If you’re feeling stuck in your career or are having trouble landing a job, it might be time for a change. Learning digital skills can make you more employable and help you advance in your career. With the right skillset, you can land a high paying job in an in-demand technical field.
The best part is that anyone can acquire digital skills, no matter where you are in your career or what your age is. Thanks to cost-effective online education platforms, you can get the training you need in a short period of time to stand out from the crowd and get a lucrative position at a company that values your skills and experience.
What are Digital Skills and Why are They Important?
The term “digital skills” is broad. Essentially, it refers to skills that are needed for someone to use digital devices, networks, and applications to access information. They are important because most, if not all, of today’s workplaces operate using at least some digital systems.
Every industry, from agriculture to fintech and beyond, requires the use of digital skills to perform daily tasks and functions. These can range from basic digital skills, like sending an email, to advanced digital skills, such as developing AI for the healthcare field.
There are very few professions that do not require digital skills. A report from the European Commission shows that today’s farmers require digital skills just as much as professionals such as engineers, accountants, software developers, and lawyers.
The need for digital skills stems from the fact that most of the world has access to digital technologies. According to UNESCO, 95 percent of the world’s population by at least a 2G mobile network. The expansive growth of internet connectivity has allowed most of the global population to acquire digital skills in their daily lives. The assumption is that everyone who has access to the internet knows how to use it.
The expansion of telecommunications on a global scale also means that companies in every part of the world now have access to the internet. They can use digital technologies to improve processes, communicate more efficiently, and manage their companies more effectively.
The broad term digital skills can be broken down into two subcategories—basic digital skills and advanced digital skills.
Basic Digital Skills
For today’s youth, basic digital skills are going to be as essential as reading, writing, and math as they age and find their way into the workforce. Most Millennials and members of Generation Z already have basic digital skills, such as getting online, using a browser, securing passwords, sending emails, communicating via social media, and understanding how to access and identify reliable content. Some additional basic digital skills include knowing how to safely use the internet to solve problems and answer questions, and understanding best practices for storing and sharing data to avoid security or legal issues.
These skills might need to be acquired by someone from an older generation who didn’t grow up in today’s digital world. Fortunately, it is possible to learn these basic skills so that you can function effectively in today’s modern work environment.
Advanced Digital Skills
If you want to do more than just perform basic job functions, then you’ll need to master at least some advanced digital skills. These are skills that may require some additional training and education to attain. While some employers offer training, most expect candidates to have these skills or to learn them on their own.
Once you have acquired advanced digital skills, you will be a sought-after job candidate who can bring value to companies in a range of industries.
In the next section, we’ll identify some key advanced digital skills that can help you land a high paying job in a growing tech field.
Top 7 Important Digital Skills to Get Hired
We are in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The explosion of digital technologies has created new categories of professions and disrupted labor markets around the world.
Far from getting rid of jobs, the proliferation of digital technologies in every industry is creating new opportunities for talented workers who are eager to contribute to the global economy. Estimates from the World Economic Forum tell us that there will be 133 million new jobs created by the year 2022 as a result of the continued collaboration between humans and machines.
This is an exciting time to pursue a career in the tech field. Young professionals have a wide array of opportunities available to them, as long as they take advantage of the training available to help them get the advanced digital skills they will need to be successful.
Here are some of the top digital skills to learn if you want to land a high-paying, in-demand position. While you may end up finding a niche with one of these skills, you will likely need to acquire several of them in order to do your job effectively and have flexibility when you are job searching.
The internet has changed the marketing landscape significantly. Digital marketers are adept at understanding best practices for advertising online, including pay-per-click ads, social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). Many digital marketers specialize in one of these areas, although it’s also important to understand how to bring them all together to create a cohesive digital marketing strategy.
The future of digital marketing lies in mobile. Today, more people use their smartphones to interact and transact with brands than a laptop or desktop computer. This trend is expected to continue in the future, which will require companies to focus on their customers’ mobile experience more than their desktop experiences.
Understanding how to optimize websites and campaigns for mobile can help you stand out from the crowd. To succeed in mobile marketing, you will need to stay on top of the latest developments in mobile, including user experience and search. Having a deep understanding of user experience (UX) will be necessary for delivering an exceptional mobile experience.
