Technology 101

New York City’s excitement over the local tech scene, dubbed Silicon Alley after California’s Silicon Valley, might have you questioning whether your own computer skills are up-to-speed. Although programming code to create an app is an easy feat to some, sending an email through Yahoo! is a daunting task for many.

Luckily, New York City is full of courses and tutoring related to technology, whether you’re a master at HTML coding or unsure of how to hold a mouse. Here’s our list of resources for novices looking to get in the loop and experts wanting to learn or improve specialized skills.

3rd Ward's Circuit Bending class explores sound and its path from its source to your ears. Students get hands-on experience in bending and creating sound. Photo by Liz Clayman.

3rd Ward
195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn
$100-$795 per session

Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward is known for its work spaces such as the Wood Shop, where carpenters can build furniture and design sets, the Metal Shop, which lets fabricators, set designers and sculptors build machinery, the Photo Studio, where photographers can organize and execute their own shoots, and the Jewelry Shop, where jewelry makers can create pieces through silver-smithing, stone-setting, enameling, and photo-etching. The organization also offers an array of classes, including technology classes for novices or experts in digital design, audio/visual multimedia, circuits and web design. Members receive discounts on classes. Technology classes explore the fundamentals of graphic designing, how to create apps for the iPhone and iPad and information architecture using Omnigraffle Pro, which lets users create sites and plug-ins, among other things.


NYC Department of Education Career and Technology Education
Various Locations

The New York City Department of Education offers career and technology courses as part of the Office of Adult and Continuing Education, which consists of more than 900 courses in Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency (GED), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Career and Technology Education. The free Career and Technology Education program instructs approximately 2,800 students with disabilities from ages 14 to 21 in automotive technology, information technology, Arts and Communication, Building and Construction Technology, among other things, across the five boroughs. The focus of the program is to prepare students for life after graduation with job training and a supportive network of mentors.

The free Adult Basic Education courses for those with or without a high school degree cover everything from Microsoft Word certification to web page design. See a list of course locations, here and the full range of courses for adults in Career and Technology Education, here.

Design for non-designers gave students an opportunity to be creative with post-its. All classes offered by Brooklyn Brainery are suggested by the public. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brainery.

515 Court Street, Brooklyn
About $30 for several sessions

This conglomerate of quirky courses suggested by the public offers opportunities to improve your Karaoke skills, learn to cook with bizarre spices and use video production tools on your phone! Classes are taught by New York City residents with a passion for the subject. From academic lectures to cooking experiments, the Brooklyn Brainery has something for everyone. Technology enthusiasts should look out for upcoming events, and be sure to suggest courses of interest.


General Assembly
902 Broadway, New York, NY
$30-$100 per session

At General Assembly, members utilize the 20,000 square-foot-campus for a base of operations or a place to meet other members of New York City’s technology population. The facility is also committed to educating New Yorkers in technology, design, and entrepreneurship, with classes ranging from fundamental beginner’s courses that let students dabble in programming, to advanced business courses on how startups can leverage University patents, and such useful skills as creating a brand logo with Adobe After Effects. The center holds events, such as lectures on how to improve education, workshops on what every entrepreneur should know, and meetups for technology startups. General Assembly’s weekly blog series Assembled Basics introduces a different technical term or concept every Friday.

Mediabistro's live conference Socialize Toronto 2012, where attendees learn how to use social media to make their businesses profitable. Photo courtesy of Flickr/mediabistro.

475 Park Avenue South, New York, NY
$250-$610 for 1-12 sessions; $1,500 for certificate programs





This source for professionals in content and creative industries offers online or on-site (New York, Los Angeles, or Berlin) courses and seminars in creating web pages with Adobe Dreamweaver, HTML, and CSS (cascading style sheets), writing and editing for specific industries (even directors Quentin Tarantino and Baz Luhrmann have taken their film industry courses). Are you looking to break into social media and better understand it? There’s a course for that. Need to master photo editing ASAP? There’s a course for that, too. Mediabistro’s certificate programs include  copywriting, public relations and digital marketing, worth $1,500 each and consisting of six courses, are available on demand.


Hudson Guild
119 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY

The Hudson Guild is a community center for the Chelsea residents.  Its Fulton Center provides enrichment opportunities for senior citizens to learn to find creative outlets in art, ballet, opera, creative writing, tai chi, and to learn the basics of computing. In the beginner’s course, which takes place on Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to noon, students learn how to turn on a computer, use a mouse and surf the Internet. Intermediate courses focus on more specialized computer functions, for example Microsoft Word, Excel and social media. These classes take place on Wednesdays at 1 p.m.. The center also offers a meal program for its 180 daily breakfast visitors.


Volunteers at the New York Irish Center teach seniors the basics of operating a computer. Photo by Niall McCue.

New York Irish Center
10-40 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY

This nonprofit organization helps Irish immigrants acclimate to New York City and provides Irish-Americans with a space to congregate with friends and neighbors. The facility offers a social lunch club for seniors, Irish Language classes (kids class coming soon), Irish dance classes, music lessons, and free computer tutorials for seniors that take place every Saturday morning. The classes are taught by volunteers and touch upon the basics of computer functions, such as turning on the system and using a mouse to navigate.


New York Public Library
Various Locations

The New York Public Library offers computer classes to individuals of all ages and all different skill levels. These technology courses are free and are offered in NYPL locations in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Classes include demonstrations on how to use your Kindle and creating presentations with Microsoft Power Point, how to access the Internet, and one-on-one tutoring sessions with adults over 50 about how to use a mouse, format a resume, set up an email address, and use Microsoft Office, among other basic functions.  Abby Stokes, author of “Is This Thing On?,” also teaches one-on-one social media or spoken presentation classes for seniors at 30 New York Public Library sites. Classes are also available at the Queens Borough Library.


For more technology news, watch “MetroFocus: The Tech Economy,” airing on THIRTEEN on June 30 at 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and July 12 at 8:30 p.m.; on WLIW at 5:30 a.m. on June 30; on NJTV on July 1 at 5:30 a.m. and July 2 at 4:30 a.m.


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