Digital skills are those that are required to use communication application, digital devices, network to manage and access information. Over a decade, companies have digitized their processes and operations. They are now taking on artificial intelligence to streamline supply chains and workflows, resulting in demand for specialized skills to standout. Other than the creators of sci-fi movies or fantasy novels, did anyone predict fifty years earlier that how life will revolve around digital world and hand-held devices? Technology has integrated in everyday routine that the fantasy continual-connectivity future has become todays’ reality. Even now, digital skills are not that essential only for high skill jobs but the need is expanded across the full span of labor market. It ranges from call center workers to refined technology roles, also pretty surprising to know that these skills are crucial in both white and blue collar context. For instance, Microsoft excel is associated with finance and management roles, also crucial to HR and administrative positions. Meanwhile, the blue-collar roles like warehouse workers and forklift drivers need to be familiar with inventory management systems like SAP.
It’s alarming to know that
“There is going to be a global shortfall of skilled workers where millions of jobs are unfilled”
“Merely because of Digital Skills Gap”
The Coronavirus Pandemic has directed the significance of digital literacy. Millions of people are relying on technology while staying at home during lockdown. Obviously, it’s not just remote working calling for digital skills but in fact the digitization world is. The new technologies like cloud platforms, artificial intelligence, internet of things and data analytics accounts for adapting to change and developing new skills. It’s predicted that the world would face shortfall of skilled workers despite of jobs being unfilled. Simply there needs to be a change, but how? The answer is clearly to learn digital skills in order to adjust in digitized world.
Mind the Gap – Why are digital skills significant in 21st century?
Today, digital skills are considered simply as essential skills because they underpin how businesses, households and institutes work is conducted. Digital competency is the central of professional modern skillset. Burning Glass for Capital One, one of the US-study found that around 82% of middle-skill profession demands digital skills. The need is likely to accelerate as the digital realm is covering businesses. On a broader scale, the demand for digital skills will be exacerbated by fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. As a result, it will drive cross-system data exchange and automation with two magnitudes: greater value of advance digital skills and loss of roles due to automation. The World Economic Forum has estimated that by 2020, nearly 133 million new roles will be created as an effect of new division of labor between machines, human and algorithms. Moreover, the most in-demand and emerging skills would be app and web-enabled market, big data analytics and internet of things.
Due to current pandemic, people who relied on in-person interaction are now bounded to use digital technologies. Well, this won’t last forever but there are higher chances that this will leave a necessary matter to learn digital skills and could be deeply-ingrained in everyday functions.
How vast the digital skills gap is?
The digital skill gap has consequences for industry along with job seekers. According to European commission, in 2018 around 38% workplaces underwent negative outcomes as the reason was lack of digital skills more pronounced as high-skilled profession. The 2018 EY report suggested that companies lacked skills on areas of robotics, cyber security and AI. For those who are willing to develop and be well-equipped with digital skills, there are greater opportunities with 89% of companies aiming to invest in training to bridge skill gap. Deloitte report in US from the same year found that that around 2.4 million jobs will be unfilled from the year 2018 to 2028, causing a heavy economic potential impact. Australian employers are facing similar uphill battle, which the country is trying to address. Australia will have a shortage of 739,000 highly skilled workers by 2020. The study by Korn Ferry reveals that business leaders in Australia are misconstruing the value of technology in bridging the skills shortage. While machine learning and robotics will mechanize various functions, high skilled people will be required to enhance and manage automation.
Use the time to grow your digital skills
Regardless of what career you are choosing and what you are actually in, take a chance to improve and brush up your digital capability. How do you plan the development options?
Self-assess your needs:
Try to learn more about the change in working style such as:
- What is required to be most productive?
- Which aptitude, skills and preferences you never discovered in yourself?
- Which areas you need to develop?
- What extra skill learning can help you promote in your workplace?
These simple yet concise points can help you identify your own skill gap and how you can bridge these.
