The first thing that grabbed me when I started Working My Way Up The Music Industry™ was exactly how long was spent in front of a computer screen. You’ve got a release you need to market? Great, make an e-mail blast for it. Wondering how many tickets have been sold for that show you’ve been setting up? Best have a spreadsheet on the go. And don’t even think of trying to do any work out and about without a smartphone kept handy in your pocket.
Generally I like to think I can work my way around a computer. Most people of my generation can – thanks to growing up around technology, it’s a second nature. But home use and office use are naturally very different things, and as such here are my golden tips for what to brush up on:
Basic programming language – Everyone who had MySpace 1.0 knows their way around some HTML. And really, you don’t need to know a lot. When your boss asks you to create a cool-looking email to send to an artist’s mailing list, a little HTML (or CSS) knowledge will go a long way. Which brings me to my next point…
Photoshop – The reason I know how useful of a skill this can be is because it’s one I don’t currently possess. In most businesses, you’ll find an expert on this sort of thing, but let’s say you want to go indie and do things your own way. Photoshop knowledge can stop you outsourcing your design needs, which saves time and money. I’m going to take a class in it. You should too.
Microsoft Office and everything that comes with it – There’s a chance you’ll be working on a Mac, but even so, most of the time you’ll be using Microsoft Office programmes. Word is easy enough to master, Excel is vital in your day-to-day proceedings and Outlook will be your best friend. Familiarise yourself with them and learn the short cuts, you may end up looking silly if you don’t.
The Internet - Do I even need to put this one? Probably not. Regardless, learn the ins and outs of what you’ll most likely be using every day. Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Last.fm and Tumblr are all a given. Make accounts on web-based email platforms (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) and see how they operate. Do the same with different browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) as you never know which one you might be using. Lastly, while you might be using the internet every day, you don’t want to be get distracted by it. Set up something like LeechBlock for Firefox or Concentrate for Chrome/Safari to block potentially time-wasting sites.
With a solid computer knowledge base you’ll not only be more employable – in every field – you’ll be able to get on and go ahead with the majority of tasks you’re set without asking any questions. Happy interning!