The Importance of Computer Skills for Students

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A survey in 2012 of The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more than half of jobs required some kind of technology skills and that number is estimated to reach 77 percent by 2020 (Mason, 2017). Since computer skills are favored by the development of the times, for many students, nowadays, to apply for jobs, they need to be equipped with computer abilities besides their English skills. Especially, the graduate student unemployment rate is quite high when they are not fully equipped with skills, especially computer skills and the lack of these abilities is a concerned problem in many universities. To avoid these situations, incorporating computer skills into the curriculum of non-IT students especially English major students is necessary and these students need to focus on enhancing these essential skills or also known as computer skills. Saving time for studying and working, advancing learning process in English and having a better chance of finding a future job are the three main advantages of owning computer skills for English major students that this review will discuss. In addition, this review also includes quantitative method for research design, stratified random sample and questionnaire for gathering information.

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The need to enhance students’ computer skills has been addressed and concerned by many researchers and in reality. However, a lot of college students, especially English Major students, still lack of basic computer knowledge and simple skills which are really necessary in their whole education process. To English language learning students, computer is considered a major useful tool as it helps them a lot in different fields, from vocabulary to the four main skills and even with researching purposes. In reality, many do not really focus on developing computer skills or sometimes focus too much on their specialties and some struggle to be above average in computer classes. This condition continuously occurs in many universities, especially Open University even though every major and subject require and provide a decent level of computer skills. If you are studying in a university, missing computer skills can be a huge problem since first of all, it is an obstacle to your usual school assignments. Secondly, having low level in computer usage limits the students’ chances to land in a well-paid job or even a dream job in the future. Employers always ask for specialized knowledge and experience but as the same time, they also ask for basic skills, especially language skills and more importantly, computer skills. This issue can lead to many disadvantages and limitations including time wasting, falling behind in schoolwork and the lack of skills variety which an employer usually looks for. Therefore, the demand to acknowledge the lack of computer skills and enhance them in university environment is undeniably important. More specifically, the following research questions need to be addressed:

  1. How can improving computer skills help Open University’s English Major students in learning specialized subjects?
  2. What can high level computer skills help students in the future job market?

The purpose of the study is to examine the benefits of good computer skills to English Major Students and their applications to English specialized subjects. Particularly, the study has the following sub-objectives:

  1. To show the advantages and the importance of computer skills in learning specialized subjects
  2. To show the long-term effects of having good computer skills in future employment


The study could provide many benefits of using computer in learning and working. The study points out how English Major students in universities can save time, do better in schoolwork or assignments and gain higher opportunities to land in a dream job. Also, the study will give a review on the frequency of using computer and the level of computer skills of most English Major students. What this study accomplishes will be beneficial to many universities since it enhances the computer knowledge and awareness of the School Administrations, the parents and most importantly, the English students. Therefore, they can be equipped with more computer courses and advanced classes in the process of studying. Moreover, the study itself will give the employers a better, wider look on the current situation of the majority of English students and what they need to adjust in their job requirements and training sessions. To the future researchers on similar topics, the study can be useful as it gives out basic information about computer skills in the university environment.

A lot of research has been done to understand the true benefits of using computers in the learning process of college students. However, the individuals serving in this review are English Major students. The lack of computer skills is a problem in many universities. The continuous growing of information technology and globalization comes with greater demands for students to master some computer skills for their own benefits in an English environment. The need to be better and be able to compete with other students in the same English field has motivated the needs to enhance their computer skills. This review will only focus on the benefits of good computer skills to English Major students and why they should enhance and utilize these abilities into their specialized subjects. The review will discuss three main advantages of owning computer skills which include: saving time in working and researching, getting better at the specialized subjects and having a better chance in the future job market. Despite representing these ideas in a variety of contexts, this paper will mainly focus on their application to English specialized subjects.

The first and most important reason to enhance computer kills is learning process can be improved for students, especially English major students. According to Richards (2013), having word processing and typing is essential to students as they are asked by many professors to do the assignments or make presentations. In addition, Richards also stated that word processing programs could give a variety of helpful features to students in expected courses. This is supported by Wash (2013) who pointed out that school work and exercises that are most vital to students, Office not just enable thems to stay organized and complete their work today but in the same time creat abilities that will be required when they enter the labor force. As supported by Gecawich (2017), as long as students are agreeable and make sure to use Word, Excel and Power Point, they will be prepared for all the deliverable writing, spreadsheet. Similarly, Green (2005) also proved that students can improve their vocabulary skills and understanding thanks to the help of computers along with the software. All of these authors, with their statements, clearly demonstrated that computer skills is really indispensable for English major students and contributes a great deal to make learning English process become better.

