Use the Tools You Have: Professional Skills You Can Learn On a Macbook

Want to learn more skills in the new year? Good. But before you range far or spend much to get new tools, books, or other equipment for learning, consider what you have right in front of you.

If you’re an Apple computer user (Macbook, Mac, iPhone, or iPad), you probably have free, open access to Apple’s suite of default applications. Used right, each of these can give you everything you need to learn some powerful creative skills.

The key? Play around. Instead of reading about all of these skills, start messy trial/sample projects that you aren’t afraid to screw up.

Want to learn how to edit music or podcasts in post-production? It’s dead simple to get access to many finer points of audio editing through the GarageBand app. Just record a stitch of audio and play around with it in GarageBand. Then graduate on to layering audio.

Want to learn how to edit and post-produce videos and movies? iMovie may be simple, but it can do a lot of the most important parts of video editing. Try clipping video and layering on audio tracks.

Want to learn how to write? This one’s pretty obvious, but with Pages and Notes you have two good tools to jot down ideas and turn them into coherent paragraphs, essays, chapters, posts, and even books.

Want to learn better design? Play around with tools like Keynote (for presentations) as well as Preview. As limited as these tools are, they’ll do many of the core things you need to do to manipulate files into good designs. Once you get the basics, you can get finesse elsewhere.

Want to learn how to edit photos? Not only can iPads and iPhones give you great cameras, but they can also give you a start at photo editing software with Photos. The tool is basic but can show you much of the basic concepts of what you might graduate to with an Adobe Photoshop or other dedicated editing software.

Want to learn how to better manipulate computers? With the Terminal command-line interface app (and a good guide to command line commands) you can be off to the races with simple commands in no time. My favorite simple command? Type say hello or say INSERT_WORD_HERE into your Terminal and have your volume on. Your computer will talk back to you.

What I love about all of these apps is that they enable computer owners to go from being mere consumers to being producers also. This isn’t a unique observation – Apple built their businesses’s uniqueness on the back of this creative focus. But if you haven’t gotten on board, it’s as good a time as any. Become a maker. You already have the tools.

Sources cited: Thanks to’s list of default Mac apps

Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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