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What is a Computer Trainer?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A computer trainer is an instructor who specializes in teaching others about computer hardware and software and how they complement each other. He is generally expected to explain how computers work in easily understood terms. A competent computer trainer is normally required to impart his students with enough knowledge about computers to comfortably use them for personal and light business applications.

A person in this position may work for a large or small college, school or university. He may also be hired by a company or organization to work in-house to train employees in systems and software used in the firm’s daily business operations. Regardless of the environment, his students traditionally gather in a lab environment where each has a computer to help them learn through hands-on experience.

The hardware education provided by a computer trainer generally focuses on the most basic features of a computer and how to use them. This normally includes instruction on the use of the mouse, keyboard, monitor, audio speakers and disk drives. The teaching may also cover the operation of peripherals, such as printers or scanners.

Software training is normally more challenging for the teacher since it requires educating students on intangible concepts and applications used to create documents, spreadsheets and graphics. He is frequently required to give individual instruction to some students who are totally unfamiliar with computers. His ability to communicate complex techniques in simple, easily understandable terms is often crucial to his success.

Besides hardware and software education, a computer trainer normally teaches his students the best ways to use the Internet. He generally explains the concept of browsers and warns them about the invasion of viruses, worms and spyware. A computer trainer is also ordinarily expected to teach his students how to defend their systems against costly and troublesome internal problems though the installation of firewalls and defensive software programs.

During the course of teaching, a computer trainer traditionally quizzes his students periodically to assess their level and rate of comprehension. He may use traditional hard copy testing methods, but generally incorporates hardware and software exercises into the examinations. He often asks the more advanced students to advise the others on good ways to master concepts and applications with which they are having problems.

To obtain a position as a computer trainer ordinarily requires a bachelor’s degree in computer technology. If he is required to teach high-level courses, he may require additional certifications offered by certain hardware manufactures and software companies. If the job is at an educational institution, local or regional licenses may be necessary as well.

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Discussion Comments

By allenJo — On May 08, 2011

@Charred - There’s a Microsoft Certified Professional training certification that you have to get. From what I understand the test is fairly easy. They have other certifications for other professionals like developers, systems analysts and so forth but the MCP is the easiest to get and the best place to start.

By Charred — On May 06, 2011

Does anyone know much about the qualifications for Microsoft training?

By NathanG — On May 06, 2011

@everetra - Yeah, I had to do some computer instruction at one of my jobs too. The important thing is to get to know the software inside and out. That only happens when you become a user yourself. Ironically, I learned more about the product when doing the training than I did when preparing for the lessons. The training, and the questions you get, force you to think about real-life situations. It also makes you push the product to the limit. Your students eventually know some tips and tricks that show you how to get the most out of the software.

By everetra — On May 03, 2011

I had to do some computer instruction for a job I had once. I traveled to Colorado and trained some engineers on how to use our software. I guess the scariest part of the experience is that I was fairly new to the software myself and I wasn’t an engineer. So I prepared an outline of what I would discuss and did an okay demo of the product.

Things get hairy when students start asking a whole bunch of “what if” questions, especially when they’re engineering related. I told them that our product could most certainly do the things they were asking about, but I couldn’t always get into detail. I had a friend with me who saved me a few times when I couldn’t answer the tough questions.

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