How do I learn digital skills?
While there are reports that indicate negative impact of lack of digital skills, it has not been pre-emptive in fixing this matter. The cost of training does matter, but it’s a grater impediment to let students gain these skills.. For employees as well as students who wonder how to upskill or enhance digital skills, the suite of free online course are available over the internet, removing the cost barrier for constituency. These sites have wide-ranging professional certification courses and diplomas to uplift digital skills. Few of the areas cover in digital skill courses are:
- Digital marketing: In this digital age, marketing game has changed giving a level of scale and precision. Specialized digital skills are essential to navigate this terrain, with practitioners concentrating on particular discipline. These includes things like search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing etc.
- Social media: Social media management requires digital skills vital for digital marketing mix that is worth pulling out because social media is a part of professional as well as day-to-day lives. It takes in new channel research, influencer marketing, performance measurement, brand voice/presence, organic vs paid and management tools; all play a part in linking with current and prospective users.
- User experience: The experience of using a mobile app or website is a fundamental key to leading users, generally letting them do what the app owner particularly wants them to. It is pretty central as website is used by users in predetermined ways. However, this digital skill is called as user experience. It is an art of creating digital channels, website, and apps that is intuitive to use.
- Web analytics: The element of precision distinct the digital age from before. Digital platform helps to determine behavior, for business it means to quantifiably track the failure and success of their digital initiative. The digital skillset used in making and collating sense of this data is called as web analytics. Things like audience segmentation, bench marking and measurement falls under this.
- AI: It has some science fiction along with digital skills. AI is all about teaching machine to do jobs make decision and predict on detailed computation. Automation think are improving efficiency by limiting manual work, with business process automation integrating in modern work place. Machine learning form big data to predict how people act or make strategic decisions in a given context is also a key.
All these signifies handful of advanced digital skills. Other few are data visualization, CRM software, search engine marketing web and app development.
The courses are considered to give digital skills on:
- PPC marketing
- Performance measurement
- Email marketing
- Mobile optimization
- Social media marketing
- Omni-channel marketing
- Improving customer experience with digital technologies
- Mobile design principles
- Web analytics
- Audience segmentation
- Learning how AI can change your business
Institutes that offers free digital skills training worldwide
Microsoft: Microsoft has launched global skills initiative to help 25 million people worldwide this year to learn digital skills through online courses for free. It has combined new and existing resources from GitHub and LinkedIn. It is grounded in three different activities which are:
- Data use to find out in-demand jobs along with skills required.
- Free access to learning courses in order to build the skills that job position demands.
- Low-cost certifications for skills courses in order to purse new jobs.
edX: It is a huge open online course platform that offers wide-ranging courses to worldwide student body. Students can access 2500+ online courses from 140 top-ranked institutes that can be useful to enhance skills, enter job market, change the field and explore new interest. The digital skill courses are free to learn where proper certification cost a small amount of money.
FutureLearn: It is an online education provider that offers massive open online courses from top UK universities and around the world. Most of the courses are free, also fully accredited and recognized for their authenticity.
LinkedIn Learning: This platform has free short courses, certification programs and external library of video tutorial accessed through Learnhub. It also offers on-demand courses to assist employees and students to prepare for professional certification exams. Here you can:
- easily access courses in tech, business and other disciplines
- create list of recommended courses
- watch at own pace
Attaining digital skills will indeed enhance your career prospects. Quite simply, in the not-too-distant future there are higher chances that non-manual roles will center on digital skills. While climbing the career ladder, requirement of digital skills become more pronounced particularly for those seeking promotions. It also helps to boost the career of those who hold the flexibility of freelance work. To add, the digitization of prevailing skillsets with creation of new digital skills is making remote work more possible than ever.
So, it’s pretty clear that technology will become even ingrained and intuitive in our educational institutes and workplace, and this leads to one imperative conclusion: the well-equipped we are to handle this technological change, the healthier is our adjustment to it.