Computer Literacy in the 21st Century

ComputerLiteracy in the 21stCentury

Formany years, society has considered literary skills to be an importantaspect for success in school, work as well as life. Literacy, as weknow it today, is quite different from what our predecessors in theyesteryears considered to be literacy. In the past, literacy wasconfined to the knowledge of how to read and write and applying thereading and writing skills in school, work and other aspects of life(Epperson16).However, the 21st-centuryliteracy goes beyond knowing how to read and write alone. The periodfollowing the 19thcentury has seen the increased intensity and complexity oftechnology. The rapid growth and development of technology over thisperiod has led to changes in the society which in turn hascontributed to changes in literacy. The literate environment in the21stcentury is quite different from that in the past years since theenvironment now requires a literate individual to have a wide rangeof competencies, abilities and knowledge of two or more literacies.One type of literacy that has become important is computer literacy(Robinson11).The 21stcentury is an era of computers, where computing and digitaltechnology drive nearly all aspects of the society. Therefore,computer literacy has emerged as a very important and necessary formof literacy.

Fora person to be considered as literate in the 21stcentury, they have to show that they are proficient with thedifferent tools of technology. Computers have emerged as one of themost utilized tools of technology around the world across thedifferent sectors of the economy. This means that knowledge of how touse computers and related technologies greatly contributes to anindividual’s level of literacy. Apart from that, a literate personin the 21stcentury has to able to develop relationships people from diversecultural and social backgrounds in such a way that they can worktogether in confronting and tackling various social problems.Additionally, literate individuals in the current century have toexhibit the ability to create and share information with the globalcommunity (Robinson,34).Computers and the related technologies allow easy creation andsharing of information on the global platform. This alone shows howcomputer literacy is one of the important characteristics that a21st-centuryliterate person should exhibit.

Threedecades ago, the number of computers available to households was verylittle. Institutions of higher learning, research facilities as wellas the military were some of the institutions that utilizedcomputers. However, the 21stcentury has seen nearly every household having access to computers.Computers have become ubiquitous in the current century, being usedin various aspects of our daily lives such as shopping,communicating, booking flights and reservations as well assocializing (Selfe12).Individuals who lack the basic skills of computer technology are nowfinding it hard to go about their daily activities since mostservices and operations across many countries in the world are nowdigitalized. Therefore, Computer literacy has become very importantin the modern society.

Asdifferent sectors of the economy increase their utilization ofcomputers, it has become necessary for prospective employees to havebasic computer skills. In an environment where the levels ofunemployment have been on a steady rise, computer literacy gives morepeople an advantage of landing a job in most of the industries. Mostemployers know consider computer literacy as a basic requirement(Epperson163).Computer literacy does not only make one to be a desirable candidatefor most jobs, but also allows one to apply these skills in otherjobs that do not require one to work from an office. This means thatby being computer literate, one can find ways of working from home.Some of the most profitable businesses in the 21stcentury have something to do with a computer and digital information.This means that computer literacy allows people to come up withentrepreneurial ideas, which in turn allows them to earn a decentincome while employing many other people (Robinson84).

Moderncommunication heavily relies on computer networks. Computers havemade it possible for people in different geographical areas tocommunicate directly. The contemporary forms of communication madepossible by computer and digital technology include emails, videoconferencing video calls, instant messaging among other modes. Thesemethods of communication have become more popular since they areeasier to use and are much faster and efficient that traditionalmethods such as telegrams and letters (Robinson,44).Computer literacy has become necessary in the current environmentsince communication through the internet has become the norm in the21stcentury. Those who lack basic computer skills often find it difficultto communicate with friends, peers and family and mostly rely onother people with the necessary computer skills in order to keep intouch with their loved ones who are far away from them.

Computerliteracy has also become a necessity, especially in education andamong the younger generation. Most institutions of learning aroundthe globe are finding it more effective to incorporate computers andrelated technologies in the teaching process. Additionally, studentsare being introduced to computers at a relatively younger age giventhe important role that computers play in the modern society. Hoar(201) is of the view that it is necessary for all undergraduatestudents to be computer literate regardless of their discipline. Heargues that computer literacy allows for the development of arudimentary understanding of the theory and practice. Computers havefast grown to be the main source of news and entertainment. Peoplecan now access various services traditionally offered on TV onwebsites such as YouTube, Hulu as well as Netflix. Similarly, peoplecan now read newspapers online and stream news through the internet.Computers and the internet may eventually replace the traditionalsources of entertainment and news, meaning that those who arecomputer illiterate may be left out.

Computerand digital literacy has also emerged as an important aspect of whatmakes up a digital citizen. A digital citizen has the skills and isable to access and make use of the different public informationavailable in the digital format. Such information can easily bestored, accessed and retrieved. This means that that to be wellinformed about the government, its projects and plans, citizens arenow required to be computer literate. Another important point worthnoting is that computer literacy is directly linked to the ability toread and write and other types of literacy. Individuals who cannotread and write often find it difficult to utilize the computer.Similarly, since most information in the 21stcentury is presented in digital formats accessible through computers,lack of computer literacy means that an individual will find itdifficult to improve his cultural, health and economic literacy tomention but a few types of literacies.

Inconclusion, computer literacy in the 21stcentury is no longer an option, but a necessity. Lack of basiccomputer knowledge in the current century may give rise to numerousprofessional, education as well as social issues. All sectors of theeconomy are now utilizing computers and digital information, meaningthat possession of computer skills has become a basic requirement forpeople living in this century. Computer illiteracy may hold thoseconcerned back in terms of employment, entertainment as well ascommunication. Individuals who are computer illiterate may experiencedifficulties in finding jobs since most employers prefer candidateswho have basic knowledge of how to use the computer. Similarly,computer illiterate job seekers are often limited in terms of theability to network through social media in such a way that enablesthem to find new jobs and opportunities. The ability to find work forsuch individuals is also limited by the fact that even most jobapplications are done online. It is thus important for everyone toimprove their level of computer literacy due to the important rolethey play in the society and the potential that both computer anddigital technologies have for the future societies.


Epperson,Arlin. `Computer Literacy Revisited.`&nbspACMInroads&nbsp1.2(2010): 30. Web.

Hoar,Ricardo. `Generally Educated In The 21St Century.`&nbspProceedingsof the Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education – WCCCE`14&nbsp(2014):Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

Robinson,Helen Mele.&nbspEmergentComputer Literacy.New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Selfe,Cynthia L.&nbspTechnologyand Literacy in the 21St Century.Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999. Print.