Another advantage of acquiring computer skills is the greater opportunity to acquire jobs. According to Jakubowski (2015), adults who do not have computer practice or those who fall short on simple ICT tasks when dealing problems in a demanding technology environment tend to be unwaged or out of the labor market. As supported by Mason (2017), competency in Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are attractive abilities among new contracts and can be significant for current workers to progress. Patterson (2013) also noted that in addition to computer-related skills, one also obtained critical thinking skills, which is considered to be even more valuable. He insists that those who can master both will be able to make a greater impact than those who cannot in every profession.

With computer skills at hand, it is easier and faster in work or study. Firstly, with the computer skills, it would be less time consuming when searching for information online. Jones (2013) acknowledge that traditional obstacles when looking for information have been eliminated thanks to the technology, specifically the free accessibility to the internet, in all the modern countries as well as the progressively developing countries. In addition, with the help of computer skills, studying other language can be much easier, instead of using the paper dictionary, we can use dictionary software. Lestoc (2018) confirmed that the software enable users learning new things every day with its daily refreshed content which encompasses these: Word of the Day, The Day in History, Idiom of the Day, Quote of the Day, and much more. There is also a 2011 study stated that many educators have lately acknowledged that computer is a mean of language learning. It has been proved that using computers for language learning is not only captivating but also motivating and positive for many language teachers and learners (Ghasemi, Hashemi & Bardine, 2011, p. 58-62).

Computer skills are definitely needed for English Major students to make themselves better both in their specialized courses and in the competitive job market. It is clear from the literature review in this report that computer skills can gain students some great tools and benefits. Having good computer skills help students save a lot of time for other activities since they no longer have to sketch everything out on pieces of paper. Being able to utilize computer skills and learn from them to improve English abilities is another bonus. Moreover, greater computer skills come with greater opportunities in the job market in the future. However, more research and study are needed to be conducted to earn a better and clearer understanding of what computer skills can bring to college students.

The following section will clearly define and explain the research methods used to conduct the study. Firstly, the section will present the specific setting and participants that are chosen to take part in this research. The section also demonstrates the research design used and how effective it is throughout this study. Finally, an instrument – or a data collection technique – will be presented and used to collect and analize necessary information related to the main topic.

This study will take place at the Nguyen Kiem branch of Ho Chi Minh City Open University (OU) during the 3rd semester of 2018. This branch is the main study location for the students of OU’s Faculty of Foreign Language. The English Major is further divided into different Minors: Education, Commerce, Translation and Interpretation. Usually, the typical curriculum lasts for 4 years. Also, students are required to study another language of their choice and a TOEFL/IELTS certificate to graduate (“English Training Curriculum”, n.d.)

Participants will be a stratified random sample of 120 students. The students will be divided into 4 groups according to their current academic level at OU’s Faculty of Foreign Language: freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Then, the study will randomly survey 30 freshmen, 30 sophomores, 30 juniors and 30 seniors. Those students are people who want to simplify English for learning. Member of every group may be of students who love technology as computer. The students with unreliable survey will be got rid of the study to ensure the objectives.

The research design of this study outlines the basic approach that used to answer the research question. To meet the requement, it is crucial that correct design is chosen in other to satisfy the original goal. The quantitative approach is selected as an appropriate research method because the necessary improvement of computer skills among OU’s students and their specialized subject (Hopkins, 2008). Quantitative research uses tests causality with optimal variable control and independent variable manipulated through classic experiment by a detailed method of data collection and analysis. The classic experimental designs is ultized in this study. The models which are suitable for various kinds of biological data – continuous and categorical predictor, continuous and categorical response variables or independent variables are described (Quinn & Keough, 2002). It is promised that the research would have details of the current level of computer expertise and attitude toward learning computer skills.

A research instrument is a tool that researchers use to gather information and data to answer a research question (Eng, 2013). There are many effective research instruments in use but the tool that will be used in this review is questionnaire. A questionnaire, which is considered a written interview, consists of a series of questions made to collect information or ideas from the participants on specific topics. In fact, questionnaire can provide an inexpensive, fast and effective way to collect a great amount of data from a great sample of people (McLeod, 2018). Therefore, based on the literature review, the questionnaire will be created to gather all the information needed, such as the current state of using computers of college students, the students’ thoughts on studying computer and the computer-related problems most of them face.

The section has given the readers a look at the research methodology used in this research. The reasons why the researchers use this method and the effectiveness of it were clealy stated. In short, this research will take place at the Nguyen Kiem branch of Open University with English Major students as participants. Quantitative approach along with experimental method are selected and stratified random sampling is considered suitable for this study. In addition, a questionnaire is used to gather relevant ideas and information to achieve the research objectives and further goals.

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