Computer Skills: Definition and Example

Updated 2 September 2023

There is no surprise that applicants with computer skills have more chances of getting hired in the digital age. Whether you apply for an administrative job or a marketing job, you require intermediate to advanced computer skills to excel at work. You may have to use a laptop, point-of-sale (POS) system, RFID scanner or an excel sheet.

In this article, we will discuss what computer skills are, their importance, examples of computer skills and understand how to list computer skills in your CV along with some tips for listing them.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume (with Examples)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

What Are Computer Skills?

Computer skills are an applicant's knowledge and ability to use a computer and the related technology effectively. Today, employers want people who know how to use the latest technology to increase work productivity and streamline work processes. For example, employers expect an applicant who appears for the marketing role to possess knowledge of using different presentation software.

Types Of Computer Skills

Broadly, there are two categories of computer skills: software and hardware:

  • Software skills: help you use computer-related applications, tools and programs. Often, employers do not mention computer skills in the job description because these are universal skills and prerequisites for most jobs. For example, employers want applicants to know word processing software like Microsoft Word.

  • Hardware skills: it showcases your ability to use and operate a computer. It could be switching on and off a computer or connecting a USB to the CPU slot. Advanced hardware computer skills involve fixing broken devices, connecting different virtual machines, network configuration and even cloud management.

Here is a list of essential computer skills:

  • Microsoft Office

  • Social media

  • Graphic design

  • Presentation software

  • Computer programming

  • Communication and collaboration tools

Not every role requires knowledge of advanced computer technical skills. If you apply for a developer's role, you must know at least one of the coding languages from Python, Java, C++, C# and PHP. But when you apply for an administrative role, knowledge of Microsoft Office suite, productivity tools and accounting software is essential.

Computer Skill Examples

Based on the job role and industry, the computer skills that hiring managers look for may vary. There are many computer skills widely used in all industries. Proficiency and knowledge in these skills will help you get a job faster. Here are some computer skills you should learn and master before your next interview:

Office suites

Knowledge of office suites likes G-suite and Microsoft help you perform many day-to-day activities regardless of your role. Word processors like Google Docs and Microsoft Word help you create digital documents at work. Often, employers assume applicants are well-versed in word processors, as it is the primary job requirement. You will rarely find these office suites mentioned in a job description.

If you are applying for an analytics or accounting job or any job where you deal with numbers, be proficient in spreadsheets like Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. Apart from this, employers prefer applicants with working knowledge of Outlook and other Microsoft Office tools.

Social media

For marketing, branding and advertising, knowledge of social media is a crucial computer skill because it helps in growing an organisation's online presence. To distinguish yourself, it is essential to show how you leverage your social media skills. For example, if you are a branding specialist, you may have increased the followers of your organisation through a single innovative branding campaign. Also, showcase your proficiency on different social media tools.

Graphic design

Creating visually pleasing designs for professional documents, presentation and posters is essential in many job roles. From editing videos to editing photos for an international marketing campaign, graphic design is one of the most sought-after computer skills. Knowledge of different graphic design software makes you the best fit applicant for the job.

Presentation software

Presentation is an essential soft and computer skill because it helps in presenting ideas both internally and externally. From a financial analyst to a writer, knowledge of presentation software is essential to excel at your workplace. One of the most commonly used presentation software across industries is Microsoft PowerPoint.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Computer programming

From creating computer software to maintain and testing it, computer programming is an essential technical and computer skill. These skills come in handy when applying for the role of programmer, software developer, software tester and software architect, among others. Computer programming is a valuable skill when applying for a technical writer role because if you can code, you communicate better with the development and research team. Some widely used computer programming skills are HTML, Java, PHP, C++, C#, Automation software, XML and Unix.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication and collaboration tools

With many companies switching to work from home culture, one tool that has been constant support is the communication and collaboration tool. This can include video calling, chatting or document sharing with team members. If relevant to the job you are applying for, list all the communication and collaboration tools you know how to use. However, review the job description to understand whether to include or skip this computer skill.

How To List Your Computer Skills On Your CV

There are various locations on your CV where you can list all the relevant computer skills.

1. In your profile summary

Your profile summary is the first thing that captures the attention of a hiring manager. Mentioning computer skills relevant to the job description makes you a better applicant than others.

For example,

Developer with 8 years of coding experience in Java. Possesses excellent knowledge and has experience using different operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Linux.

2. In your skills section

Use the skills section to highlight all relevant computer skills you possess, including those in the job description.

For example, when applying for a writer's or editor's role, you can mention these skills.

Technical skills: G suite, Microsoft Office, CMS, SEO and Touch-typing

3. In the employment history section

Mention some essential computer skills in your employment history section separately for every previous employer. For example,

ABC Ltd. |Senior technical writer (January 2020–January 2021)

  • Responsible for creating a technical document based on the client's SOP

  • Worked with stakeholders to provide editing of technical documents

  • Created online tutorials using CMS for a variety of software products

  • Worked with two graphic design software for creating high-quality graphics

Related: What is a CV?

Ways To List Computer Skills Based On The proficiency Level

Here are three ways to list your computer skills based on your proficiency level:

Beginner level

Beginner computer skills entail basic knowledge of using computers, productivity tools and emails. Here are a few examples for listing beginner computer skills on your CV:

  • Wrote and edited a technical document using Microsoft Word

  • Created a basic inventory list in Microsoft Excel

  • Posses typing speed of 45 words per minute (wpm)

Intermediate level

Intermediate computer skills require in-depth knowledge of complex computer application and software. It could include knowledge of the operating system, graphic design tool and content management system. Here are a few examples for listing intermediate computer skills on your CV:

  • Created posters for online branding using graphic design software

  • Created and delivered marketing presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint

  • Edited and submitted over 50 content pieces per week using a content management system

  • Tracked and analysed the performance of social media campaigns

Advanced level

The advanced level involves knowledge of computer software to the full extent. This may include using macros or pivot tables in Microsoft Excel or knowledge of a coding language. Here are a few examples for listing advanced computer skills on your CV:

  • Created a mobile application used for tracking deliveries using Java

  • Created macros for inventory listing of products

  • Used and applied the commenting feature of Microsoft Word to finalise a document involving stakeholders from five different teams

Related: How To Write A Computer Engineering Resume (With Example)

Tip To Highlight Computer Skills On Your CV

Follow these tips to highlight your computer proficiency on your CV:

  • List name of software. Remember to list the name of the software you are confidently using. It tells the hiring manager you are a skilled applicant and makes your CV stand out.

  • Have a separate skill section. Highlight your hardware and software skills in a separate section. This helps the application tracker system (ATS) filter out potential applicants for the job.

  • Add skills relevant to the job description. If the job description focuses on one or two must-have computer skills, emphasise your expertise on those skills. Do not unnecessarily add skills to your CV.

  • Use action verbs. When mentioning your computer skills, start each sentence with an action verb. These verbs provide instant information and make it easier for the hiring manager to understand your skill.

  • Describe your proficiency level. Define your expertise level in the software. For example, if you know how to use the pivot table in Excel, mention that you have advanced Microsoft Excel skills.


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