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There's no avoiding it; digital skills are fast becoming the beating heart of a core professional skillset. 

Many businesses are concerned that there isn't enough technical know-how to accomplish their ambitious digital transformations, so upgrading your knowledge can be a huge career advantage. As Statistica says;

"...transformation is no longer a luxury but a necessity for businesses to remain competitive and relevant. Organizations that fail to adapt risk being left behind."

Equally, candidates or employees with a digital skills gap may also be left behind.   

Of course, in today's world, the importance of digital knowledge can be dependent on your sector or role, but if you want to future-proof your career, it’s worth spending the time to educate yourself. 

So, learn how to upgrade essential digital skills with our 6 tips below.

What are digital skills? 

At the core, digital skills are a variety of capabilities that an individual can express through electronic technology, from basic literacy, like knowing how to utilise desktop folders and search engine usage, to building creative digital campaigns using online design tools. 

As a candidate or employee, it's important to:

Firstly: Identify your digital skills gap

Secondly: Figure out how to upskill and retain knowledge

One mistake people often make when considering upskilling their digital competency is by thinking of it as a one-time qualification or training session. The digital world is ever-evolving, and what's more, the speed of its evolution is also increasing. 

This means whether you are 2 years into your career or twenty, there's plenty to learn. 

Digital skills examples

These days, digital skills encompass all aspects of professional work life - making categorising them particularly tricky. However, you can segment them like below: 

  • Digital safety

  • Communication and collaboration

  • Digital creativity

  • Basic functionality 

  • Coding and digital building

  • Problem-solving

Digital skills are highly sought after by employers. They empower individuals to effectively use digital tools, navigate online platforms, and adapt to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

The below skills or tips often transcend specific roles or jobs and are therefore invaluable for anyone looking to either bolster their CV or help with internal career progression. 

1) Keep an eye on the news

With the speed of consumer-ready digital tools hitting the market, keeping your finger on the pulse and your eyes open is always a good idea. 

Tuning into the news can provide a general overview of major technology-related events, product launches, or advancements. They can inform you about the latest developments in the tech industry and give you a sense of broader trends and innovations.

And you can find news everywhere - just make sure to read or watch from a reputable source. News outlets may have biases or agendas, which can influence how they report on technology.

2) Join the AI debate

No debate is hotter in the technology field now than AI - with some sources praising it as a productivity revolution and others warning about its potential to replace human workers.

Whichever point of view you're leaning towards, understanding the pros and cons of new technology is important. 

AI is a rapidly evolving field that significantly impacts various aspects of our lives, including technology, business, healthcare, finance, and more. Here are some reasons why learning about AI is useful:

  • It may influence potential career opportunities 

  • You can stay up-to-date on the ethical considerations

  • It can help manage daily tasks

  • It's an educational source (but don't take it as fact)

Whether you're interested in AI as part of your career path, want to stay informed about technological advancements, or simply wish to understand the technology shaping our world, learning about AI is both relevant and beneficial.

3) Explore your training options

There are many ways to upskill and improve your digital knowledge, and many don't require too much commitment from your time or bank account. 

Of course, you can find more formal training courses and certifications, which offer huge amounts of detail into specific digital needs like coding or digital marketing. 

If you're lucky enough, your workplace might even provide programmes for you to partake in, just like Vodafone, which is investing 20 million euros in digital education. 

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group, said:

"Vodafone is proud to support the critical development of digital skills and education in the communities we serve through our expertise in connectivity and technology."

Companies recognise both the current and future need for digital skills, with many claiming they face a skill gap. For them, offering training is not just a personal benefit to you but an essential investment in a business's resilience.

4) Read up on GDPR and data protection 

In our increasingly digital world, where vast amounts of data are generated and shared, understanding how to protect sensitive information is crucial.

Equally, knowing how data works from a personal and professional standpoint is also important, especially if you have access to sensitive information about your clients or customers. 

Learning about data protection can involve understanding concepts like data encryption, secure data storage, access controls, data minimisation, consent management, and incident response. 

You can also stay up-to-date with the latest best practices, industry guidelines, and technological advancements in data protection to adapt to the evolving landscape of data privacy and security.

5) Learn essential digital skills framework for your role

As mentioned above, not every role requires an extensive understanding of digital skills. You'll find that the need is dependent on your sector, personal experience, internal department and more. 

For instance, a project manager might need to:

  • Use project management with tools like Trello, Asana, or Jira.

  • Manage tasks, deadlines, and project resources digitally.

  • Know how to collaborate and coordinate with remote team members using digital tools.

  • Understand how to track project progress and generate reports.

  • Utilise agile project management methodologies and practices.

Other digital job roles include:

  • Data Analyst

  • Web Developer

  • UX/UI Designer

  • Data Scientist

  • Cybersecurity Analyst

  • Digital Project Manager

  • E-commerce Manager

  • Digital Strategist

6) Get social media savvy 

In today's digital age, social media platforms have become ubiquitous, shaping how we communicate, connect, and share information. 

Beyond being platforms for social interactions, social media plays a pivotal role in understanding the digital world. It provides valuable insights into the ever-evolving digital landscape, from communication trends to consumer behaviour, digital marketing strategies to personal networking.

Remember to use social media responsibly, critically evaluate information, and strike a healthy balance to ensure a positive and informed digital experience.

Essential digital skills resources

Luckily, there are plenty of resources available if you want to upskill your digital knowledge. For a generalist understanding, you can explore the below links:

Remember to explore these resources and choose the ones that align with your specific interests, goals, and preferred learning style. Additionally, some platforms offer both free and paid courses, so you can choose based on your budget and learning needs.

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