It is an exciting time in manufacturing right now. Job opportunities have been steadily on the rise in the U.S. and the market has never been better for entering the manufacturing industry. While the skills necessary to work in manufacturing vary by function, one thing is for certain: As manufacturing facilities become more automated, the need for employees with computer skills is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
As a staffing firm, we help many manufacturing facilities find candidates for a range of positions, from entry level to management. Some entry-level positions, such as production worker or material handler, require very basic skills. As workers gain more on-the-job knowledge, it is typical to want to move into a different role, which is where computer skills can set you apart.
Who needs computer skills and in what applications?
If you review job postings, you will see exactly what computer skills are needed and why.
- Tool and die makers: CAD software and other computer programs that enable them to design and create tools and diecasts.
- Quality control: a wide variety of quality control software packages are used to help manufacturers identify trends and meet various compliance requirements.
- Shipping and receiving: MS Office, Excel, and shipping-related software are used to track and shipping and receiving functions.
- Production manager: data entry skills needed to enter production data.
- Inventory control: perform cycle counts and enter into an inventory management software such as SAGE, Visual ERP, and more.
These are just some examples of the types of computer skills and software program knowledge one might need. If you are looking to move within your existing company, check with your manager to find out what specific software is used in your desired position. If you are applying for a position with a new company, ask your staffing representative what is required.
How do you gain computer skills?
If you are lacking computer skills, don’t fear. There are a number of ways you can gain them.
- Adult education. Check in with your local town, city, or library to see if they offer adult education classes in computer applications.
- Online classes. You can take a number of online classes in Microsoft Excel, CAD design, and other programs from online sites like com, Lynda.com, and Udemy.com.
- On-the-job training. Inquire with your manager or with your HR department to see if they offer training, if they are willing to pay for training, or if they would allow you to job shadow so you can learn the software needed for the role you desire.
- Demonstrate your ability to learn quickly. A positive attitude and a willingness to learn are sometimes more important than having the requisite computer skills, so if you are a go-getter who can pick up new skills quickly, demonstrate that by providing references who can speak to your abilities or give examples during your interview about how you took on a new task and mastered it in no time.
There are very few jobs in manufacturing that don’t require some use of a computer, and most of those jobs are lower level or entry-level types of positions. To get ahead, you’ll need to demonstrate you have the computer skills necessary to complete the job. Interested in moving into a new manufacturing position or finding out what skills you’ll need to join the industry? Give us a call!