Now that most computer systems are interactive, either via terminals to mainframes or minicomputers, or using desktop microcomputers; the majority of people who come into direct contact with computers do so as computer users of the system. However, most computer users are not computer professionals. They may have had a short course in computer or terminal operation, but the majority of them have no formal training at all. Those that undergo formal training in computer field are referred to as computer professionals.
This article outlines some types of work which involve the use of a computer in some ways.
Read also: Computer Professionals.
Many managers now have desktop computers, laptops or terminals. They use them to access information, particularly financial information, and often use spreadsheet programs to carry out financial calculations. They also use various graphics packages to display information in various ways. Some executive systems now have capabilities for the display of electronic mail, internal memoranda and taxes on the computer screen. Managers generally require computer systems with very Simple user interfaces.
The first computer users are secretarial users. The word processor is rapidly replacing the typewriter as an essential tool for every secretary. A great variety of word processors are now available, and most of them are microprocessor-based, some stand alone, while others are linked to central processors and may be capable of other tasks. Most secretaries find word processors easy to operate and more interesting than typewriters. Some word processing companies offer training courses for secretaries who are to use their equipment.
A great number of clerical jobs are now done with the aid of interactive computer systems. These include airline and other travel reservations, reception work at hotels, booking theatre tickets and other similar jobs. Also in this category are supermarket till operators who are using cash terminals to an increased extent.
In each case, the clerk enters data into the computer or terminal, which then processes the transaction and provides some output. Most of these jobs can be done with minimum training, as the systems are generally easy to operate, and contain several built-in checking mechanisms.
In factories that are switching to computerised production methods, the work involved varied considerably, depending on the complexity of the equipment. Some computerised production systems are very simple and rather monotonous to operate, while others are very sophisticated and require intensive training courses for the people who are to operate them. In general, the work is rather different from traditional factory work. it involves the control of machinery that will produce the goods, rather than people carrying out the various production steps directly.
Other computer users:
The four types of computer users described above are by no means the only ones. Others who are beginning to use the computers to some extent include doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants and students who make up the largest user group of all.