There are many ways to learn about computers. Taking courses at a local college or vocational school provides students with in-depth instruction and physical access to the teacher. Some students prefer to learn through self-paced courses on videos or DVDs, while other learners brush up on skills using online tutorials. The appropriate computer and software dictates the effectiveness of computer-based training for each individual. A high-speed connection can also make the difference between total frustration and mastering the subject.

Hardware

All physical components of a computer are known as hardware. Any study of computer hardware includes learning about the hard drive, memory, monitor, speakers, printers and available plug-ins. It is important to know even the most basic hardware components so you can troubleshoot problems on your computer, such as why a document did not print or what to do if the mouse or keyboard aren't working. Some students are interested in more advanced diagnosis, including how to install memory, change out a hard drive, attach a projector to a computer or even build their own computer.

Software

Software is the programs used on a computer. Many software programs such as Microsoft Office and Mac applications and Internet search engines like Internet Explorer utilize online help to guide a user when specific questions arise. Learning how to fully navigate your computer's operating system and understanding the necessary component of security software allow you to tap your computer's full power while reducing external threats to your system and data.

Network

Colleges, businesses and even homes use a network to link two or more computers. The ability to share files, connect to the Internet from more than one computer and print to a common printer, all in one location, are features of a network. In a sense, emailing to someone in a different physical location utilizes a worldwide networking scheme. Unless you are interested only in networking a few computers in your home, obtaining a certificate or college degree is necessary for any type of job in this field.

Telecommunications

Using computer technology to communicate in the 21st century is a given. Whether communicating online or via smartphone, people use computers all the time to touch base with other people. Telecommunications links people worldwide using electronic transmissions such as voice, text, images and video. Online and college training are available if you are interested in working on the components of telecommunication systems, including fiber optic cables, microwaves and radio waves.