price tag (which acutally has fallen quite a bit in the last several months).  As great as the product is, it can be hard to swallow spending hundreds of dollars upgrading from an earlier version when that version is still functional.  As a student, you have typically had access to some great software deals through the Metropolitan State University Bookstore as well as other vendors such as JourneyEd.com, Unique Software, Academic Superstore, or CampusTech, but even those places tend to charge $100+ for Office versions that are missing some key applications (such as Access, Outlook, etc.).

But here is one deal that is awfully hard to pass up and it is straight from Microsoft — they are calling it The Ultimate Steal.  Enrolled students with a valid .edu email address (they will email you a link to use for purchasing and downloading the software) can buy Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for $59.95.  The Ultimate edition of Office contains the more common office applications of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook plus some of the more obscure programs like Access, OneNote, Groove, Publisher, and Infopath that are not included with the some of the other Office packages, so this isn’t a stripped-down version by any means.

Although you can certainly get by continuing to use older versions of Office (especially if you install the compatibility pack) a deal this good might be enough to get you off the proverbial fence.  Or maybe your workplace has upgraded and you haven’t at home…moving files between locations can be very frustrating and even the user-interface is different enough that moving to the new version at home might make your life considerably easier.  If nothing else, being familiar with Office 2007 gives you an advantage in the job market because being skillful in the latest software is an asset to most employers and there are plenty of changes in the latest version of the Office applications that there is a learning curve not present in earlier upgrades.

If you are interested in this deal, see the link below for more information:

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