User Experience (UX)
How you experience a website, either on a desktop or mobile device, defines your user experience. UX is the digital equivalent to the feeling a customer has when they walk into a brick-and-mortar store. Is it clear what the company offers? Is it easy to navigate and buy things? Do customers have an enjoyable experience when they visit, or are they in a rush to leave?
Understanding how to deliver an engaging experience to the end-user that aligns with your company’s goals and strategy will make you invaluable as a UX designer.
There is so much content on the internet today. We are bombarded with words every time we go online, including ads, website content, blog posts, articles, social media posts, emails, text messages, videos, infographics and images.
This graphic from SmartInsights shows what happens online every minute in 2020, compared with the previous three years.
As you can imagine, finding a way to stay relevant and get your voice heard on the internet is a challenge. That’s where content marketing comes in.
Content marketers focus on creating a brand’s voice and message. They develop a strategy that includes what type of content to create and which channels to use to get it out there. Most importantly, they understand how to write content that people will want to read. This includes understanding how to optimize content using the right keywords.
Data is only useful to companies if they understand how to manage it. Having someone who understands how to analyze data to identify patterns and track performance is critical for today’s data-driven companies. Data analytics also involves knowing what data to collect and track for specific campaigns to save companies resources, time, and money.
The days of social media for personal use only are long gone. Companies rely on social media for advertising and engagement. Social media marketing requires understanding how different social media platforms work and which ones to use for different campaigns.
This graphic from We are Social shows the importance of engaging with users via social media.
To be effective, social media marketers need to know how social media connects and builds relationships between customers, brands, and influencers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Companies in all industries are adopting AI to increase efficiency and performance. Contrary to science-fiction movies that depict AI as human-like machines, today’s AI applications are computer-based and rely on humans to learn. Humans teach machines how to do their jobs, make predictions, and make decisions based on previous experiences and examples. This discipline is called Data Science, and you could become one too!
Today’s AI comes in many forms. They include chatbots that can help customers solve their problems, software that can automate shipment tracking or appointment scheduling, and healthcare initiatives that can efficiently sort through patient information.
Knowing how to develop AI and how to implement it into a company to improve efficiency and lower costs is a sought-after skill set that can make you very attractive to high-paying employers.
How to Practice Digital Skills
Once you have acquired digital skills, you’ll want to practice them. It is one thing to understand the theory behind how to do something. It’s another thing entirely to actually be able to do it (and do it well).
Here are a few ways you can put your digital skills to work.
Offer Free Help
Use your network to find friends, family members, or small business owners who could benefit from your digital skills. Put together a short proposal of what you have to offer and how it will benefit them. Then, offer to implement your proposal at no cost. This will help you build a portfolio as you get some hands-on training and experience. Because you are not charging the client, they are in a no-risk situation and will be no worse off if your plan does not end up working for them.
Build Your Own Project
Create a pet project that allows you to practice what you have learned. If you want to pursue content marketing, for example, you can create a free website and start publishing content. Use SEO research to identify which keywords to target, then check in on your analytics to see how your blog posts or articles are performing.
This step can also help you build your portfolio so that you have something practical to show potential employers when they ask about your knowledge and experience.
Teach Someone Else
They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it. Offer to teach someone else what you have learned, whether it’s a friend, colleague, or family member, or another member of your community. This process can help you identify any gaps that you still have and gain confidence in your new skill.
Get Digital Skills and Get Hired
Are you ready to be a part of the next wave of the technology revolution? There’s no time like today to get started! It will take time and effort to get your first job, but it’s worth it!
There are plenty of educational opportunities available online that can help you get into a high-paying profession. You can choose from online degree programs, online courses, and courses with certifications, such as Coursera.
Certification courses offer flexibility, so you can learn your new skills when it is convenient for you. They also offer hands-on learning opportunities to ensure that you fully understand how to implement your new skills once the course is over. Best of all, they are often free or low-cost to join, making them the most affordable way to advance your skillset and land your first high-paying job in tech.