Digital skills are “a range of abilities to use digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information. They enable people to create and share digital content, communicate and collaborate, and solve problems for effective and creative self-fulfillment in life, learning, work, and social activities at large” (Digital skills critical for jobs and social inclusion, UNESCO.org).
Aside from the technical know-how needed to operate devices, it extends to the soft skills needed to effectively communicate, create connections, solve problems and facilitate learning using digital means. These analytical and collaborative skills contribute to making work not only faster and more efficient but more meaningful as well. Having these skills will make you a sought-after professional in any field.
8 digital skills in-demand in the workplace:
Fluency in choosing and using the right devices and software
This means being able to work with the same level of efficiency when using a desktop computer or a laptop, tablet, mobile device, or any other tool to fulfill a task or serve a customer (and to shift between them easily). This also includes the ability to use the right software to create faster and better outcomes.
Curation and research skills
This is the ability to find, assess and verify reliable, accurate and usable data. It is also weeding out fake, misleading or false information. It involves knowing how to navigate search engines efficiently, understanding online content and having critical thinking skills to evaluate information. (Read: Be media smart! Assessing online information in 5 steps)
This is the ability to create materials that are appropriate for the office or online use. This skill requires an understanding of how audiences receive and use information and the types of materials they consume. It includes being able to create Powerpoint presentations, flyers, reports, posters and others. It also means knowing how to package information in manageable chunks, making use of hyperlinks and multimedia, producing and editing infographics, video, and audio and being able to post them in the appropriate platforms, among others.
Understanding how data is ethically used and shared
Understanding how materials available online can be used properly without stealing or committing plagiarism is an essential skill. This includes being well-versed about Open Educational Resources, copyright laws, and licensing systems or movements (for example, Creative Commons and other licensing systems).
This means knowing the characteristics of a reliable website and the practice of safe online habits such as using appropriate passwords, keeping information private, being aware of cybercrime trends, using an anti-virus, proper file sharing, and others.
Understanding digital collaboration
Do you know how to share and contribute ideas using Google docs, Skype or social media tools like Twitter and Facebook with others? Nowadays, teams can develop projects remotely through open platforms that have tools that allow each member to create, revise, comment and edit simultaneously.
Social media skills
Social media platforms are now an integral part of building a business. With more than 2.7 billion active social media users worldwide (and growing), they have become effective tools to promote products and services, build brand awareness and expand influence. Navigating social media has become a required skill for everyone. A strong online presence and personal brand can help you grow your professional network and make you attractive to potential employers.
Awareness of digital trends
With technology developing at an unbelievable rate, professionals who are up-to-date on digital trends avoid being run over by rapid change. Maintaining a curiosity for trends and developing the foresight to assess how these developments impact business will allow you to plan before change happens.
This seems like a tall order but if you think about it, we are already practicing most of these skills in our daily lives. The way to keep up is to be open to change and continue learning. This is an exciting time in our history, with information and communication technology growing by leaps and bounds. Are you ready to participate in the knowledge society?
Sources: What are digital skills? A comprehensive definition for modern organizations, Skillsoft; Digital skills critical for jobs and social inclusion, UNESCO; Digital skills that can make students instantly employable, Clodagh O’Brien; and 7 digital skills everyone should have, Sam Marshall, CMS Wire. Accessed October 28, 2019.
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